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Evergreen wraps up state track meet with a victory in boys 4x400-meter relay

By Dan Johnson

LAKEWOOD — Personal bests and school records were shattered by Evergreen High School track and field competitors over the weekend.

But, the Cougars saved their best performance for last at the 2009 state track and field championships at Jeffco Stadium.

The boys’ 4x400-meter relay team of Bryson Newhall, Jeff Troyano, Andrew Gysin and Nat Prouty set a new school record, and more importantly, won a state title with a time of 3 minutes, 20.13 seconds.

The squad took more than three seconds off its preliminary time and won by more than two seconds over Glenwood Springs, which finished in 3:22.17.

“Every single kid contributed. They all had about the same split, so it was a total team effort,” coach Rob Wright said. “It was one of those perfect races that only comes along once in a blue and gold moon.”

Wright said the relay victory was “extra special” because three coaches (Wright, Scott Haebe and Greg Cooper) all worked hard on coordinating middle distance runners’ workouts with sprinters’ workouts.

“We wanted to try and make sure our 4x400 and 4x800 relays improved,” Wright said. “It was pretty successful, seeing the success in both of those relays come together in the end.”

The boys’ 4x800 relay team finished 11th, while the girls’ 4x800 squad placed 10th. Both relays ran their fastest times of the season, according to Wright.

Ryan Haebe put the finishing touches on a successful prep career, taking sixth in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs.

In the 1,600, Haebe found himself in the back of the line soon after the race started, but he gradually pushed forward and thanks to a strong kick at the finish, crossed the line in sixth with a time of 4:21.87. That time broke the school record, set by Jeremy Freed in 2005.

“This was a great way to end things,” Haebe said. “I had a great time at Evergreen, but I am definitely looking forward to the challenges of competing at the next level.”

In the 3,200, Haebe found his stride early and ran a consistent race, staying just outside of the lead pack the entire two miles, finishing with a time of 9:38.74, which was a new personal best by nearly six full seconds.

Ryan’s younger sister, Bryn, also ran the 3,200 and finished in a time of 12:11.64, which placed her 15th.

“I’m a little disappointed with how the season went,” said Bryn, who did set a new personal best during her leg of the 4x800 relay. “But our team did some really amazing things this year.”

Tayler Warren looked strong in the 800, gaining two spots in the final lap to finish eighth with a time of 2:19.94. Breaking the 2:20 mark was something Warren was aiming for entering the race.

“I’m really happy with how the race went,” said Warren, who also competed in the high jump. “I felt really strong coming in and I’m glad I was able to finish with a time I’m happy with.”

Jordan Florschuetz finished 10th in the high jump, clearing five feet. Sean Eckert placed 10th in the long jump with a distance of 19 feet, 11 1/4 inches.

The boys’ 4x200 relay finished eighth with their fastest time of the year and freshman Maura O’Brien ran a 5:35.44 in the 1,600.

O’Brien who won the 1,600 at the Jeffco League meet, finished 16th at state.