Sprinters, relay teams help Tigers win District girls title

Cassie Mim of GJ leads and wins the 400 M leg of the women 800 Sprint Medley



If the Grand Junction High School sprinters are seeking competition, they generally don’t need to look any further than the person in either lane beside them four days a week.

“They work hard in practice,” Tigers head coach Darrell Simonton said.

The results showed in Friday’s District 51 Invitational at Stocker Stadium as the Tigers dominated the sprint events.

Take the girls team, for instance.

Grand Junction started the meet with a victory in the 800-meter sprint medley, then got victories in the 100 and 200 meter dashes by Breanna Jones.

The Tigers swept the top three spots in each race, with Stephanie Ryken taking second in both, Allie Grasso coming in third in the 100 and Jamie Derrieux taking third in the 200. Derrieux also won the 100-meter high hurdles.

“We’re doing awesome,” Jones said. “We don’t have people to push us (in local meets) so we’ve got to go against the clock.”

The Tigers have been most impressive in the relays, in part because Jones, Ryken and Traci Rolbiecki have been running them together for three years. Grasso and Derrieux have stepped
in to provide strong fourth legs in the 400 and 800 relays.

Simonton has always worked hard to put together top-notch relay teams.

“I put a lot of emphasis on relays because I know we can place at state if we work on them,” he said.

Friday’s meet marked the return of Simonton after a two-week suspension from coaching. He was issued a summons for disorderly conduct in an alleged fight with his son-in-law, prompting the suspension.

Grand Junction’s boys were just as dominating Friday in the short events. Stuart Shrum won the 100 , Jonathan Wright the 200 and Herman Gutierrez the 110 and 300 hurdles. For good measure, the 400, 800 and 1,600 relay teams were also victorious.

Wright, a junior, said he worked hard to be in shape prior to the season and has emphasized stretching once the season began. It’s the little things, however, that have really helped him improve his times.

“The blocks, that’s really important,” he said of getting off the start line quickly.

“My biggest problem is my arms,” he said of how to use them properly “I’m still working on that but (assistant coach Jake) Simonton has helped me a lot.”

As with Jones, Wright said people pushing each other in practice every week is the best motivator.

“We’ve got at least four or five guys (who) have competitions like that every day,” he said.

That includes Shrum, Gutierrez, Tyler Palmer and Rafael Coté, who’s more of a distance runner but has helped in the 1,600 relay.

The Tiger girls won Friday’s six-team meet with 130 points, finishing 13 points ahead of Fruita Monument.

Besides Jones, the only other double winners in the girls meet were Central’s Jamie Pomaski, who won the shot put and discus, and Grand Valley’s Brandi Krieg, who took the 800 and 3,200.

The Wildcats took the boys meet with 141 points with Grand Junction taking second with 124.

Anthony Martin of Fruita Monument matched Pomaski’s effort by winning the shot put and discus. The Wildcats also took first in the long jump (Josh Valdez) and the 3,200 relay.


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