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Devils get an early taste of regionals

Ian CroppVail, CO Colorado

GRAND JUNCTION – If the Eagle Valley track and field team had its say, all meets would be in Pueblo during the summer.”We certainly perform better when it’s warm out,” said Devils’ coach Jeff Shroll.OK, so maybe the Devils don’t need the temperatures in the triple digits, but they’d appreciate something safely above freezing for this the regional meet next weekend. They weren’t afforded much warm weather this weekend at the Tiger Invite.On a cool Friday night, the Devils pulled in some top times during qualifying. Then on Saturday, with temperatures dipping close to freezing, the 4A Devils saw several athletes place high among 5A schools.Kyle Simonett won his heat in the 400-meter qualifier Friday, blazing to the finish in 50.97 seconds, a new school record. Simonett took fourth in the Saturday’s finals, going 51.86, which was tops among 4A competitors.Simonett’s sub-51 400 replaced the old record of 51.32, held by Wes Minett. Last year, Simonett’s top time was 51.70.”I kind of took this year a little more seriously,” Simonett said.Saturday, Simonett had a bit of trouble with the colder weather, but still had a good race.”He’s as strong as I’ve seen a 400 runner,” Shroll said.Ashley Rohweder was her usually-fast self Friday, qualifying first in the girls” 300 hurdles (47.00), third in the 200 (25.95) and fourth in the 100 (13.12).”She was doing really good in the prequalifiers,” Shroll said. “She was really strong in the 300 hurdles and 200 and that was against some tough competition.”Saturday, Rohweder ran the 100 despite respiratory problems, and finished in 13.19, good for seventh.

As has been the case all season, Amy Thompson earned points in both throwing events.Thompson threw the discus 113 feet, 1 inch to take second and first among 4A throwers. In the shot put, Thompson threw 34-9 1/2, good for third and again best in 4A.”All of our throwers are looking good,” Shroll said. “Kacey (Bair) had a good throw, as did Jackie (Eberhard). They’re good competitors.”The girls’ 400 relay team of Rohweder, Shaylynn Nielson, Hattie Higgins and Sierra Pickslay-Zamora ran a 51.24 and took second place to 5A Grand Junction.”Their handoffs weren’t quite as crisp, and that was one heck of a Grand Junction team,” Shroll said. “We did a really good job.”In the 800 relay, the girls were fifth.”We’ve never run that team before and they took five seconds off the (team’s) best time (this year),” Shroll said. “I think we can compete for a spot to (state).”Because athletes were limited in the number of events they could run, Shroll moved Higgins into the 800 relay alongside Michelle Parmenter, Nielson and Pickslay-Zamora.In the high jump, Sasha Pickslay-Zamora went 4-10 and took sixth, while Emily Kingston went 4-8 to tie for eighth.”You don’t get a lot of hop and explosion when temperatures are more like March than May,” Shroll said.

Michael Medsker did just about all he could in the 100 and 200 prequalifiers Friday, winning his heats.”He had really good times, but the format kept him out of the finals in the 100,” Shroll said.Medsker ran the 100 in 11.68, but fell .01 second short of making the finals. In the 200, Medsker ran a 23.09 Friday, and then a 23.41 Saturday to take eighth.The boys’ 3,200 relay team of Colt Nelson, Andrew Hill, Griffin Turnipseed and Jamie Fahrmeyer took seventh (8:41.06) and shaved three seconds off their best time of the year. The 1,600 relay team of Brendon Wright, Fahrmeyer, Medsker and Simonett was also seventh.Many of the Eagle Valley girls and guys not at the Tiger were supposed to compete at a meet in Aspen Saturday, which was canceled because of snow.This weekend, the Devils will be back in Grand Junction for regionals.”There’s a lot of mental preparation from here on out,” Shroll said.Simonett thinks the Tiger is a good meet to have before regionals.”Next week is a lot more relaxed, which is awesome,” he said. “This was boom, boom, boom – you had to be ready and there was no time to stretch.”Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or icropp@vaildaily.com.


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