By KEVIN THOMPSON
HUGOTON - Can a track meet catch a break?
At 5 p.m., the sign in front of Hugoton High School showed 92 degrees while the blowing dirt coming from the west showed how windy it was.
Whatever the case, Meade won the boys' division 119.5-117.16 over Ulysses.
And Lakin picked up a surprising win in the girls division with 85 points over Ulysses' 76.
In the final race of the evening, the 4x400 relay, Ulysses finished second behind Moscow and just ahead of Meade. Had Lakin won, and Meade still finished third, the championship title would have gone to the Tigers.
That's how tightly contested a number of events were.
While the times and distances were affected somewhat, the competition remained close.
One example was the boys pole vault, an event that saw Kyle Dupree of Syracuse hold off Sublette's Angel Martinez when Dupree vaulted 13 feet despite strong cross winds.
Maybe credit a new pole for the win, Dupree said.
"It bends better and threw me a little higher," the sophomore said. "I like it."
In the boys 3200-meter relay, Moscow's foursome held off a late charge from Hugoton to win in 8:42.22, just .62 seconds over the Eagles.
The Pirates built a 40-meter lead after four laps before Hugoton's Heber Jiminez closed the gap. The distance specialist used his 800-meter kick to close the gap by half.
On the final leg, Hugoton's Patrick Weaver caught Moscow's Raymundo Garcia on the final turn, riding his right shoulder on the final turn. But Garcia was not to be denied and his final kick held off the Eagles' challenge.
"We knew it would be a tough race," Moscow coach Aaron Roop said. "But they've been running strong in practice. They've been talking about this race all week; it's kind of a Stevens County rivalry, I think."
Garcia, who has been bothered by a strained muscle, said he wanted to hold the lead his team had got him.
"I knew he was on my shoulder (at the final turn)," he said. "It just made me go faster."
Moscow also won the final event of the night, posting a 3:31.07 in the 4x400 relay to beat Ulysses by over four seconds.
Jimenez came back in the 1600-meters to capture that race handily, running with a pack of 15 or so for the first two laps. After the first turn on the third lap, he and Ulysses' Israel Mendoza broke from the pack. Mendoza actually led on the final lap through the back stretch, but at the end, it was Jimenez's kick that put the race away, beating Mendoza by two seconds with a time of 5:02.41
"With today's wind and running the relay earlier, it was pretty tough," Hugoton coach Nick Rodriguez said. "But we're thinking of running that way at regionals. We were hoping the weather would be a little better."
Rodriguez said Jimenez had been under the weather all week.
"He just held back for two laps," Rodriguez said. "You could tell the pace was slow with a large pack. We said, 'Hey, if you feel good, go for it on that final lap' and he picked it up a bit."
Jimenez also won the 3200-meter run in 10:19.88, eight seconds ahead of Mendoza.
James Burkett won the high jump, going 6-0. Jonathan Carrasco of Stanton County won the triple jump in 42-02.5. And Lakin's Colby Hamel won the shot put in 50-9.5 to remain undefeated for the season in that event.
Ulysses picked up points from Josh Jarnagin in the 110 hurdles (16.63 seconds) and the 300 hurdles (41.53).
Osvaldo Granillo of Moscow won the 100-meter dash in 11.74, while Tate Annis of Ulysses took the 200 in 23.26 seconds.
On the girls' side, Lakin won with "go to" wins by Allie Jones in both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, by .6 seconds in the first and over three seconds in the other.
"Allie's getting stronger and stronger," Lakin coach Mark Calderwood said. "She's really worked on her form and she's been focused."
The Lady Broncs took 18 points from the 1600-meter run. Alex Martinez won by nearly eight seconds over Aubrey Hamlin of Hugoton, while teammate Jaden Bolmer finished third. Bolmer finished second behind Hamlin in the 3200-meters.
Kaylea Britton was a double winner again for Ulysses. She captured both the javelin and the shot put titles. Teammate KaLea Barlow won the 800 meters.
Stanton County got field event wins from Kristina Gerard in the high jump and Rachelle Folger in the pole vault.
Sublette had wins in the long jump by Riley Matteson by 2.5 inches over Maggie Olson of Lakin, while Gentry Hibbard took the 400. The Lady Larks also took gold in the 4x400 relay.
Stephanie Caro of Satanta won the 200-meter dash.
For Calderwood, it felt good to get a team win in such a big meet.
"It was kind of fun," he said. "I knew every school had some kids gone for state music, but I thought our kids performed extremely well. We finished in the top two or three in a number of events, which is what you have to do to win a meet. The girls came out and competed really hard."
Calderwood said Jones' wins were strong and expected, but the distance runners were pleasant surprises.
"Both those girls (Martinez and Bolmer) have been running really hard all year," he said.
Many of the same teams will be competing in Lakin on Friday at the Kearny ounty Relays.