Tigers’ relay teams bright spot for District 51
LAKEWOOD — Breanna Jones nearly needs a travel agent in order to figure out the end of her high school track career.
The senior from Grand Junction High School ran preliminary heats in four events during Thursday’s opening day of the Class 5A state track & field championships at Jefferson County Stadium.
Jones will only be competing in one final, Saturday’s 400-meter relay.
“(This relay) was our baby this year,” Jones said.
Running the anchor leg, she’ll be joined by Allie Grasso, Stephanie Ryken and Traci Rolbiecki in Saturday afternoon’s final at 2:30.
Jones was still feeling the effects Thursday of two separate illnesses last week. After contracting strep throat, she was on the mend when she came down with the stomach flu two days later.
“I think it held me back being sick all week,” she said after failing to qualify for the 100-meter dash finals and just missing out on making the 200 finals.
The Tigers’ 800-meter relay team also failed to make the final nine in its preliminary race.
Jones has a busy weekend schedule. After running her four prelims, she hopped in a car and drove back to Grand Junction to attend her awards banquet for her dance team Thursday night.
She’ll make a return trip to Lakewood this morning in time to do some stretching and a light workout before Saturday’s relay final.
“It kind of worked out perfect,” she said of the timing.
To top it all off, her drive back will be a celebration of sorts. Jones turns 19 today.
The Tigers’ relay teams were two of the bright spots among District 51 competitors on Thursday.
Also qualifying for Saturday’s finals was the Grand Junction boys 1,600-meter team of Jonathon Wright, Stuart Shrum, Rafael Cote and Herman Gutierrez. The foursome ran the fastest time of the day by one second and a half in 3 minutes, 19.83 seconds.
The Tigers took the lead early in Wright’s opening leg and held on.
“The whole time I was thinking, I’ve got to hold on,” said Gutierrez, who ran the anchor leg.
“He did,” Wright said, giving his teammate a high-five in the process.
Gutierrez also qualified for the finals in the 110-meter hurdles. Starting from the ninth lane, he still managed to post the eighth-fastest qualifying time of the 18 competitors in the two heats.
None of the local state qualifiers in Thursday’s field events made it past the preliminary round.
Central’s Nolan Curtis, as expected, made it into Saturday afternoon’s finals in the boys 400-meter dash.
Curtis clocked the fourth-fastest time of the day in 48.89 seconds. He led his heat after making the final turn, then conserved his energy down the home stretch.
“I wanted to maintain speed and stay with the front guy,” he said.