While the Paonia track teams didn't score a lot of points at Saturday's Demon Invitational track meet at Glenwood Springs -- the girls placed seventh with 48 points and the boys finished 11th with 16 points at the 19-team meet -- multiple Paonia athletes set personal best times, heights and distances. Among those personal records (PRs), a handful of athletes hit state-qualifying marks.
Cyrus Malek-Madani hit state qualifying marks in both shot put and discus.
His second-place mark 137 feet, 4 inches in the discus was his best for the season and his four-year career, improving on his old PR by almost 10 feet.
Malek-Madani also placed fourth in the shot put with a PR of 42 feet, putting him in the top 10 in state. In terms of finishing the season with a state qualification, "He's pretty safe at 42 feet," said head coach Brian Mitchem.
Junior Harley Ewert placed fourth in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:04.97, improving on his previous best time by almost six seconds. It also puts him in the top 10 in state standings. "We'd been waiting for it," said Mitchem of Ewert's state-qualifying run. "He just had to get the right meet to make it happen."
Also impressive, said Mitchem, is sophomore Logan Green's ninth-place in the 800 with a PR of 2:10.29.
Ethan Bartlett shaved 15.5 seconds off of his 3200 time to finish in the top 10 with a time of 11:08.71. Ben O'Rourke took 21.6 seconds off his previous best to finish 12th out of 33 runners.
In women's competition, sophomore Lyla Hayutin-Baril cleared the bar at a state-qualifying 5 feet to place third in the high jump. She cleared 4-9 earlier in the year, said Mitchem. With each 1-inch increment the bar was raised, she kept clearing it. Once she cleared 4-11, "We were really excited."
Senior Mckenna Palmer placed in three individual events. In the triple jump she passed the 35-foot mark for the first time since 2016, hitting a winning mark of 35-6.5. Palmer also won silver in the long jump with a season-best mark of 16 feet, 2.5 inches. She also placed sixth in the 100 hurdles. Due to the wind assists, the marks won't count toward her state qualification, said Mitchem. Fortunately, she was ranked first in the state in the triple and second in the long jump heading into the meet.
Sabrina Leighton hit a PR mark of 34-10.25 to place third in the shot put. Leighton was already qualified for state, noted Mitchem, but this moves her up in standing.
Brooke Hillman placed fifth and was the highest Class 2A placer at Glenwood with a time of 2:33.2.
Alexandra Eaton and Randi Rapke finished seventh and eighth in the 300 hurdles. The 800 relay team finished third in a season best time of 1:54.69, fourth in the 800 sprint medley relay in a season-best 1:59.92. The 3200 team placed sixth (11:44.71).
The weather was very cold in the morning, which affected times for the sprinters, said Mitchem. Everything changed after it warmed up, and the kids had a great day. "It's a very well-run meet," he said.