Paonia shot put thrower Tony Darling is favored to win the 2A league title this week in Grand Junction.
The Lady Eagles earned 123 points to place second at Friday's Bruin Invitational, just one point behind Delta. Paonia won the gold in four events and surpassed six meet records.
Lindsay Russell was one of two runners to break the meet record in the 200-meter dash, posting her best time of the season to win in 27.12 seconds.
In the 400, Taylor Polson finished second in the 400 and was one of two to break the meet record.
The 400 relay team of Morgan Hartigan, Brooklynd Erickson, Gabrielle Moet and Easton Hartigan was one of three teams to top the standing record. They finished in 51.98 to place second.
Russell, Reed, Polson and Plymale also topped the 1600 relay record to finish second in 4:13.31. The 800 sprint medley team of Russell, Erickson, Moet and Easton Hartigan set a new record of 1:54.48 for the win.
Erickson would havebroken the long jump record, clearing 15 feet, 6.75 inches for the win, but did not get the record because there was a negative 3.2 force breeze. The cutoff for records is negative 2. Teammate Mandy Bushta finishing third and Chelsea Martinez eighth.
Ce'rra Carsten set a personal record of 34 feet, 6.5 inches to win the triple jump. Reed finished fifth in the 400.
With athletes sitting in the Max Preps top 18 in all but three events, the Paonia girls will be strong contenders at the 2A Western Slope League track meet, which begins Thursday morning at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction. Paonia won last year's title, and prior to that were three-time winners of the Western Slope regional title.
The toughest competition will likely be in the long jump, where Paonia has three, Moet, Erickson and Carsten, ranked in the top 18. Nine of those 18 are from the Western Slope.
Look for the Lady Eagles to place in the top three in all sprint events and the 800. Dolores and Paonia are ranked one and two in the 400 and 800 relays, and the 1600 relay should come down to the wire between Telluride and Paonia. Also look for Paonia to finish in the top three in the sprint medley.
With all four of last year's winning 3200 relay team returning, look for Paonia to dominate in that event.
Carsten and Polson should finish strong in the triple jump, and Carsten could bring home the gold in the high jump.
The Paonia boys team claimed last year's league title, but after graduating five of the fastest sprinters in the state, Paonia is in a rebuilding stage. They still have several strong contenders heading into league competition.
The Eagles earned 42 points to place sixth at Cedaredge. The 3200-meter relay team of Trevor Walters, Ben Justman, Jason Sturgis and Josiah Spano placed second behind Delta. Western Slope 3200 teams are ranked in the top three in state, and Paonia is ranked third, which could make this one of the most competitive league events for the Eagles.
Walters, a senior, placed third Friday in the 1600. Walters is a strong mid-distance runner, and is on the edge of state qualification in the event. He is a favored runner in the 800.
Sturgis finished sixth in the 1600, and fifth in the 3200. He's a top runner at both the regional and state levels in the 3200, and if he elects to run this week in the 1600, could bust into the top 18 with a strong performance.
Sophomore hurdler Austin Williams finished fifth in the 110-meter hurdles, and sixth in the 300 hurdles, posting the fastest 2A times in both events. Williams is strongest in the 300 and among the top 10 in the state, and is on the border of state qualification in the 110.
Anthony Roeber broke the 5-foot, 10-inch mark again in the high jump, placing fifth at Cedaredge.
Myles Cumpston and Morgan Rieder were among 11 discus throwers to surpass the Cedaredge meet record of 114-11. Both are ranked high in league competition, but will need to throw their best this week in order to break into the top 18.
And Tony Darling threw 42-8.25 to place fifth in the shot put. He is the top shot put thrower going into regional competition.