Last weekend, San Miguel County athletes raced onto the state meet podium in droves, ultimately harvesting a whopping 31 medals, with six team members claiming state champion titles and both girls and boys teams earning second-place overall trophies.
It was the team’s finest showing on the statewide stage, coach Keith Hampton said following the three-day event, which saw the best athletes from Colorado high schools converge upon the immense Jefferson County Coliseum in Denver.
“To have six event champions out of 37 total events represents a pretty good percentage, especially considering all the teams we were up against,” Hampton said of his highly decorated squad.
The team started the meet with a big win in the 4 x 800 meter relay race, in which Ty Williams, Jeff Williams, Nathan Loomis and Dylan Newell flew across the finish line just three seconds off the state record to take first, while Lindsey Stindt launched the best long jump of her career to take second in the that event.
Jeff Williams and Jo Bush also claimed a couple of bronzes in the boys and girls 800-meter run to put Telluride’s foot firmly on the doorstep of a podium finish.
“Those performances definitely got us off on the right foot” to earn the points necessary for a team podium finish for both the girls and boys, Hampton said.
The competition’s 3200 and 1600 races saw defending state champ Ty Williams claim victory once again, despite battling illness that day. Loomis and Newell came up with surprise finishes in the 3200 as well, garnering more points for the team.
Saturday’s points accumulations put Telluride-Norwood in striking distance of their closest competition: Akron on the girls side, and Hoehne for the boys. Track and Field powerhouse Lyons, meanwhile, had pulled ahead in both the girls and boys points races to take what would become an insurmountable lead.
With Telluride-Norwood in contention for the silver in both the girls and boys team points race, Saturday was an important day for these athletes to shine; and shine they did, with Stindt claiming a double victory with wins in two hurdles events. Bush came out strong in both the 400- and 200-meter dash events, where she set a new school record in the 400 and earned herself a silver and a gold. Emy Ludwig, meanwhile, fought hard in the hurdles to win top-ten finishes, further bolstering Telluride’s girls’ points cushion.
The girls 4 x 400 relay team blasted through a stoic performance to keep ahead of Akron in the point totals, putting them in second place overall by the end of the meet.
The boys’ 4 x 400 and 4 x 100 relay teams kept pace with their competition as well, with runners Jared Balkind, Connor Cuarter, Jarron Ragsdale, Slator Aplin, Loomis, and Jeff Williams maintaining winning momentum and earning points for their team – also enough to secure their silver place finish in the team rankings.
“To come away with two second-place trophies is huge,” Hampton said, noting that his athletes feel an especially strong sense of accomplishment when claiming victories on the state level, considering that their team has no track or other facilities at which to train and their training season is relatively short.
He adds that while the team will certainly miss graduating seniors Ty Williams, Ludwig, Stindt, and others on the starting lines next year, he feels confident that TNT’s strong group of upcoming athletes will continue to carry the torch for Telluride-Norwood Track.