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Chargers’ Smyrnios finding his footing again in the 800

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Dakota Ridge boys take first in the 4x800 relay at Pomona Invite

By Michael Hicks

LAKEWOOD — Panos Smyrnios came off the track with a frustrated look. The Chatfield 800-meter runner had hoped that his race April 13 at the Pomona Invitational at Jeffco Stadium would’ve gone better than it did. And this was after he finished second.
In his first 800-meter run since missing 12 days due to inflammation in his right knee and just his second run overall, Smyrnios picked off most of the field to finish in 1 minute, 59.87 seconds. He finished more than three seconds back of Arapahoe’s Jonathan Johannsen.
“I definitely went through the first 400 a little slower than I wanted to,” Smyrnios said. “I should’ve pulled myself to the front of the pack and gone through there. That was definitely a strategic fault of mine.”
Smyrnios’ finish was one of a handful for Chatfield, which placed seventh in the boys field with 43 points. Dakota Ridge tied for 16th with 13 points, led by a first-place finish from its 4x800 relay team of Austin Ard, Bradley Carney, Blake Cutter and Ryan Cutter in 8:18.50. Chatfield came in second in the event.
On the girls side, Chatfield placed 10th with 25.5 points. Dakota Ridge was 17th with 17 points.
Chatfield’s Cody Candler placed second in the boys 300 hurdles in 40.91 seconds. Teammate Garrett Lane was third in the 110 high hurdles in 15.51 seconds, while the Chargers’ 4x400 relay team also placed third.
Top finishers on the girls side were Chatfield’s Brigitta Games, who took third in the shot put at 36 feet, 5½ inches and fourth in the discus at 113-10. Amanda Clements was fourth in the long jump at 16-9½.
Dakota Ridge’s sprint medley relay team of Genevieve Cruz, Mellanie Barnier, Sarah Jones and Vanessa Gonzalez took fourth in 1:53.98, while its 4x800 relay squad of Gonzalez, Cayli Hume, MeriClaire Montgomery and McKenna Spillar was fifth in 10:01.84.
Chatfield runner Kelsi Lawrence certainly didn’t have any problems with staying near the front. She ran third for most of the race in the girls 3,200 meters before picking off Evergreen’s Jane Jensen on the final lap to finish in 13 minutes, 10.97 seconds.
“I was planning on pacing myself up with her. I could see the gap between us slowly fading. That’s when I kicked it in,” Lawrence said.
Her finish, however, was only good for 23rd overall as the first heat on April 12 of the two-day competition had many of the state’s top runners. Even so, Lawrence picked her spot in her heat.

Contact Michael Hicks at sports@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.