LAKEWOOD – Heading into the 4×400 relay, everything had to go right for Merino. And when Veronica Baray crossed the finish line to give the Rams the gold medal, a team championship effort had fallen nicely into place.

The Rams’ first-place finish coupled with Idalia taking 10th was exactly what was needed for Merino to leapfrog their way to a 1A girls team title.

As far as races coming down to the wire, it can’t get much closer from a team result perspective than that. This is the first girls track and field team championship for the Rams since 2012. That was the second of back-to-back titles, the only two championships to their name until this season.

Baray helped the cause with a fourth place finish in the 400 and she also finished eighth in the 100.

The Rams also took second in the 4×800 relay.

Kya Piel captured the state titles in the 3200 and 1600 runs to highlight a banner weekend for the Rams.


Cheraw captures first title in school history

(Dan Mohrmann/

Finishing as the Class 1A track and field runner-up a year ago was nice, but Cheraw was ready to win big this year. That effort came to fruition as the Wolverines captured the 1A team title, the very first in program history. They finished the state meet with 85 points, 16 ahead of second-place Dove Creek.

Braeden Harris had himself a bit of a weekend as he grabbed four second-place finishes, getting them in the 110-meter hurdles, 300 hurdles, 100 dash and 200 dash.

Josh Snyder helped the team cause, grabbing wins in both the 1,600 and 3,200 runs which helped the Wolverines create distance between them and the Bulldogs.

“Cheraw has never had a huge track program and a few years ago we actually almost had our program cut,” Snyder said. “It feels good to get some guys out and compete and win a title this year.”

The team wasn’t as strong in the field events, but at no point during the meet did they need to be. The combination of top-two finishes from Harris and wins from Snyder established a good team pace, one that ended with an historic state championship win.

It’s been a dramatic climb for the program as it finished 12th in 2021, which was the year with a shortened season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Wolverines followed up that effort with a second-place finish last year which only made them hungrier for the state title in 2023.

They entered Jeffco Stadium on a mission and with the performances they gave through the course of the three-day event, that mission was accomplished in spades. And there is hope that the title win could help grow the program.