Titans track rallies through back-to-back meets

Boys team wins league title, girls take second place

By Than Acuff

Despite coming off April Break and a bridge closure forcing some quick adjustments by the Crested Butte Titans track team including back-to-back meets, the Titans rallied through the two days of racing to emerge with a team league title for the boys, a second-place league finish for the girls and winning eight events at the league meet on Thursday, May 2 in Del Norte.

The Titans then headed to Salida to eat some dinner, hit the sack by 11:45 p.m. and wake up the next day to head to Cañon City at 6:45 a.m. for the Cañon City Blossom Invite to post three season-best times and seven personal records.

“It was a little crazy but almost everybody ran faster the second day,” says coach Shari Sullivan-Marshall. 

Sullivan-Marshall likes the league meet because it gives her athletes some perspective. The entire season they compete in meets against bigger programs where the focus is on times and improvement rather than placement. The league meet is different though, and it showed with their results.

“I like the league meet because it’s a pursuit of place,” says Sullivan-Marshall. “I think it’s really important for us as a small team to run in the league meet. They realize they are a really good 2A team.”

Both Josie Feier and Cody Pleak won the 3200 meters, Eva Loflin won the long jump, Ilo Hawley won the 400 meters, Pleak doubled down to win the high jump, Giles Billick took the 1600-meter league title while Kenny Bullock, Max Sullivan, Billick and Sam Bullock won the 4×800-meter relay. The icing on the cake was delivered by Asher Arell who finished his high school 110-meter hurdle career with a personal record (PR) time and the league title to boot.

“It was fun to hit a PR and win it in his senior year,” says Sullivan-Marshall.

In addition to the slew of league titles, the Titans also posted eight PRs that day and six season best times, but they weren’t done as they continued to push the next day at the meet in Cañon City.

“We wanted to get Cañon City in because of the competition there and two days of racing is not unique,” says Sullivan-Marshall. “We’re still a young team so I wanted to get more racing experience in too.”

The coaches reminded the athletes that it was “mind over matter” in Cañon City and emphasized warming up properly throughout the whole day. In the end, the Titans seized the day to knock out more season best times, seven more PRs in addition to some top results against bigger programs.

On the girls’ side, the 4×400-meter relay team of Hawley, Feier, Sophia Bender and Elise Crisi ran to a second-place finish while Feier also placed sixth in the 1600 meters and the girls 4×200-meter team placed sixth.

The boys team stepped on the podium in six events with Jake Pendy and Flint Hoyt leading the charge. Pendy placed second in the 1600 meters with Hoyt finishing sixth in addition to his second-place finish in the 3200 meters for a total of racing six miles in a 24-hour span.

“He ran faster the second day,” says Sullivan-Marshall.

Sam and Kenny teamed up with Sullivan and Billick to take second in the 4×800 meters and Billick, Sullivan, Sam and Kenny all finished top eight in the 800 meters with Billick leading the way in third place and a PR.

“They really rose to the occasion,” says Sullivan-Marshall. “I think they learned a lot racing two days in a row. I was really proud of the team.”

They close out the regular season with the John Tate Elite meet in Pueblo on Saturday, May 11 with the state championships the following weekend at Jeffco Stadium.

“This is our last chance for everyone to shine and show all of our hard work,” says Sullivan-Marshall. “Hopefully everyone will have their best races.”

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