Rise to the occasion
The Crested Butte Titans track team stepped up last weekend against several big programs as well as the top 2A teams in the state and came away with several personal records as well as one school record.
The Titans headed to Grand Junction last weekend to compete in the Frank Woodburn Invitational at Stocker Stadium. The track is famously fast, real or imagined, and can bring out the best in athletes who compete there. Furthermore, with such stout competition attending, the opportunity was there for the Titans to test their mettle.
“We’re little fish and we went to a very big pond,” says coach Laura Puckett. “Our kids ran super well and I think the competition really pushed them.”
Case in point, the boys’ 4x800-meter relay team of Kyle Boyle, Jack Duryea, Kai Sherman and Forrest Smith.
The team had not run the event in competition all season yet came out at Stocker Stadium to place sixth among the big-wigs and post a time fast enough to rank them fourth among all 2A schools.
Smith and Boyle teamed up with Rain Landry and Dakota Wiggins to place sixth in the 4x400-meter relay and are now ranked sixth in the state. Landry and Kaleb Schultz posted personal record times in the 100 meters.
Puckett heaped more events on Smith, lining him up for the mile, his go-to race, and Smith posted a time of 4:47.40 to place fourth at the meet.
“It was his first mile of the year and it’s a really good starting time for him,” says Puckett.
Boyle continued to feed off of the competition, posting his fastest time of the season in the 400 meters as well and finishing in fifth place.
Meanwhile, Liam Mortell threw a new personal record distance of 41’ 7” in the shot put to finish in sixth place and is now ranked eighth in the state.
The boys’ team racked up enough points across the board to place ninth out of 21 teams, third among similar sized programs.
“The boys’ team is really fun right now because it’s so deep,” says Puckett.
Amber Scott had the top result among the girls’ team, posting one of her fastest outdoor times in the 800 meters. Scott ran a time of 2:26.52 to place second in Grand Junction, pushing her into fifth overall in the state rankings.
Puckett and her coaches continue to tweak with the girls’ relay teams with the post-season approaching.
“We’re trying to put together our A teams right now,” says Puckett.
The girls’ 4x800-meter relay team of Scott, Elisabeth Desmarais, and Miki Olesen got an extra kick from Elizabeth Kilpatrick in Grand Junction to place sixth, as Monika Olesen, Suzanna Dumas, Rosie Ewert and Tara Mortell teamed up to place fifth in the 4x200 meter relay and are now ranked fifth in the state.
The top Titans’ relay performance of the day came from the girls’ 4x100-meter team of Ewert, Ali McGuire, Mortell and Monika Olesen. The four Titans rallied to a seventh-place finish but, more important, set a new school record time of 53.14.
Mortell also saw success in the individual 400-meters event and is gaining steps with each week, placing fifth last weekend.
“She’s turning into quite the 400 runner,” says Puckett.
The girls’ team finished 11th overall, third among their peers, and Puckett believes the Titans are right where they need to be and focused, given the time of the season.
“Mid-season right before the break the kids are usually scattered but they’re running really strong,” says Puckett. “If they keep up with their training over the break we should come out of it pretty well.”
The Titans who stay in the valley over the April break next week will head to Gunnison for a meet on Saturday, April 20. The freshmen and sophomores head back to Gunnison on April 24 and the team then returns to full strength for a meet in Montrose on Friday, April 26.