LAKEWOOD — When the Peak to Peak 3,200-meter relay team set out to break the Class 3A state meet record, they didn't plan to run a time that would just squeak under the standing mark.
They set out to smash the record to pieces.
At the state track and field championships on Saturday, the Pumas group of Tiana Bradfield, Anna Shults, Rachael Metzler and Quinn McConnell ran a blistering time of 9 minutes, 12.44 seconds to win the 3,200 relay title and cement their place in the state meet record books. Their time was over 12 seconds faster than the previous mark of 9:24.95 set by Classical Academy's team in 2012.
"We're really excited," McConnell said. "We had some pretty big goals coming into this and we definitely wanted to win the four-by-eight and get the state meet record, so it feels great to get it done. Looking forward to next year, we have our eyes set on the sub-nine and this gives us a lot of confidence for that.
"Our season goal was to run sub-9:17, which was the 3A all-time. When we ran 9:15 three weeks ago, we knew we had it so to run 9:12 today just improved on that so we're super excited."
Their recent success has prompted the Pumas to now turn their attention to loftier goals. The Colorado prep record is 9:00.07 set by Thompson Valley's team in 2009 and the national record is 8:48.29. Seeing as how only Metzler is a senior and the other three are sophomores, they have good reason to believe they can approach at least one of those marks in the coming years.
On the first day of this year's state meet, Shults claimed an individual title in her first event of the meet. She won the 3A 3,200-meter run with a time of 11:15.62.
"We're super excited about our team and super proud of everybody," McConnell said. "Everybody, both our girls and our boys, did really well today and we're excited to come back and do it against tomorrow."
The Pumas were wearing pins on Saturday in memory of Brandon Ries, a teammate who died while running at a cross country meet last season.
On Sunday, McConnell is seeded first in the 800 and the 1,600. Shults is seeded third in the 1,600. Robin Peterson is seeded third in the pole vault.