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Montezuma-Cortez’s Cruzan sprints into elite company with big wins

Montezuma-Cortez's Zander Cruzan, shown in an archived photo, on Friday broke 11 seconds in the 100 for the first time this season and lowered his personal best in the 200 meters in the Phil Wertman Invitational at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction. (Joel Priest/Special to The Journal)
Panthers senior posts personal and state best times in 200 meters

As if there were any doubters that remained, M-CHS senior Zander Cruzan proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that he is the fastest sprinter west of the Continental Divide in Colorado. By late May, he might prove to be the fastest in the state.

In front of a field of the Western Slope’s top dashers on Friday, Cruzan put on a display, breaking 11 seconds in the 100 for the first time this season and lowering his own personal best in the 200 meters by a tenth of a second to easily outdistance the field in the Phil Wertman Invitational at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction.

Cruzan matched his personal best in the 100 (10.78 seconds) to win by nearly three-tenths of a second, but saved his top performance for a couple of hours later.

In the 200, perhaps Cruzan’s strongest sprint distance, the senior, who will run this fall at University of Northern Colorado, fired out of the blocks and scorched the field, winning by nearly a full second in a new personal best time of 21.66.

As a point of reference, Cruzan’s 200-meter time is now the fastest time run by a 3A athlete this season, is the first sub-22 second effort in the classification, and as the season reaches its midpoint, it serves as the third-fastest 200-meter time for any athlete in all classifications in the state.

His 100-dash time also has him in the state’s top 10 in all classifications as he eyes lofty goals for the busy month ahead.

Contributing to the relay teams, M-CHS owns some of the state’s top 18 times in the 4x100 and 4x200, which would qualify the boys groups for the state championships if the meet were held this weekend. The Panthers posted a second-place finish in the 4x200 (1:34.00) and a third-place mark in the 4x100 (45.08) in the invitational.

In the girls competition, freshman Marlee Mack has emerged as one of the top hurdlers in the state’s 3A classification. Mack added another trio of top-five finishes, taking fourth in the 100 hurdles (17.54), fourth in the 300 hurdles (53.51) and fifth in the long jump (15 feet, 3¼ inches). The Panther relays added sixth place finishes in the 4x100 (58.18) and 4x200 (2:04.68).

The Panthers track and field teams look forward to competing closer to home this weekend, as they will travel to Durango for the Ron Keller Invitational on Saturday, April 22 – their final tune up before the Intermountain League Championships on April 28, a meet M-CHS will host at Panther Stadium.