3A move gives Delta thinclads state hope

By Tamie Meck


3A move gives Delta thinclads state hope   | track and field, DHS

Photo by Tamie Meck Delta's John Ames runs a leg of the 3200-meter relay Saturday at the Delta Panther Invitational. After competing in Class 4A, the Panthers drop to Class 3A this season, where their odds of qualifying athletes for state are much higher.

Delta has struggled in recent years to qualify athletes for state. Last season, as one of the smallest schools in Class 4A, the Panthers qualified a total of three athletes for state. This year, Delta will compete in Class 3A, joining Western Slope teams including Aspen, Basalt, Coal Ridge, Roaring Fork (Carbondale), Grand Valley and Gunnison.

They also join some 20 other teams that dropped a class, said head coach Matt Kevan. Taking that into consideration, they should still be able to send a lot more athletes to state this year.

Delta scored 82 points to finish fourth out of 11 teams Saturday, placing in 21 events and winning one gold medal, three silver and one bronze.

The 3200m relay team of Tre Johnson, Logan Freed, Jacob Wear and Syni Lujan posted a silver medal time of 8:51.72. Johnson and Lujan both earned points in the 800m run.

Delta ran a second 3200 relay team with John Ames, Shad Lewis, Paniagua and Jeff Chadwick that posted the fifth fastest time of the day.

With several strong distance runners on the team, said Johnson, the odds of getting a team to state are good. Last year, he said, "We were on the edge" of a qualifying time.

Beau Byers won the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 17.13 seconds. One of 15 seniors, Byers also finished fourth in the triple jump and seventh in high jump.

Wear finished fourth in the 400m. The all-senior 4x100 team of Luka Htoo, Ab Ontiveros, JW Tindall and David Mora tied for second with a time of 46.75, and placed fourth in the 4x200 relay.

The team also includes 13 juniors, 13 sophomores, and 14 freshmen. Freshman Garrison Pniagua took silver in the 3200m (11:09.97).