Titans track ramps up for run at regionals in Grand Junction

“They should come out of the blocks fast this week”

The Titans track team is on course for a solid showing at the upcoming regional meet following a stellar performance at the Tiger Invite in Grand Junction Friday and Saturday, May 7-8.



The turnaround came just in time following the toughest week of the season two weeks ago, during which the coaches had Titan athletes training hard amid three meets in seven days.
The wear and tear showed in their times during the three meets but the training program proved itself in Grand Junction as a week of tapering had the squad refreshed for their next competition.
“The kids have worked really hard and we saw the results of that this week,” says head coach Laura Puckett.
“We had PRs [personal records] across the board,” adds distance coach Dustin Simoens. “We kind of stressed to them to run at their best pace.”
The Tiger Invite attracts some of the top larger programs from around the state as athletes are all putting the finishing touches on their training in preparation for their respective regional contests.
While that leaves most of the Titan runners grasping for top 10 finishes, it also brings their game to another level.
“We knew going into the meet there was going to be a lot of good competition,” says Simoens. “They responded and used that.”
Sophomore Skylar Kraatz had a season breakthrough in the 400-meter dash. All year she’s been stuck at 65 seconds but in Grand Junction she slashed two seconds off that to finish in 10th place with a new personal record time of 63 seconds.
“She broke through that mental barrier and that’s awesome,” says Puckett.
The three girls’ relay teams all placed top 10 in their events with the 4×800-meter team shattering their seed time they set at the start of the season.
With junior Erin Kelly joining juniors Madeline Malzhan and Sarah Rochniak and freshman Amber Scott, the crew shaved more than 30 seconds off to place seventh overall.
Kelly already qualified for the state meet in the two-mile race and looks to do the same in the mile as well. She placed eighth in the mile at the Tiger Invite and should make the final step to the state meet at the upcoming regional race.
“She’s definitely better at the two-mile but we’re trying to develop some more top-end speed for her,” says Simoens. “She has a real chance at qualifying in the mile.”
Senior Ricky Sandoval and junior Tanner Gordon set personal record times in their events as well.
The Titans head back to Grand Junction Thursday and Friday, May 13-14 for the regional meet, where they will finally find out how they stack up against teams of similar size.
Puckett believes the team is ready to make its move on the region and send some kids to state.
“I think we’re exactly where we want to be,” says Puckett. “They should come out of the blocks really fast this week. The girls’ team is hoping for a top-three finish and we want to see if we can sneak in any relays to the state meet.”

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