Paonia gears for regionals

By Tamie Meck

Paonia gears for regionals   | track and field, PHS

Photo by Wayne Crick Hotchkiss' Kaiya Firor (second from right) battles Montrose's Madisyn Minerich coming off the final curve of the 400m dash. Firor was able to pass Minerich down the stretch to win the race in a time of 58.54 with Minerich finishing in

With high temperatures in the mid-40s, last Friday's annual Montrose Invitational wasn't the best meet for setting new speeds, distances and heights, but it didn't slow Paonia senior Sophia Anderson.

Anderson won both the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes, resetting her personal best marks in both events. In the 100m Anderson posted a winning time of 12.57 seconds, just 2-100ths of a second off of breaking the school record of 12.55, set in 2006 by four-time 2A state champion Halley Parks. Anderson's winning 200m time of 25.32 reset her own school record of 25.53, set April 22 at Gunnison.

"She just keeps getting better and better," said head coach Brian Mitchem.

Anderson previously shattered a long-standing school record not reported by the DCI. On April 22 she cleared 37 feet even to win the triple jump at the WSCU-GHS Combined Invitational in Gunnison. The mark reset the 2000 record of 35-11 set in 2000 by Patricia Roeber.

Despite the cold temperatures, other season and personal records were set at Montrose. Junior Brooke Hillman placed third in the 800m run, posting a season-best time of 2:28.03.

In the triple jump, Mckenna Hartigan edged toward a top-10 seed with a bronze-winning distance of 32 feet, 4 inches, an improvement over her prior season-best distance of 31-8.25.

In relays, the 800m sprint medley team took silver with a time of 1:54.96. The 4x100m relay team also showed improvement, cutting its season-best time to 52.71 for a third-place finish; the 4x200m relay team also placed third with a time of 1:50.74; and the 4x400m team finished seventh.

Alexandra Eaton placed fifth in the 300m hurdles with a time of 53.37, and freshman Katya Schwieterman improved on her prior personal best time to place fifth in the 3200m run in 14:04.53.

In throwing events, Brianna Van Vleet placed fourth in the shot put with a mark of 33 feet even, and Sabrina Leighton placed eighth with a throw of 32-1.5.

On the men's side, Warren Minerich placed third in the shot put with a throw of 44-7.5 and Cyrus Malek-Madani placed sixth with a distance of 114-11. In discus competition, Blake Benson won silver with a throw of 132-02.

On the track, Cade Meilner took sixth in the 1600m run with a time of 4:46.51, and the 4x800m relay team placed seventh in a season-best 9:00.08.

The girls scored 70 points to tie for fourth place and the boys team placed 11th with 21 points. Both teams tried a few different combinations and events in trying to finalize where the team will compete at this Friday's district meet in Grand Junction, said Mitchem. Low temperatures, combined with it being prom week, "It wasn't a great week for practice."

The 2A/1A Western Slope League meet opens Friday morning at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction.