MANCOS – Heading into the final three weeks of the 2021 track campaign, the San Juan Basin League meet kicked off a stretch that would not only provide bragging rights for the local track programs, but also give teams across the region an opportunity to fine tune their skills for the State Championship meet coming up in late June.
Dove Creek and Dolores took on those challenges in a meet full of high-level performances at the SJBL championship meet, with the Dove Creek boys and girls piling up points in the sprints with third- and fourth-place finishes, respectively. The Dolores boys team used balanced scoring across a variety of disciplines to take fourth place as a team, while the Dolores girls leaned on points in the throwing events to bring home a seventh-place team performance.
Dove Creek junior Chorbin Cressler stole the show in the sprints, dominating the field in the 200 meters (24.14 seconds) to finish in front of teammate Gage Buffington in a one-two finish for the Bulldogs. Cressler’s effort came on the heels of a second-place finish in the 100 meters (12.08), an event where Buffington scored again – this time a fifth-place finish (12.59).
The tandem paired up again in the sprint relays, where Dove Creek blitzed the field in the 4x100 meter relay, winning in a time of 47.82. They would also take home the silver medal in the 4x200 meter relay (1:39.74).
Sophomore Kade Hankins added to the top performances for the Bulldogs, utilizing his explosive speed to burst down the long jump runway, before launching himself 19 feet, ½ inch for a title in the long jump. He would also propel himself down the track in the 300 hurdles, as he took fourth place (46.53).
For the girls, sophomore Trista Barnett emerged as the sprint standout for the meet, as she took home gold in the 400 (1:05.99) to go along with top three finishes in the 100 (third, at 14.12) and 200 (third, 29.63).
Senior Kobie Beanland also piled up the points for the Bulldogs, as she won the 100 hurdles (18.81), to complement her third-place finishes in both the long jump (14-11) and 800 meters (2:49.54). Beanland capped her efforts with a fourth-place finish in the 100 meters.
Junior Jessica Ayers rounded out the scoring for the Lady Bulldogs, as she took second in the shot put (26-10.5) and fourth in the discus (77-3).
For the Dolores boys, Camden Malloy headlined the day, as the senior took second in the 110 hurdles (18.58), third in the discus (110-3), and fifth in the shot put (36-0.5). He was joined with top-three performances by sophomore Daniel Stepp, who ran 26.18 in the 200 meters to take the bronze, to join Dylan Rantz’s third-place run in the 300 hurdles (45.31).
Michael Brafford finished fifth in the 800, while Gabe Alred scored in the 1,600 (7th), shot put (sixth) and discus (seventh).
The Bears also posted the third-best 4x400 meter relay to cap the meet, as they amassed 50 points as a team.
Senior Sam Castillo led the Lady Bears in the SJBL meet, as she won the shot put (29-1.5) and took second in the discus (88-10). Classmate Samantha Minor took sixth in the shot put (21-11.5), while junior Nayana Wilderson scored in both the 200 meters (seventh) and 100 meters (eighth).
As the championship portion of the schedule continues for both Dove Creek and Dolores, the 1A and 2A Track and Field State Championships await, to be competed June 24-26 at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood. In the 2A, the top 18 individual and relay performers in each event will qualify for the meet, while the 1A allots the top nine individual qualifiers in the sprints, top 12 in the distance events, and top 10 in the field events, based on performances from meets during the season.