Hotchkiss mid-distance runner Cody Bartlett wasn't expected to win at last week's 3A Western Slope League track meet. Distance coach Richard Hypio said he knew Bartlett would better his times in the 800- and 1600-meter runs, and probably place.
But the junior wasn't ranked in the 800, and was barely a blip on the radar in the 1600.
But just as he did last fall at the regional cross country meet, Bartlett put forth his best performances of the season a week before state, shaving 2 seconds off his best time to win the 800 and 3 seconds off of his PR to place second in the 1600. He's now comfortably qualified to compete at this week's state 3A meet in both events, as well as the 1600 relay.
"I was very nervous going in," said Bartlett after edging out Rifle's Aaron Wagler, who was favored to win the 800. "I thought I wasn't going to do so good. It was just nerves, though."
Bartlett said he paced off of Wagler for much of the first lap, then at the 350 mark, decided Wagler was taking it too easy, "So I decided to pass him then." Bartlett led the second lap, then entered the final curve with Wagler uncomfortably close, and thought for a second that maybe he went all out too early. The two battled their way down the stretch, with Bartlett leaning into the finish line to win by 2/100ths of a second.
On Friday, Bartlett led throughout most of the 1600, but Aspen's Kellan Kremer, who was favored to win, caught him down the stretch to win by just over a second.
Bartlett credited competitiveness and mental toughness for his ability to push through the physical pain. When a lot of athletes reach the breaking point, they slow down. "When I feel the breaking point, I speed up."
Senior Tell Hawk also made a strong showing at league. Hawk was seeded third going into Friday's finals in the 400, and posted the second upset of the day over Rifle's Wagler with a second-place time of 50.88. Hawk will make his second appearance at state in the event, and holds the eighth-fastest time of 50.77.
Two relay teams also qualified for state after posting their best time of the season. The 800-meter team of Vikash Hypio, Dylan Hill, Hawk and Keegan Palmer placed second with a state-qualifying time of 1:33.85. The 400 team of Hypio, Hill, Hawk and Earl Gaub placed third in 3:32.44. And the 1600 team of Hypio, Hawk, Bartlett and Alex Smith finished third with a time of 3:32.44.
Also earning points for Hotchkiss were Katzdorn, who placed third in the 3200; Hypio, who placed eighth out of a field of 30 in the 100; Alex Smith, who placed seventh in the 800; Keegan Palmer, who was fourth in the triple jump; and senior Mason Oxford, who threw the discus 124 feet, 11 inches to place third.
The boys team earned 67 points to place fifth overall.
Hotchkiss sophomores Jenni Celis and Natalie Anderson have a natural gift for running. And they make it look so easy.
"It's definitely a challenge. I definitely try my hardest," said Celis after calmly winning Friday's 800-meter run by eight seconds. She said she's seen videos of her performances. "It looks like it's going easy, but I'm really trying."
Celis was seeded second after Thursday's 400 preliminaries, but finished more than two seconds ahead of second place to win the event on Friday. It was her fastest time of the season and the second-fastest time in the state.
Anderson also easily won two events. On Thursday, the defending state champion finished the 3200 more than a minute and a half ahead of second place Gunnison, the only racer she didn't lap, then won Friday's 1600 by almost 17 seconds.
Anderson said she was hoping to better her time in the 3200, but with no competition to push her, "It didn't work out that way." Anderson is seeded fourth in the 1600, and fifth in the 3200, so she'll have plenty of competition there. At this point, there's not much she can do to prepare physically, so she's preparing for the psychological side of her race. "Mentally, I really need to be there and show up," she said after her 3200. She has a strategy in mind, but anything can happen. Mainly, she said, "I'll try not to let anyone get more than 10 or 20 yards ahead."
Senior teammate Nikki Buhrdorf also ran the 3200. A state qualifier in relays, Buhrdorf also qualified recently for the International Science and Engineering Fair, scheduled for May 13-18. She will represent the project she and Vikash Hypio entered, allowing Hypio to run at state.
"I'm really excited to be going to science fair, even though I'm really disappointed I'm not going to state track," said Buhrdorf, who plans to study the sciences in college. "I was sad at the start of the race, but that's what made me say, 'OK, you've got to go. This is your last run. You have to give it all you have."
Buhordorf ran her best race of the season to place fourth.
Savannah Rocha placed second in the high jump after clearing 4-10.5, and is ranked ninth in state with a height of 5-01.
Hotchkiss is qualified for state in all five relays. At league, the 400-meter team of Jessi Mautz, Kelli Buhrdorf, Arial Duncan and Aleksus Wilson placed fourth. The 800 sprint medley team of Mautz, Rocha, Kelli Buhrdorf and Wilson was third. The 800 team of Mautz, Rocha, Buhrdorf and Wilson and the 400 team of Mautz, Buhrdorf, Duncan and Wilson both placed fourth.
Kylie Hodges placed fifth in the shot put and Lindsey Todd was eighth. Hodges, a sophomore, will make her second appearance at state and is ranked 13th in the discus. Todd, a senior, placed eighth in the discus, and will make her first trip to state with a qualifying distance of 108 feet, 11 inches.
Also earning points were Kelli Buhrdorf, who finished seventh in the 100; Tiffany Clock, who finished seventh in the 1600; Isabel Silverstein, who was fifth in the triple jump, and Duncan and Silverstein, who placed sixth and eighth respectively in the 200.
Hotchkiss' girls earned 93 points to place third overall.blog comments powered by Disqus