“It was a pretty high level of competition”
The Crested Butte high school track team continues to battle against the big schools in the state as several 4A and 5A programs are staying home this season to compete on the Western Slope rather than face their peers on the Front Range.
Such was the case this past weekend at the Mickey Dunn Invitational in Grand Junction as the Titans found themselves lining up against the big schools again.
“It was a pretty high level of competition,” says Titan distance coach Dustin Simoens. “We’re facing teams that have 80 runners.”
Despite that, the Titans still rise to the challenge and feed off the competition to pace themselves to faster times in their events.
Junior Madeline Malzahn had a breakout performance after a solid week of workouts, setting three personal record (PR) times over the course of the meet.
“She just knocked off time throughout the day,” says Simoens.
Malzahn opened the day running her fastest split time of the season in the 4×800-meter relay. She followed that with another PR in the 800-meter run posting a time of two minutes, 47 seconds.
Following that, Malzahn lined up for the 400-meter dash and set her third and final PR in as many events with a time of 67 seconds.
“She had a solid week of workouts and it paid off for her,” says Simoens.
Meanwhile, the girls’ relay teams continue to fine-tune their efforts on the track with the individual sprint medley starting to gain considerable ground.
Senior Kelsey Beltz, junior Karleigh Dean and sophomores Toni Brown and Skylar Kraatz pulled together for a thrilling come from behind effort in their relay heat.
After falling behind during the first three legs, the baton was handed off to Kraatz and she charged out to set a PR in her 400-meter split to pull out the win.
“She out-kicked a girl in the final stretch to win the heat,” says Simoens.
Junior Sarah Rochniak is finding herself in the distance events. After spending last season on the sprint side of things, she and her coaches now have her focused on distance races.
“She’s really competitive and she runs a really smart race,” says Simoens. “She hasn’t reached her potential.”
The team heads to Cedaredge this Saturday for the Cedaredge Invite and look to see continued improvement from all of their runners.