Cyrus Malek-Madani was ranked fifth in discus heading into last weekend's Class 2A state track and field meet. But in his third and final qualifying throw the senior surprised everyone with a career-best throw of 148 feet. The throw also earned him his first trip to the podium and a silver medal.
Malek-Madani also competed in shot put, where he placed 13th. Malek-Madani "really improved over the last month," said head coach Brian Mitchem.
The boys didn't have a big team this year, but the athletes who showed up were very committed, said Mitchem. They will lose seven seniors, among them, Malek-Madani and four-time state qualifier Caden Meilner. In Meilner's four years on the team he competed at state in distance, mid-distance and relay events. In his last state performances he placed 11th in the 800m with a time of 4:41.42, and 17th in the 3200 with a time of 10:58.56.
This year's team strength was in the mid-distances, said Mitchem. Meilner and juniors Logan Green, Ethan Bartlett and Harley Ewert won bronze in the 3200-meter relay with a season-best time of 8 minutes, 20.49 seconds. Their time fell 13-100ths of a second shy of the 2005 Paonia High School record set by the state champion team of Justin Vallelonga, Eric Hughes, Billy Mitchell and Alex Mitchem.
In the 3200m run, Bartlett was ranked 15th and finished 10th with a season-best time of 10:26.55.