Titans track continue fine tuning to close season strong

“People are in their groove now”

The Titan track team came back from spring break and is now poised to make a late season surge.

While results were somewhat mixed in their efforts this past week, coach Laura Puckett is excited to see the team pulling together as a whole. In addition, with several weeks of workouts under their collective belt, individual runners are starting to find their rhythm and improve upon their times across the board.
“All in all it feels like the team is coming together and is improving as a whole,” says Puckett. “People are in their groove now.”
Members of the team jumped right back into action with a handful of Titans competing in the Gunnison Invitational on Monday, April 20. The freshmen and sophomores then headed back down to Gunnison for a freshmen/sophomore meet on Wednesday, April 22.
The entire team returned to action on Friday, April 24 at the Montrose Invitational.
While sophomore Erin Kelly established herself earlier in the season as the premier miler in the state in class 2A, she had yet to make herself known in the two-mile race, until Montrose.
“We’ve sort of been saving her,” says Puckett.
Kelly threw caution to the wind in her first two-mile race of the season, posting a time of five minutes 40 seconds in the first mile, to finish with a time of 11:42.92.
“She just went out and took a big risk and it paid off,” says Puckett. “She put it all out there. It’s exciting to see athletes push their comfort zone.”
Kelly now has the fastest times in both the mile and two-mile in 2A and is qualified for the state meet in May.
Senior Emma Vosburg and freshman Skylar Kraatz rallied to ninth- and tenth-place finishes respectively in the 400-meter dash. It was Kraatz’ third meet of the week and she continues to improve with each 400-meter race.
“It’s great because Skylar’s a freshman,” says Puckett. “She’s really started to focus on that.”
Vosburg now has the fourth-fastest time in the 400-meters and Kraatz the fifth-fastest time in their region, looking to make the push into the top three in the regional meet in two weeks.
Meanwhile, senior Mackenzie Mailly continues her quest for a state bid in the 300-meter hurdles. Mailly posted her fastest time of the season, 50.83, in Montrose to take sixth place. The time moved Mailly up into second place in the region so far.
“She’s really coming around,” says Puckett.
Senior Jack Linehan suffered from an illness in Montrose and was held off his normal blistering pace in the 3,200-meter, two-mile, run. Nevertheless, he still finished fifth with a time of 10:52.86 and is joining Kelly at states in the mile and two-mile.
 Linehan joined junior Nicholas Harper, freshman Jeffery Hargrove and last-minute addition sophomore Tanner Gordon for the 4×800-meter relay to post a time of 9:19.30. Gordon stepped up to the challenge, surprising Puckett with an outstanding leg and helping the team to a time of 9:19.30, the third-fastest time this season in the region.
The Titans head to Grand Junction this Friday and Saturday, May 1-2, to compete at the Tiger Invitational and then will close the regular season with regionals the following week, the final two chances for Titans to qualify for the state meet.
While Linehan and Kelly have secured their spots, there are a handful of Titans who are on the bubble and Puckett expects to see a few more to post state qualifying efforts in the upcoming meets.
“We’ll see these next two weeks,” says Puckett.

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