Last season, three of the Hotchkiss boys' relay teams were within fractions of a second of qualifying for state. The 400m relay team of Vikash Hypio, Dylan Hill, Nolan Tracy and Tell Hawk posted the 19th fastest time in state 3A competition after a nearly flawless performance at the league meet; only the top 18 teams qualify.
All four returned for another season, and they're all seniors. To make it all the more fun, senior Braeden Horton, who ran his freshman and sophomore years, returns after a hiatus in 2011, and is among the top sprinters on the team.
At Saturday's Delta Invitational, the first meet of the season, the five combined to place fourth in the 400m and 1600m relays and sixth in the 800m. Hawk and cross country runners Hypio, Kurt Katzdorn, and Cody Bartlett placed sixth in the 3200m.
They're a motivated group, said head coach Kelly Cowan. "Having a little bit more depth helps, because now they're pushing each other."
Hawk, a three-time state qualifier, has another incentive: last season he was the only Hotchkiss boy to qualify for state, finishing 10th in the 400m dash.
"It was kind of awkward being the only boy," said Hawk. "We've got a better shot of it this year."
Early-season competition was tough. The boys team earned only 18 points Saturday to place 10th overall and second among the more than half dozen 3A teams.
Almost a third of Hotchkiss' athletes, 19, are throwers. With throwing coach Curtis Hintz still coaching wrestling and only three days' practice in the ring, the boys were still a bit rusty. And with more than 80 discus and shot put throwers at Delta, competition was fierce. Senior Mason Oxford threw 106-10 to place a respectable 12th in the discus, and placed 27th in the shot put.
Sophomore Kylie Hodges surpassed the 36-foot mark her freshman year to qualify for state in shot put, where she placed eighth. She'd hoped to hit 35 feet on Saturday, but wasn't too disappointed in her third-place throw of 33-01.25, and a seventh-place finish in discus. Senior Lindsey Todd placed in the top 12 in both events, and nine girls threw for Hotchkiss.
The Hotchkiss girls continue to be a powerhouse on the track. Defending state champion Natalie Anderson won the 3200m by a minute and a half. Jenni Celis, who ran the 400m leg of last year's state champion medley team and placed second in the 400m and 800m, topped all other 800m runners by more than 13 seconds for the gold.
Two other medley winners, Beth Wood and Savannah Rocha, combined with Celis and Jessie Mautz to win the medley, and Hotchkiss placed fourth in the 400m relay.
Sprinter Kelli Buhrdorf placed sixth among the more than 70 racers to compete in the 100m dash.
The girls earned 68 points to place fourth.
Hotchkiss will host the 12th annual track and field invitational this Saturday. The meet is one of the few prior to league that includes primarily smaller schools, said Cowan. Not that they can't or don't want to compete with bigger schools. Cowan expects about 17 teams to attend. Delta and Montrose will bring their junior varsity teams. Field events are slated to begin at 9 a.m. and the running events will get underway around 9:30 a.m.blog comments powered by Disqus