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Photo by Tamie Meck Randi Rapke hands the baton to anchor Brooke Hillman in the 3200m relay. Rapke and the second runner, Alexandra Eaton were able to run down a huge Meeker lead which allowed Hillman to run away with the victory. Poppy Lightfoot was the leadoff runner.
Photo by Wayne Crick After winning with a season-best 10:22.94 in the 3200m relay Paonia’s Alexandra Eaton, Randi Rapke, Brooke Hillman and Poppy Lightfoot were all smiles as they posed for a team photo following their win.

Paonia girls capture 1A/2A district track title

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The Paonia girls track team won eight events and were runners up in six more events to win the 2A/1A Western Slope district track and field meet, held Friday and Saturday at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction.

Sophia Anderson won the district title in the triple jump with a mark of 36 feet, 9 inches. Anderson was the state champion in the triple jump at Hoehne her freshman year. She placed third her sophomore year, and in 2016 placed fourth for Paonia. This year she is ranked first in Class 2A. Her high mark of 37 feet broke the school triple jump record.

As of Sunday Anderson had posted the third-longest triple jump mark in the state, regardless of class, said Paonia assistant coach Brent McRae. She's outdone her nearest competitors by almost two feet. "She works hard, she's dedicated, she has a good attitude, good diet," said McRae. "All those things pay off."

The four-time defending state champion Paonia girls have a longstanding tradition of winning jumping events. Two-time defending state long jump champion and 2A record holder Brianna Van Vleet is ranked first after clearing 18-2 in the first meet of the season. Van Vleet didn't jump at the district meet.

Junior McKenna Palmer and senior Mckenna Hartigan have also state-qualifying marks this season. Palmer placed third at state as a sophomore, and squeaked into the top 18 as a freshman; Hartigan will make her first state appearance in the triple.

In the long jump, senior Emily Pieper cleared 16 feet even for the win. Pieper placed fourth at state as a sophomore, and last year was state runner-up.

Palmer took silver with a long jump mark of 15-3.5. "This is the first year she's long jumped," said McRae. She also placed fifth Saturday in the district 100-meter hurdles.

In high jump, Sadie Miller placed fifth with a jump of 4-7. She's "on the bubble" in top-18 rankings, said McRae.

Anderson also won the 100-meter dash in 12.67 seconds. Her preliminary time of 12.55 tied the 2006 school record set in her senior year by four-time state champion Halley Parks; and won the 200m in 25.74, an event in which she also re-set Parks' 2006 school record earlier in the season.

Paonia won four of five district relays. The defending state champion 4x800 relay team won with a season-best time of 10:22.94. Paonia also won the 800m sprint medley and 4x200, and the 4x400 team of Brooke Hillman, Lyla Hayutin-Baril, Randi Rapke and Poppy Lightfoot posted a winning time of 4:18.94. Paonia finished third in the 4x100.

In the 800m run, Brooke Hillman took silver and Randi Rapke placed fourth. Katya Schwieterman placed fourth in the 3200m, and in the 400m dash Hayutin-Baril placed fourth and Emily Miller placed fifth. In the 300m hurdles, McKenna Johnson placed fifth and Alexandra Eaton finished seventh. Courtney Van Vleet finished seventh in the 100m hurdles, and

In shot put Brianna Van Vleet took silver (33-09.5) and Sabrina Leighton placed fourth (32-10).

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