Track team has season of records

As coaches for the Steamboat Springs Middle School track and field team, Ken Brenner and Alexa Slaunwhite emphasized the importance of the team aspect of the sport even in individual events.

Their approach, though atypical, seemed to strike a chord with the four teams they coached: the seventh-grade boys and girls and the eighth-grade boys and girls.

During the season, which wrapped up Saturday in Steamboat, the coaches posted wish lists at the beginning of each week, and each athlete had to sign up for four events. The coaches then sat down with each team as the young athletes selected which teammates they wanted in each event.

"They are the ones that pick the kids to win the meet," Slaunwhite said. "It's pretty cool. The goal is to fill every event, and that's how you win meets. They get way into it. The eighth-grade boys were changing stuff right up to the last meet."

It seemed to work out for the best. The eighth-grade boys broke five school records and enjoyed a season unlike any in recent memory, Brenner said.

Jay Hanley broke the shot put and 100-meter hurdle records, throwing the shot 45 feet, 3 inches, while running the 100 hurdles in 14.61 seconds. Both would have translated into top finishes at several high school meets this season.

"This boy works hard," Brenner said. "I won't see another eighth-grade hurdler like that in my lifetime."

Hanley also teamed up with Jake Stanford, Nigel Hammond and Mike Stewart to set a new eighth-grade record of 49.8 in the 400-meter relay.

Stewart, Stanford, Hanley and Darren Burke ran a 1:44.80 to break the 800-meter relay record. Stanford, Stewart, Nick Grant and Brent Turman combined to run a 1:54.80 to set a new 800-meter medley record.

"I had 30 eighth-grade boys out," Brenner said. "We had a lot of kids in there and depth all the way through. The goal for every kid was to go to every meet and do better than they did they week before."

But the eighth-grade boys weren't the only team to break records this spring. Katy Gary teamed up with Madeline Hicks, Holli Mayer and Chelsea Mosser to set a new eighth-grade record in the girls' 400-meter relay with a 55.54.

Gary also set a new 100-meter hurdles mark with a 16.88.

The seventh-grade boys broke the 800-meter medley record twice in one season. The team members who set the final record of 2:09.16 were Jasper Gantick, Scott Frank, Zach Dunlop and Grahm Geppert.

The middle school season came to an end Saturday at the Steamboat meet, which 11 teams attended. The eighth- and seventh-grade boys won their divisions. The eighth-grade girls placed fifth. The seventh-grade girls, despite limited numbers, also came in fifth.

For the eighth-grade boys, Hanley placed first in the shot put with a throw of 44-2 1/4, won the 100 meters in 11.92, won the 200 in 24.9 and was part of the winning 1,600-meter relay team with Stanford, Turman and Hammond. They turned in a time of 4:10.68.

Also picking up a top finish was Gunnar Hughes in the discus with a throw of 118-7.

Stewart jumped 16-9 1/2 to win the long jump.

Grant, Hughes, Stanford and Stewart teamed up to win the 400-meter relay in 51.07, as well.

For the eighth-grade girls, Gary won the 100-meter hurdles in 17.23. Lizzy Stoll, less than two weeks after picking up a shot put, nearly broke the school record after she threw 32-9 1/4 to win Saturday.

Gary, Hicks, Mayer and Stoll won the 800-meter relay in 2:01.23.

Gary, Hicks, Mosser and Mayer won the 800-meter medley in 2:11.17.

The seventh-grade girls did not win any events Saturday, but Anna Nierenberg took second in the high jump, clearing 4-4. She also teamed with Morgan Hicks, Samantha Sessions and Sierra Weir to place second in the 400-meter relay in 1:00.39.

The seventh-grade boys had eight event champions.

Charlie Stoddard won the 400 meters in 66.93, the 800 in 2:34.98 and the mile in 5:23.57.

Dave Yokubonis won the long jump with a leap of 15-10 1/2, won the 100 in 12.97, won the 200 in 27.70 and teamed up with Josh Fix, Kerry Timmerman and Matt McIntosh to win the 400-meter relay in 55.96.

In addition to the event champions, athletes from Steamboat's four teams combined to place in 33 other events Saturday to bring the season to a successful close.

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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