Years and years of practice are paying off for Hotchkiss discus thrower Mason Oxford. After falling short of a state qualification in 2012, he has remained in the top 18 in Class 2A rankings since the start of the season and continues to improve.
At the Hotchkiss Invitational, Oxford broke the 130-foot mark to place second with a throw of 131 feet, 2.5 inches. His prior best was 126-8, a mark he hit early in his junior season.
"I'm happy with that, but I can definitely do better," said Oxford, one of seven seniors competing for Hotchkiss, at practice last Thursday.
Oxford is watching the rankings closely and knows that making the No. 2 ranking, currently held by Kyle Cotton of Ouray at 148-5, is largely out of reach. But third and fourth place aren't. Oxford set his sites on the upper 130s at Friday's Coal Ridge Invitational in New Castle. He threw 137-8 to place second. The distance also put him in fourth place in state 2A rankings.
Oxford is a senior, but several other young throwers are on the team, and throwing coach Curtis Hintz is having success with them. Placing eighth in the discus at Coal Ridge, with a throw of 114-09, was Mason's younger brother, freshman Clayton Oxford.
Mason Oxford also competes on the 400m relay team with Earl Gaub and throwers Trenton Tamayo and River Panish. A sprint relay team "that is three-fourths throwers" is unusual, said Oxford, since throwers tend to be bigger and less competitive on the track. The relay team placed fifth at Coal Ridge, and first among 2A teams; they are ranked eighth in state.
Senior Keegan Palmer also performed well at Coal Ridge, finishing the 300-meter high hurdles in 44.99 seconds to place eighth. He posted the second best time of the day among 2A hurdlers, and his time was good enough to put him in the top 10 in state 2A rankings. It was also more than 2.5 seconds faster than his previous personal best.
Until this year, Palmer hadn't seriously considered the hurdles. A knee injury in cross country his sophomore year affected his last two track seasons, but he said he's coming around now. His dad, Paonia High School principal and PHS hurdles coach, Randall Palmer, convinced him to give hurdles a serious try this year. "I kind of regret not doing it more, because I'm actually doing alright," said Palmer.
He's also grown about a half a foot since his freshman year, and now stands at 6-feet, 4 inches. "The extra height is very helpful," he said. "This season has been really fun for me."
Palmer is ranked in the top 10 in the 110m hurdles, but with athletes limited to four events per meet, he had to choose one. Palmer is also ranked in the triple jump and runs on two state-ranked relay teams. He chose the 300m hurdles. The 110 is more about speed and form, he said, but the 300m requires the endurance he has from running the 400m and competing in cross country. Going the extra distance "is a lot more satisfying," he said.
Palmer is ranked fourth in the triple jump at 41 feet, 2 inches. "That's my favorite event so far," said Palmer. He started learning the more complicated of the two horizontal jumps his junior year, and has set a goal of 43 feet for the season, which would break the school record of 42-11.75, set in 1986 by Brian Bostwick.
In 2012 Palmer was the youngest runner on the state-qualifying 800m team. The other three runners graduated last year.
This year's 1600m team of Palmer, Alex Smith, River Panish and Cody Bartlett placed first at the Frank Woodburn meet on April 6. Palmer ran a 55-second split the first leg, and Smith and Panish kept the team in striking distance until Bartlett "... pulled a really good leg and got us in first," said Palmer. The team is currently ranked third in state, and the 800-meter team is ranked sixth. Hotchkiss is also ranked eighth in the 400m and third in the 3200m relays.
Due to spring break, the boys' team was missing several athletes Friday. They scored 35 points to place eighth at the 15-team meet. Kurt Katzdorn placed third in the 1600m (4:55.53); Tyrell Clock was seventh in the 3200m (11:47). Smith placed sixth in the 200. Panish placed 10th in the triple jump (37-10).
The Hotchkiss girls scored 73 points to place sixth at Coal Ridge. Kelli Buhrdorf placed third in the 100m in 13.1 seconds and seventh in the 200 (27.93). Both times were personal bests. Jenni Celis was in third place for the first three laps of the 1600m, then pulled ahead of the first- and second-place runners in the final 300 meters to win in 5:21.29. She was two seconds shy of breaking the meet record of 5:19.03, held by teammate Natalie Anderson. Anderson won the 3200m in 11:56.67.
The 800m medley team of Arial Duncan, Chase Bizer, Katie Parsons and Celis placed first; the 400m team of Bizer, Buhrdorf, Arial Duncan and Parsons was fourth; the 800m team of Parsons, Celis, Sophia Schelle and Buhrdorf placed second; the 1600m team of Mae and Natalie Anderson, Tiffany Clock and Schelle was third; and the 3200m team of Mae Anderson, Clock, Kenley Derby and Schelle placed third.
In throwing events, Kylie Hodges threw a season-best distance of 34-11 to place fifth in the shot put, and threw a personal best of 115-01 to place third in the discus.
Hotchkiss will compete this Friday at the Phil Wertman Invitational at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction.blog comments powered by Disqus