Titans track opens season in Delta

“It was fun to see where their strength and speed are right now”

By Than Acuff 

While workouts have been limited to gyms, streets and workouts in the Western Fieldhouse, the Crested Butte Titans track and field team appears to be on a new pace in the 2024 season compared to their efforts from the 2023 season.

They kicked things off with the Delta Pantherfest on Saturday, March 16 with a bang as 10 Titans set new personal records based off last year in their first meet of the season and while matching up against several bigger 4A programs, posted several team scoring results including winning the boys 4×800-meter relay and the boys 800-meter run. Their overall efforts resulted in the boys team placing fourth and the girls team finishing in the top 10.

Giles Billick went with a mix of brains and brawn tucking into second place before making one final move to slingshot his way to win the 800 meter race. 

“He ran a textbook 800,” says coach Shari Sullivan-Marshall.

Billick also joined Flint Hoyt, Max Sullivan and Jake Pendy to win the 4×800 relay posting a time 20 seconds faster than their best time from last season.

“They also ran a near perfect race,” says Sullivan-Marshall. “It was fun to see some savvy racing.”

The boys team had a great day across the board whether it was setting new personal records or scoring points for the team. While a senior, Mike D’Apolito is new to the team and made an initial impression placing third in the 110-meter hurdles while classmate Asher Arell has returned to track after a year abroad in France to place sixth for additional team points.

The Titans had a total of five athletes in the boys 200 meter with Arell leading the way in sixth place and Arell, D’Apolito, Ethan Kaufmann and Colby Smith placing seventh in the 4×200-meter race for additional team points.

“When we place in sprint events, it’s a big deal,” says Sullivan-Marshall.

The Titans boys got back to their distance events then as Pendy placed third, Smith fifth and Hoyt seventh in the 1,600 meters and then Cody Pleak and Hoyt finished in fourth and fifth place respectively in the 3,200 meters. Pleak also scored team points with a seventh-place finish in the high jump, his first time all season jumping over a high jump bar.

While Sullivan-Marshall admits handoffs weren’t as smooth as they could be, she also points out they’ve had no time to practice them on a real track this year. That said, they were much better than at this point last year and the girls’ relays posted great results to match the work of the boys’ efforts.

Emerson Kaufmann, Lilla Laird, Sage Johnson and Elise Crisi ran to a fifth-place finish in the sprint medley and then Eva Loflin opened the 4×200-meter relay with Crisi, Johnson and Ilo Hawley carrying the baton around the track to a fourth place finish.

“There was some really great growth that some kids made since last season,” says Sullivan-Marshall. “The meet gave us a great baseline and what we need to work on. It was fun to see where their strength and speed are right now.”

The Titans stay on the Western Slope the next two weekends with the North Fork Invitational on Saturday, March 23 and then a third meet in the same area the following weekend.

“These meets are awesome because they allow us to run more kids in each event than other meets,” says Sullivan-Marshall. “We will have more kids to compete also, so we’ll be able to fill out more relays and other events.”

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