Saturday, June 6, 2020

Titans track rallies at final meet of regular season

13 headed to state championships

by Than Acuff

Heading into the final meet of the regular season last weekend, only Sydney Peterson had made the cut for the 2A state championships. Following the meet, 12 more Titans qualified, three of them as alternates, to make the trip to the big show in Denver, May 19-21.

Workouts leading up to their final races of the regular season were subdued and specific. While the training was done on the fitness end of things, technique remained the focus as the team prepared for the league meet in Monte Vista on Saturday, May 14.

“We taper off so workouts were technique-based, block starts and exchanges, with a little bit of shake-out runs,” says coach Ben Davis.

Furthermore, the Titans typically do well against their league peers, often taking either the boys or the girls team titles. But with numbers down on the team, team titles would be difficult to come by, so this year the focus was more on state preparation and trying to qualify more Titans for the state championships.

“The league meet is typically about getting as many places as possible but my concern was more about state and times more than place,” explains Davis. “Our only downfall was just numbers. We did really well considering the size of our team.”

The girls’ team lost Peterson for the league meet due to illness but Sam Crossett made the most of her final league race. Crossett placed second in the mile and won the two-mile, setting new personal record (PR) times in both and punching her ticket to the state championships in the two-mile event.

Seniors Tara Mortell, Jamey Spahn and Erika Bremer are also putting the finishing touches on their high school track careers in top form. Mortell placed fifth in the 400 meters while Bremer took eighth in the 100 meters and fourth in the 100-meter hurdles. Spahn, Mortell and Bremer then teamed up with freshman Hope Freeman to win the 800-meter sprint medley, posting a time that now has them ranked in the top 10 in the state and qualified for the state championships.

“I knew they were ready for it and they certainly showed it,” says Davis.

The boys’ numbers were stronger and they posted scoring results across the board, eventually finishing the day fifth out of 15 teams. A large part of the scoring came from the relay teams as the Titans lined up for all available relay races led by the 4×800-meter team of Aiden Truettner, Hunter Wright, Matthew Harper-Johnston and Tate Young.

“Our main focus was the relays,” says Davis. “We ran every single relay we could.”

Davis made a change to the 4×800 team in the latter stages of the season as Wright was consistently posting solid times in the open 800 races. The move, and extensive work on their handoffs, paid off in spades as they placed second at the league meet, cut 21 seconds off their PR and jumped into the top 10 in the state, earning a spot at the championships.

“All four PR’d in their splits and they have a pretty good chance at placing at state,” says Davis.

Meanwhile, the boys’ 4×100-meter relay placed third, the 4×200 placed fourth and the 4×400-meter relay took sixth place. Unfortunately, their times fell short of making the cut for the championships.

Thomas Taaca led the sprint crew with PRs in the 100 and 200 meters to finish eighth in both, while Wright, Conrad Truettner and Joe Coburn placed sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively, in the mile.

Aiden had a solid showing in the distance events, taking fifth in the 800 meters and third in the two-mile but he missed the cut for state in those events.

“He had a late start to the season and couldn’t quite get up to his usual form quick enough,” says Davis.

The team now turns its attention to the 2A state championships in Denver, Thursday through Saturday, May 19-21, and Davis believes there’s a chance that several Titans will be stepping up on the podium.

“They’re coming off running the best times of the year and the atmosphere of state always leads to faster times,” says Davis. “I think they’re definitely ready for it.”

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