The four runners on a relay team can all be the fastest on the track, but a single bad handoff can mean the difference between silver and gold.
The Delta boys 4x100m relay team put speed and good handoffs together to win the 3A Western Slope League title Saturday at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction. "Handoffs were the most important thing, I think," said Tanner Webster.
Webster, a junior, and seniors David Mora, AB Ontiveros and Reyes Meraz won the relay with a season-best time of 44.5 seconds.
The time "was almost a full second off of our prior time," said Meraz. Heading into the meet the team was ranked second in district competition, a mere six-one hundredths of a second behind Coal Ridge. That one-second improvement bumped the team up from a 15th-place ranking to a safe ninth place in state top-18 rankings.
While they moved down a class, from 4A to 3A, the relay runners agree that this year's sprint relay competition is tougher than in past years. They like that teams like Coal Ridge, a perennial powerhouse in sprint races, are there to push them. "It's nice to have somebody else to run against that's almost the same speed as us," said Meraz.
In the other sprint relays, Delta also edged out Aspen to win the 4x200 in a season best time of 1:32.56, and finished more than two seconds ahead of second-place Gunnison to win the 4x400 relay in a season-best 3:34.02.
Their handoffs still need work, said Mora. They have one more qualifying meet, this Saturday's Cedaredge Bruin Invitational, to work on them before the Colorado High School Activities Association State Track and Field Meet opens Thursday, May 18, in Lakewood.