Western Slope athletes thrilled with progress at 4A state meet

Fruita Monument’s Josh Valdez soars to an eighth-place finish in the long jump.

LAKEWOOD — Two days into the state track meet, nobody from the Western Slope has been able to win a championship in Class 4A, but based on the moods of the competitors, you would have no idea.

For many of the runners, the state meet has been treated as a place for self-improvement.

“I ran my personal best, so I couldn’t ask for more,” said Montrose’s Connor McCurdy, who took ninth in the finals of the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.30 seconds. “I was hoping to maybe squeeze into sixth or seventh but I’m pretty psyched just to get up here.”

The boys who make up the Glenwood Springs 800 relay team shared the same attitude.

“It’s amazing to be seventh place when we came in 15th place last year,” said Wyatt Israel, who along with Kurt Hartmann, Dakota Stonehouse and Travis Whitman recorded a time of 1:30.73. “We weren’t expecting to do this well, not at all. We lost two of our fastest kids last year and now we took seventh. It’s something to be proud of.”

The boys took seventh, but the girls from the team were one of biggest successes from the Western Slope. Glenwood’s 800 sprint medley relay team took second place, losing by only 43 hundredths of a second to Windsor.

“It’s always a bummer when you lose by that little in a state championship,” Laura Young said.

“We’re psyched, Meg (Waibel) ran an awesome anchor leg and we’re going to break a school record.”

Also on the relay team was Jolie Dubois, who also took eighth in the 200 dash

“I love the relays, it’s great to work everyone as a team, but at the same time I love doing my own events,” Dubois said. “It puts a lot more pressure on yourself.”

Dubois was happy that she improved on her performance in last year’s state meet, when she placed 12th during the preliminaries.

Not content with improvement alone was Alicia Nelson, who ran the 800 for Moffat County and took fourth with a time of 2:15.37.

“I was hoping to place a little higher but it was all right,” Nelson said. “It was a fast race, everyone ran well.”

Also Friday, Palisade’s Holly Odneal finished eighth in the 100 hurdles with a time of 15.32 seconds.

The only other person from the Western Slope to place was Moffat County’s Maddy Jourgenson, who finished sixth in the 3,200 run. Glenwood’s Ryan Buchanan and Grand Valley’s Joe Trujillo both ran in the boys 800, but neither made the podium, placing 15th and 16th, respectively.


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