The Wright Competition Found At The Phil Wertman Invite

Montezuma-Cortez's Avery Wright, left, and Fruita Monument's, Elaina Arcand, get to the finish line in the 400 under 60 seconds at Thursday's Phil Wertman Invitational in Grand Junction. 

If Montezuma-Cortez's Avery Wright traveled here to find competition at the Phil Wertman Invitational, mission accomplished. The defending 100 & 200 champ in Class 3A was the only entry from her team on Thursday. In both of her races she finished neck & neck with other top Western Slope competitors.

Fruita-Monument's Elaina Arcand held off Wright down the homestretch in the 400 for season-best results. Arcand had never broken through the 60-second barrier and found herself with a 58.84, which moved her into the top six in Class 5A. Wright's second-place finish brought her a 59.20 and top-six time in Class 3A. 

Later in the day, Wright and Arcand would face off again in the 200 but this time another runner leaned past them. Moffat County's Halle Hamilton closed past the top 400 finishers with the win in 26.84. Wright was second in 26.89 and Arcand third in 27.00. 

Competitors at the meet had to battle strong homestretch winds up to 3.5 meters/second most of the event, so not all of the times were something to write home about in the sprints and triple jump. 

One of the top boys' races in a non-wind measured event was the 300 hurdles. Moffat County teammates Logan Hafey and Evan Atkin challenged each other over the hurdles, finishing in 40.64 and 41.08 respectively. Hafey's time was slightly slower than his season best, but Atkin's debut in the event puts him at No. 3 in 3A. Montrose's Isaac Renfrow stayed in the jet stream for a big two-second season-best improvement of 41.55 for a top-5 Class 4A time. 

Glenwood's Taber Uyehara was in the mix in the 300s but he suffered three tuck-and-rolls over hurdles in the race. The consolation prize was that Uyehara had already won the 110 hurdles (16.13) in front of Renfrow (16.29) and Hafey (16.43).

Another consolation for non-winners in the 300 hurdles was a win in the long jump for Atkin 20-11.75, who is undefeated in that event this season. 

The 300 hurdles came right after another dynamite race between three competitors, including two teammates. In the 800, Fruita's McGinley Zastrow (a.k.a the red-bearded flyer) and Kien Cogley mixed it up with cross-town competitor Daniel Duffy. Zastrow outlasted the trio down the homestretch with his first foray into sub-2-minute land with a 1:58.46. Duffy also got his sub-2 passport stamped with a 1:59.36 and Cogley just missed in a personal best of 2:00.54. As it stands, all three racers would toe the line at state in Class 5A with those times. 

In the ladies' distance races Glenwood's Sophia Connerton-Nevin took home the tough double with personal bests in both the 800 (2:23.33) and 1,600 (5:15.95), which puts her on the verge of a trip to Denver at the end of June. 

Fruita's Jadyn Heil's attempt at a double-gold day was thwarted by Connerton-Nevin in the 1,600 (5:17.95), but she cruised to the win in the 3,200 with a personal best and 5A top-9 time of 11:18.27. 

Other notables were in boys field events with Fruita's Connor Bonan-Hamad and Palisade's Donovan Kemp busting through headwinds into the 41-foot triple jump results. Bonan-Hamad won by a toenail, 41-3.25 to 41-3. In high jump Grand Junction's Miller Jones, Glenwood's Reid Swanson and Moffat County's Evan Beaver all cleared 5-10 with Jones taking the win on misses. 

Fruita-Monument swept the team competition, claiming the boy's title with 177.50 points, while the girl's tallied 168. Moffat County was second on both sides, with the boys tallying 114.5, and the girls tallying 110. Likewise, Montrose was third among the boys and girls.