Palisade girls take team honors, Glenwood places fourth
Three girls dominated the individual final results at the 24-team Demon Invitational, held Saturday at Stubler Memorial Field, but it was the Palisade Bulldogs who rolled to the team title.
Jessica Peters of Steamboat Springs, Kim Smith of Eagle Valley and Rachel Schmucker of Hotchkiss combined to win seven of the eight track events.
Peters took honors in the speed events, winning the 100-meter dash, 200 and 400. Smith swept the middle distance, notching firsts in the 800 and 1,600, while Schmucker swept the 100 and 300 hurdles.
But Palisade, buoyed by an abundance of point-scoring finishes and three relay-event victories, ran away with the team crown.
The Bulldogs finished with 137 points, followed by Hotchkiss (100.5), and Olathe (68).
The host Glenwood Springs Demons, who won the meet last year, placed fourth with 57 points, and Rifle rounded out the top five with 53 points.
Glenwood Springs coach Blake Risner would have preferred a higher finish, but, considering the number of athletes competing for the Demons (13) and soggy conditions, he was impressed with the effort.
“I think, under the circumstances, some of the girls gave some gutty performances,” Risner said. “I think they should be proud of the way they competed.
“If you were to ask each and every girl on the team they would probably say they were not happy with their performances,” he added. “They have high expectations of themselves and I think they are looking forward to the opportunity to showcase their talents at Regionals.”
Amber Sutherland was the highest placer for the Demons, finishing second in both the shot put and discus. In the shot, the junior threw 37 feet, 51⁄2 inches, 1-01⁄4 short of the winning mark of Palisade’s Bobbie Sloan.
“The last two meets I’ve been throwing around 37 feet, which is close to my (personal record),” Sutherland said. “So I’m staying consistent with my throws.”
Sutherland injured her elbow on the final shot throw, but still managed a toss of 106-3 for second place in the discus later in the day.
Two other Glenwood athletes also tallied second-place finishes for Glenwood in Megan McKinnie and Jeri Polowchena.
McKinnie competed in the girls’ race of the day against Schmucker in the 300 hurdles, keeping pace with the Class 3A state champion until the final hurdle as the headwind picked up down the final stretch.
“The wind was blowing hard on the last few hurdles,” McKinnie said. “It was good to compete with her and I probably just need a little more speed at the end.”
“I don’t think the people in the stands realized what they just witnessed in that race,” Risner added. “I talked to the Hotchkiss coach and we both agreed, for those girls to run 47 seconds in those conditions was an amazing feat.”
Schmucker finished with a time of 47.08, while McKinnie came in at 47.54.
Polowchena, running in the 300 hurdles for the first time, had an impressive debut. After a disappointing fifth-place finish in the 100 hurdles, Polowchena posted a fourth in the longer event.
It wasn’t the senior’s best event of the day, however. Polowchena placed second to Olathe’s Mandy Norris in the triple jump with a mark of 34-3.
Rifle had two top-three individual finishers and also finished second and third in the 4×200 and 4×800 relays, respectively.
Kristina Dahlin was second in the high jump, clearing 5 feet, two inches short of the winning mark of 5-2 accomplished by double-event winner Norris.
The other top-three finish for the Bears was Jessica Warwick in the 1,600. She clocked a time of 5:55.20.
“I’m happy with the place, but not really happy with the time,” Warwick said.
Most of the competitors will have the opportunity to improve on their times against many of the same athletes at next weekend’s 16-team Rifle Invitational.
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