Despite a forecast of winter-like weather and high winds, last Friday was almost perfect for the Delta Twilight track meet. The tiny "quad" twilight meet, which began at 3 p.m., was the first of its kind for the area since the days of the annual Delta County meets. Those ended sometime in the 1990s when the requirements for state qualification began to change.
Friday's meet was open only to the four Delta County teams and Olathe. Paonia, which had already committed to Saturday's Glenwood Demon Invitational, had to decline the invitation.
That the meet was held on Friday is also different. Most meets throughout the season are held on Saturday and begin early in the morning, said Whittington.
It was also a state qualifying meet. Delta head coach Ryan Whittington said the school decided to host the meet after the Colorado High School Activities Association made the change to lower the minimum number of teams needed for a state-qualifying meet from six teams to four. The change went into effect this year.
Between intermittent gusts of wind and a few clouds, the sun was out, and everyone seemed to be having a good time. High winds blew the high jump bar down a time or two. Delta sophomore Remi Baldwin said after winning the 100-meter hurdles that on one of the final hurdles, the wind caught her and almost lifted her up. "Like I had wings," said Baldwin.
The high jump bar blew down a time or two, and Hotchkiss high jumper Jake Stucker, one of two jumpers to qualify for finals, was hit by a head wind and pelted by a cloud of sand on one of his final attempts.
"Other than being windy, it's going pretty smooth," said Whittington.
It also goes by quickly, said Whittington. "Not many flights or teams." Most of the field events ran two flights, and almost all of the foot races ran one or two heats; most relays ran one heat.
Don French called it a "really nice little meet." French and wife Beth are certified track officials and have been to a lot of meets. He credits athletic director Jeremy McCormick and Coach Whittington for putting it all together. One thing he really likes, said French, is that it is a small meet. With fewer athletes competing, the meet gives those who might normally struggle to place against bigger schools and at multi-team meets a chance to medal, or even get a win.
While it's a small meet, it's also very competitive, because Delta County schools are very competitive, said Whittington. He'd like to see more meets take on this format in the future. Until now, teams compete almost every Saturday throughout the season, and meets always start early in the morning. That means the season cuts into a lot of weekends, said Whittington. "I think you'd get a lot more kids out (for track) if you're not having to go every Saturday, every weekend. If you can get two or three of these every year, I think it would help and kids would like it."
Whittington said he hopes athletes enjoy it. "And hopefully we'll get some good feedback from coaches, but I think they all kind of like it."