The Cedaredge boys track team is off to a good start. At Saturday's Hotchkiss Invitational, the defending 2A state champion Bruins won three events and placed in the top three in five more.
Danny Mendoza had two of those top three finishes. In the final heat of the 300m hurdles, Mendoza was lined up next to 6-foot, 3 inch senior Dylan Allen of Coal Ridge. As the other competitors dropped back, and with two hurdles to clear, Mendoza was a full four paces behind Allen. At the final hurdle, he was one pace back and overtook Allen in the final meters for the win.
"I wanted to catch him so bad," said Mendoza after the win.
After the race, Allen congratulated Mendoza and told him he didn't see him coming.
Mendoza, one of eight seniors competing for the Bruins, also placed third in the 110m hurdles with a time of 16.71, coming in just shy of his prior best time, just behind Allen, and just ahead of Hotchkiss sophomore Jace Peebles.
As a freshman, Mendoza competed in the long and triple jumps before breaking his collar bone. About midway through his sophomore track season, and despite concerns about injuries, he gave hurdles a try at the urging of coaches and friends. He qualified for state in both events.
Last year he placed second in the 2A Western Slope League in both the 110m and 300m hurdles, and finished seventh in state in the 110 hurdles, and fifth in the 300m hurdles.
His season is off to a good start. After two meets, he has three wins and one third-place finish and is currently ranked in the top 10 in the state in both events. Mendoza is also 5-7, which is atypical for a successful hurdler. While he gives a lot of credit for his success to practice and good coaching, a lot of it is mental, he said. "I'm not thinking that the guy next to me is 6-4."