Titans track headed to state championships

13 athletes qualify

by Than Acuff

All of the times are in and the numbers have been crunched and it looks like 13 Crested Butte Titans track athletes will be headed to Jeffco Stadium to compete at the 2A track and field state championships Thursday through Saturday, May 17-19.

The Titans closed out the regular season at the Bruin Invitational in Cedaredge on Friday, May 11 with some athletes already set for state and others on the bubble. And while qualifying additional athletes was one of the goals in Cedaredge, the other one, and just as important, was to celebrate the end of the season as a team. In the end, the Titans did just that and more as some finished their seasons setting new personal records while others secured their spots at the championship meet.

“The team definitely enjoyed the meet,” says coach Laura Daniels, who was also named the Southern Peaks League Coach of the Year. “Everything we’ve been working on all season came together. It was a really good day to be a Titan.”

Corinna Donovan was just one of several examples of the solid showing the Titans had in Cedaredge. Donovan was on the cusp of making it to the big show and punched her ticket officially in Cedaredge as she placed second in the 300 meter hurdles and is now ranked 12th in the state.

The girls 4×400 meter team took an unprecedented amount of time off of the fastest time in that event for the Titans this season to bump all the way up to 12th in the state rankings as well. The four who ran the 4×400 are also qualified in other events so Daniels is taking some new faces to the championship meet to gain key experience, as both Annalise Chain and Marlowe Desmarais will join Donovan and Emelie Elkins on the team.

“We will bring a girls 4×400, but it will be different from the team in Cedaredge,” explains Daniels. “That way some of the younger athletes can come and get a sense for what it’s all about.”

Sydney Petersen and Maria O’Neal teamed up to do their usual damage in the open 800-meter and 1,600-meter events. Petersen and O’Neal finished third and fourth, respectively, in the 800 meters while Petersen went on to win the 1,600-meter race. The two will be very busy this coming weekend as O’Neal is racing in the 400 meters, 800 meters, 1,600 meters and the 4×800 meter race.

Petersen, recently named the Southern Peaks League MVP, has a similar schedule and will be racing in the 800 meters, the 1,600 meters, the 3,200 meters and the 4×800 meter relay, along with O’Neal, Donovan and Chain. Petersen also has a chance at a top three result as she is currently ranked second in the 3200 meters and third in the 1600 meters. Meanwhile the girls 4×800 meter relay team comes into the championships as the number four seed.

For the boys, Finn Wilson’s future in the 110-meter hurdles hung in the balance as his race in Cedaredge bumped him up into a tie for 18th place in state, and the top 18 qualify. After state meet organizers crunched numbers and times, they made it official that Wilson made the cut in the 110-meter hurdles.

Meanwhile, Sully Marshall remained consistent in the 300-meter hurdles to make the cut for states and the boys 4×200 meter relay team took half a second off the season’s best time to make it official.

“They needed that result to stay in the top 18,” says Daniels.

In the end, Tate Young, Josh Merck, Woody Martineau and Walker Carroll will team up for the 4×200 and 4×400 meter relays. Martineau will join Marshall, Wilson and Joe Coburn for the 4×800 meter relay, Young also qualified in the open 400 and the high jump and Merck will also compete in the long jump at Jeffco Stadium.

While Daniels’ expectations are somewhat guarded, she feels several of the athletes will be toeing the line, hungry to finish top nine and therefore step up onto the state podium at the awards ceremony.

“For a lot of the events, we are ranked between 10th and 13th,” says Daniels. “Top nine make it to the finals so they should be a little hungry, and going in a little hungry is just fine. The exceptions are Sydney, who is ranked second and third in two events, and the girls 4×800, who are ranked fourth. For them it’s about staying calm and bringing their game face.”

As they get ready for the state meet, Daniels is focused on one thing for all of her athletes: health.

“We’ll just try to maintain and stay healthy,” says Daniels. “Sleep, food, water and washing hands.”

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