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Titan track sets sights on state championships

One last chance in Grand Junction

by Than Acuff

With one meet left to go in the regular season, the Titans are looking stronger than ever this year as they just set a slew of more personal records at the Blossom Invitational in Cañon City last weekend. The team is headed to Grand Junction Friday through Saturday, May 10-11, for their final meet before the state championships.

“It’s a great time to be a Titan,” says head coach Laura Puckett Daniels. “They just continue to shed time.”

The Blossom Invitational breathes fresh air into the Titans’ lungs as they get a chance to see some new competition and get pushed by some larger schools from the Front Range.

“We go east to see some different schools,” explains Daniels. “It’s a good chance to get out of our bubble.”

On the girls’ side of things, their sole focus is relays as both the 4×400-meter relay and 800 sprint medley relay teams are trying to make the cut for the state championships.

“We are working on solidifying who runs, in what order and how fast,” says Daniels.

While both relay teams did shave another second off of their best time to date, they still have work to do if they want to make it to the big show.

“It’s an outside chance, but they have a chance at state,” says Daniels. “It’s going to come down to the wire.”

Sarah Bivens made the most of an interesting situation in her 800-meter race. Bivens lost a shoe in the first 150 meters of the race but didn’t hesitate and continued to run her way to a fourth place finish shedding three seconds off of her previous best time and is now ranked high enough to get a spot at state.

Meanwhile, Sam Merck, who is a part of both relay teams, also posted her highest jump of her career and is now ranked 16th in 2A and has a spot at state for now in just her freshman year.

Josh Merck has secured his spot at the state championships in a number of events and yet still continues to push his limit. He posted a new personal record in the 400 meters placing fourth and cracking the 52-second mark with a time of 51.89.

Teammate Joe Coburn may join Merck at state in the mile. After running his fastest time of 4:53 in a couple of years at the meet in Canon City, he is now within “spitting distance” of making it there. Meanwhile Logan Utz shaved an incredible 17 seconds off of his personal best time in that very same mile race.

Hilt Freeman followed suit, taking two seconds off his personal record time in the 400 meters and Porter Washburn knocked seven seconds off of his 800-meter time.

“I’m really psyched everyone is doing their best,” says Daniels.

With a handful of Titans on the cusp of making the cut to the state championships, the team is looking to continue gaining speed while the coaches start focusing in on the finer points as they head to the final meet of the regular season in Grand Junction.

“With the girls we’re focusing on the relays and putting all of our eggs in that relay basket because they’re so close,” says Daniels. “I’m just really pleased that everyone is doing their best at this point in the season. They’re really coming together as a team.”

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