Titans set sights on league titles this weekend at Championships
Written by Than Acuff
Wednesday, 08 May 2013
“Everyone’s feeling fired up and is healthy”
In an effort to prepare the long list of Titan tracksters headed to the state championships in two weeks, the coaching staff set up a mock state scenario last weekend, with races in Cedaredge on Friday and Grand Junction on Saturday.
The state championships are spread over three consecutive days complete with preliminary heats for several events. As a result, athletes will have two, sometimes three races over the course of two days in a variety of events, depending on what they are qualified in.
It’s far different from the regular season when athletes may run three separate races on one day and then have an entire week to recover.
“It was part mental training and part physical training,” says coach Laura Puckett. “It’s important to get the feel of it.”
The entire team headed to Cedaredge on Friday and came away with another flurry of personal records and a couple of new school records, and moved higher in the overall state 2A rankings.
Junior Monika Olesen stepped onto the podium in both the 100-meter and 200-meter events, placing third in both including posting her fastest time to date in the 200-meters.
Freshman Tara Mortell has been battling some issues with her Achilles tendon but appears to have shaken it off, posting a personal record time of 1:03.37 in the 400-meters on Friday to set her up for a solid run when it matters most.
“She’s feeling strong again, so that’s good,” says Puckett.
The girl’ 4x100-meter relay team of Olesen, junior Rosie Ewert, Mortell and junior Ali McGuire are burning up the track in their event, setting a new school record for the second week in a row with a time of 51.85 and are currently ranked second in the state.
Junior Suzanna Dumas is developing into a legitimate hurdler in her first year of competing, setting another personal record in the 100-meter hurdles to place fifth.
The mid-distance girls events got a boost from junior Shannon Costello joining the team a couple of weeks ago. Costello joined the 4x800-meters team and is gaining ground in the individual event as well.
Meanwhile, junior Elizabeth Kilpatrick ran her first mile of her career in Cedaredge and placed seventh. Senior captain Amber Scott had no problem winning the two-mile, running her fastest time of the season to leave her closest competition 50 seconds behind her.
The boys had a flurry of great finishes in the relay events as well, and got a boost in their overall team score from their field events as junior Liam Mortell posted a personal record in the discus and placed fourth in the shot put.
Junior Kyle Boyle is on pace for post-season success setting a new school record in the 400-meters to finish in third place and climb higher in the state rankings.
The biggest highlight of the day for the Titans came from junior Forrest Smith, who ran in four different events—the 4x800, 4x400, 800 and the 1,600-meter races.
“Forrest Smith had a huge day,” says Puckett.
Smith’s strength lies in the two-mile event but he has proved his ilk in the 800-meters, setting a new personal record time of 2:03.64. He’s currently ranked fourth in the state.
“To show up with that speed in the 800 is awesome,” says Puckett. “It was quite the battle.”
Smith placed third in the 1,600-meters as well and is sitting in seventh in the overall state rankings.
Puckett then took 15 Titans the following day to Grand Junction to compete in the Tiger Invitational. The idea was to give the state-qualified Titans a chance to run on a similar surface to the one they will find at the state meet and to give them an idea of competing on consecutive days.
It also gave a couple of Titans an additional opportunity to qualify for state—Titans such as Boyle, who posted a time of 2:05.95 and is now ranked 13th in the state, setting him up for a shot at the state championships in the event. Liam Mortell fed off the energy in Grand Junction as well to set a new personal record in the shot put. Mortell threw 42’4”, breaking Tommy Rozman’s school record set 13 years ago. Mortell now has the school records in both the shot put and the discus.
The Titans head to Center on Friday, May 10 for the league championships. The girls’ team has won the last two league titles in a row and the boys’ team placed third last year with a small squad, so Puckett is looking for both the boys’ and girls’ teams to return home with league titles. Furthermore, the league championships are the final call for a bid to the state meet.
“Everyone’s feeling fired up and is healthy,” says Puckett. “We’re riding some momentum right now. By Sunday we’ll know who is going to state and in what events.”