Sweeps in two events help GJ girls win Warrior Invite
In Lane 2 came Grand Junction High School’s Rachel Gibson, skipping over hurdles and rounding the final turn Friday afternoon, closing the distance from the girl in Lane 7.
“Every day we push each other,” Gibson said of the girl in Lane 7. “We just want to beat each other.”
The girl in Lane 7 was Gibson’s teammate, Natalie DeRush. Gibson passed DeRush to place first in the 300-meter hurdles in the Warrior Wild West Invitational track meet at Stocker Stadium.
Gibson was first. DeRush was second. And another Tiger teammate, Nikki Long, was third.
There was another Tiger teammate trifecta. Grand Junction, which won the girls division with 166 points to Fruita Monument’s 102, also swept the 200 dash, taking first (Jamie Derrieux), second (Whitney Jackson, also the long jump winner) and third (Sabrina Trujillo).
DeRush, at 5-foot-2, thought running hurdles was for taller girls. Apparently not.
This was DeRush’s second hurdles race. And she took second — one hurdle at a time.
“My focus is always just on the next hurdle, jump that one, next hurdle ... ” DeRush said.
The Tigers also took first and second in the high jump — Mikayla O’Brien and Madison Marsh cleared 4-foot-10.
Earlier, Derrieux also won the 100 hurdles with a time of 16.91, just more than a second ahead of second-place Micaela Meyer. Unlike two weeks ago, Derrieux did not have hurdles scattered in front of her or a pair of spikes tumbling across the lanes.
“That was kind of ground zero,” Derrieux said. “That was like my slowest time since eighth grade.”
The senior ran a championship time Friday. Derrieux, who dealt with a hamstring injury for most of the past two seasons, is healthy and ready to end her high school years in winning fashion.
That, of course, started with her team’s win Friday.
She was helped by Grand Junction also winning the 3,200 relay (Nicole Seibold, Katherine Smith, Trinity Simmons and Cassandra Grigware) and 400 relay (Derrieux, Trujillo, Emily Robbins, Jackson).
Simmons also won the 3,200 run in a time of 13:16.75 and Trujillo took the triple jump (35 feet, 4 inches).
In the boys division, Fruita Monument took first place ahead of Rifle by 1.5 points.
Fruita had 126 points, followed by Rifle’s 124.5 and Grand Junction’s 105.
Fruita won the 400 relay (Derrik Winstanley, Vince Grasso, James Lewis, Jordan Hightower), 800 relay (Winstanley, Grasso, Lewis and Josh Schweigart), and Wildcats Jaden Koos won the discus and Chuck Bisbee the 1,600 run in a time of 4:44.60.
It was a good time for Bisbee — for now.
“You don’t want to be running your fastest times right now,” Bisbee said.
Rifle’s Ryan Moeller was the fastest man on the track in terms of sprints, winning the 100-meter dash in 11.36 seconds and the 200 in 22.90.
“I only ran the 100 a couple times last year,” Moeller said. “I just got a lot faster since last year with workouts, speed training and from track camps in Denver.”
But the gutsy performance of the day went to the Central girls 800 relay team of Alexys Caswell, D’Kota Brodie, Rayleigh Norton and Morgan Haynie.
Haynie, the anchor, said she has had a torn abdominal muscle. “I was racing a boy in practice,” Haynie said.
And Central won by nearly three seconds over Montezuma-Cortez with a time of 1:54.60.
Sensing a pun related to her torn abdominal muscle and the Warriors’ win, Haynie said the race simply came down to “whoever had the most guts.”