Titans track gets first taste of racing

“It was a great meet for everybody”

[  by Than Acuff  ]

While some kids are missing due to continued winter sports action as well as other issues, the Crested Butte Titans track team jumped into the season officially with their first meet of the season, the Delta Panther Invitational on Saturday, March 19 and came back with some insight, some experience, as well as some podium results.

“This one was the real deal,” says coach Christa Meilak. “We were just trying to get some track time with some real competition.”

Both the boys’ and girls’ teams were able to get in events across the board with Titans completion in sprints, distance runs, relays as well as some hurdles and field events such as the long, high and triple jumps.

The senior jump crew posted some solid results in their events as Sam Merck placed sixth in the high jump, Hayes Freeman took fifth place in the long jump and Davis McNeill landed in second place in the triple jump.

“That was awesome,” says Meilak. “All three were able to get their marks and their footing.”

McNeill also lined up for the 100-meter sprint and finished the day in fifth place overall.

“He excelled in both of his events,” says Meilak.

Freshman Jake Pendy got his first taste of high school competition in the fall running cross-country and appears to have built off that experience as he finished fourth in the 1,600-meters.

“We’re going to see a lot from him this season if he can stay injury free,” says Meilak.

Sophomore Asher Arell gave the 200-meter run a go but had his best finish of the day in the 110-meter hurdles placing seventh adding more diversity to the boys’ team line up.

Junior Ruby Pendy led the charge on the girls’ side of things as she finished third in her first try at the 800-meters and then took second place in the 1,600-meter run. Katie O’Neill cracked the top 10 in the 800 meters as well to place eighth.

Meanwhile, Meilak and the coaching staff also leaned on their girls in a variety of events as they continue to find the right mix for potential relay teams. Junior India Nornes just joined the team and took ninth in the 200 meters and is on tap for the girls’ 4×200-meter relay team that appears to be set moving forward. Meilak pointed out that they are also looking at putting together a 4×800 meter relay team to compliment options available for the girls’ team.

“We’re hoping to have a 4×200 and a 4×800 team for the girls,” says Meilak. “We’re going to start zoning in on that 4×200 team.”

In staying with the experimental theme of the day, Meilak threw sophomore Poppie Pleak into the 400 meters and she finished in eighth place.

“We’re trying her out everywhere and she’s coming on strong,” says Meilak.

In the end, Meilak believes they got what they needed out of their first meet of the season and look forward to continue fine-tuning events as they head into the meet this weekend.

“It was a great meet for everybody,” says Meilak. “A lot of the kids are still trying out a few things, so it was good to be able to do that. Their base fitness is getting stronger so we’re now able to start working on more things.”

The Titans head to Grand Junction Friday and Saturday, March 25-26 for the Warrior Wild West Invitational at Stocker Stadium, a massive two-day endeavor that brings in programs of all sizes.

“This will be the closest thing to the state meet that we will experience,” says Meilak. “It’ll be really fun to see what the kids can do in the two-day event. We should see some really good, fast times.”

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