Girls’ team sets sites on league title
The Crested Butte Titans track team keeps on keeping on, spending another weekend faced up against a slew of heavy hitters in the world of Colorado high school track and field.
This time around, the Titans headed to Grand Junction for the annual Tiger Invite on Friday and Saturday, May 6-7. The Tiger Invite is a showcase of some of the top track and field athletes from 2A-5A size schools.
This year, the 2A schools, the same size as Crested Butte, were absent upping the ante for the young Titan team.
“There were more teams from bigger schools,” says Titans head track coach Laura Puckett. “It was more elite.”
While the Titan sprinters struggle to keep up with the athletes from the larger programs, the distance runners found inspiration from their peers and rose to the challenge in Grand Junction.
“The distance corps stepped up to the competition,” says Puckett. “They had a dynamite weekend. They were all competitive, which was good to see.”
Sophomore Amber Scott had the top finish for the Titans in Grand Junction. Scott opened the weekend on Friday with a stellar showing in the 3,200-meter (two-mile) run.
Scott shaved 36 seconds off her previous best time in the two-mile posting a new personal record (PR) time of 12:02.44 to place third.
“She looked like a different runner,” says Puckett. “She came into it with a different mindset.”
The following day she set another personal best time in the mile of 5:32.01 to finish seventh. In addition, she ran her fastest split of the season as part of the 4×800-meter relay team.
“She had a huge weekend,” says Puckett.
Junior Shelby Kopf ran her best two-mile time of her career as well and freshman Shannon Costello came in just behind Scott in the mile to finish eighth with a time of 5:35.12.
Junior Jessie D’Aquila joined Scott, Kopf and Costello in the 4×800-meter relay to cut 12 seconds off their time from last week and place seventh.
“The relay team ran awesome overall,” says Puckett.
Freshmen Ian Boucher and Forrest Smith put together two solid days of running as well in their distance events.
Boucher pushed his limit in the two-mile race on Friday charging off the start line and hanging tough through the entire race to post a new PR time of 10:37.10.
“His two-mile was gutsy,” says Puckett. “He just went after it and didn’t blow up.”
Boucher continues to chip away at his mile time as well. After hitting the five-minute benchmark two weeks ago and then slashing additional time off his mile mark last week, Boucher cut another few seconds off his PR with a time of 4:49.07.
Smith appears to be peaking at just the right time along with Boucher. Smith hit two big benchmark times in both the mile and two-mile at the Tiger Invite.
“Forrest is coming out of the woodwork,” says Puckett. “To break 11 minutes in the two-mile is awesome and he broke five minutes in the mile to hit another PR.”
The Titans head to uncharted territory on Saturday, May 14 for the 2A Southern Peaks league championship in Center, where they will face teams they have yet to run against.
“We have no idea what we’re getting into,” says Puckett.
Still, after spending the entire season running against larger schools, Puckett has a big goal for her team as they line up against their 2A peers.
“The girls are shooting for the championship and we definitely want, at least, top three,” says Puckett.
Furthermore, this is the final weekend for athletes to make their bid for the state championships. The top 18 times from the season in each event qualify for the state meet and, as of press time, two-thirds of the Titan team are top 18 or on the cusp in their events in 2A.
“It’s going to be a big week,” says Puckett.