The Hotchkiss boys scored 88 points to place second in the 2A Western Slope League.
Senior Darren Young was the sole gold-medalist for Hotchkiss. "It's always nice to come in first," said Young, who won the league title in the shot put on a throw of 47 feet, 2 inches, out-throwing his nearest competitor by almost four feet.
Young, a senior, has been ranked first in the state in the shot put since throwing 48-2 on April 3. Hitting that high mark early in the season has allowed him to use meets to focus on technique, rather than on winning. The league win marked his fifth consecutive win of the season.
That first winning throw was a big confidence booster, said Young. "It showed me what I can do and what I need to do to improve on myself."
Young started throwing in seventh grade, "and it just kind of stuck." His sophomore year he hit 43-3 and placed 12th in the state. He worked hard his junior year and finished third in the state with a throw of 47-7.75.
Young said that of the two basic shot put techniques, he's a glider. "I tried spinning, but it just wasn't for me," he said. "I just kind of like gliding better." Being tall -- he stands 6 feet, 4 inches -- he said he can stretch out to get more distance.
Young said he'll use this Friday's final state qualifying meet at Cedaredge to continue working on technique. There's one thrower out there that he sees pushing him at state. "I'm just going to do what I've got to do to be at my best," he said.
Young finished third in the league in discus with a personal best mark of 131-4.
On the track, senior Sam Rodriguez had a great meet. In 400-meter dash preliminaries he ran a personal- and meet-best time of 52.79 seconds; in finals he won silver with a time of 52.87 seconds.
Rodriquez also anchored the 1600m relay team with Robert Cochran, Jace Peebles and Jesus Macias to a silver medal time of 4 minutes, 17.08 seconds. Hotchkiss was in third place on the final handoff from Macias to Rodriguez. He passed Vail Christian down the stretch, crossing the finish line 58-100ths of a second behind Ty Grant of Cedaredge.
Earlier in the day, in the third 400m dash of his four-year career, Rodriguez placed third with a state-qualifying time of 52.79 seconds.
The 3200m relay team of Rodriguez, Zoutte, Cochran and Macias also won silver with a state-qualifying time of 8:38.98.
In hurdles, sophomore Jace Peebles won silver in the 110-meter event with a personal best time of 16.33 and Elijah Patrick finished fifth in 18.60. In the 300m hurdles, senior Colton Peebles, a three-time state qualifier, set a new personal record, placing second with a time of 41.61.
Senior Nolan Egging placed fourth in discus with a state-qualifying throw of 131-2. In shot put, Kevin Chavez placed fourth with a throw of 42-2.5.
The 400m relay team of George Arroyo, Cochran, Jace Peebles and Colton Peebles placed fifth (46.37) and the 800m team of Peebles, Peebles, Cochran and Rodriguez placed fifth (1:36.03).
Patrick placed in three individual events, finishing fourth in the triple jump with a mark of 37-9.25, and clearing 5-11.75 to place fifth in high jump. Zoutte placed eighth in the 1600m run (5:13.22).
The Bulldogs scored 42 points to place eighth in the 2A/1A WSL. The 1600-meter (4X400) team of Yasmine Gaub, Jordan Tamayo, Elsie Vasquez and Kaiya Firor won with a time of 4:17.08. Hotchkiss was in second place heading into the final lap, with Firor outpacing Paonia down the stretch for the win.
The 3200 relay team of Morgan Miller, Yasmine Gaub, Jordan Tamayo and Nadia Hill placed second in 10:46.41. Tamayo anchored the race and was in the lead heading to the finish line, explained head coach Kelly Cowan. She was lapping another runner. Everyone was yelling and she didn't hear a Cedaredge runner coming up on her. At the finish line Cedaredge had a 16-100ths of a second edge for the win.
The good news, said Cowan, was that the team dropped 45 seconds off their season-best time. With less than two weeks remaining before state competition opens, the team is ranked ninth in state.
Also running a season-best race, the 400m relay team of Gaub, Firor, Elsie Vasquez and Adair Ela won silver in 53.04. The 800m relay team of Gaub, Vasquez, Tamayo and Firor placed third with a time of 1:52.80.
Kaiya Firor won the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.6 seconds. Her preliminary time of 12.44 seconds is the second fastest time in the state for Class 2A runners.