Rifle boys triumph at regionals
GRAND JUNCTION – With Tyler Thompson leading the way, the Rifle boys joined together to run one last lap on Saturday.A victory lap, with Thompson hoisting the Class 4A Western Slope boys track and field first-place plaque above his head.Down a half a point going into the 4X400 relay, the final event of the meet, Rifle mustered up a win to cap off a comeback to capture the regional title.”It’s great when it comes down to the 4X4,” said Rifle head coach Jerry Shaffer. “That was exciting. That was fun.”Ryan McIntosh ran the first leg of the 4X400, followed by last-minute addition Ryan Melody, who kept the Bears in contention.”Ryan Melody wasn’t even on the 4X4,” said Shaffer, who helped the Bears win in his first year with the team. “I had to put him in last minute and he comes in and runs a 52 for me. That’s guts. That’s awesome. I am pumped right now.”Hazen Moss ran the third leg as Rifle was neck and neck with Glenwood and Moffat County entering the final stretch – the Thompson stretch.The senior sped around the track and crossed the line at 3:28.48 for the victory.”I tried to go ahead of the Glenwood kid (Tucker Riley) and I did, no problem, and then the Moffat County kid started pulling up on me, so I just kicked it in and tried to run it out to the finish,” Thompson said.Rifle picked up a lot of points with its relays, also winning the 4X100, taking second in the 4X200 and third in the 4X800. All qualified for state, and the 4X200 set a new Rifle school record with Thompson, Moss, McIntosh and Nick Alderson hitting 1:30.23.Alderson raced to an individual win in the 200 dash, winning with an uncontested 22.4-second mark. Coming around the second turn Alderson was even with the pack, then emerged like the point of an arrow in the straightaway.”The 200 is one of my favorite events,” Alderson said. “I thought I could qualify for state in the 200 and I thought we could in the relays. We wanted to get a lot of kids to state.”The Rifle girls relays were also speedy, and all four will also be traveling to the state meet at JeffCo Stadium next weekend. Jessica Martinez, Lindsey Bowen, Nicole Bendetti and Natalie Whitmore teamed up to take first in the 4X200 and second in the 4X100 and 800 sprint medley, an event in which they also set a new Rifle record.”We all hoped we could get a school record today,” Whitmore said. “We weren’t thinking the medley, but it worked out.”Then Holly Keeper ran the first leg of the 4X400, followed by Bowen, Bendetti and Whitmore for a second-place finish.”Our goal was to go to state in all four events,” Whitmore said.The Bears achieved their goal and the girls relays also set personal records in all four events.
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The Coal Ridge High boys suffered their first 3A Western Slope League loss of the year Thursday night on the road at Gunnison, falling to the defending league champion Cowboys 65-45.