Bailey Roth eventually crushed all of the resistance in the 4A boys 3200. Photo by Alan Versaw.
Perhaps more than any other classification, the 4A races are coming to the final day very much in doubt.
On the boys side of the ledger, Vista Ridge goes into Saturday's finals in a near dead heat with Coronado and Cheyenne Mountain. Lurking dangerously about 20 points behind is Valor Christian. Being thin in field and distance events, Valor hasn't had many opportunities yet to post points, but those opportunities are coming on Saturday. Look for Valor to be making up ground quickly on the lead pack of three.
But, don't look for any of the pack of three to go away easily.
Coronado is the most limited of the current leaders. Bailey Roth may win the 1600, but additional points will be more difficult to come by. Coronado pounded the track for 19 points in today's 3200 (which Roth won), and got another six from Triydel Vaughn in the high jump. But, the potential does not look as high for Saturday.
Cheyenne Mountain, another distance-heavy program, is similarly limited for Saturday. Daniel Belk is positioned well in the 400 and a couple of relays figure to score, but point accumulation beyond that gets kind of shadowy.
Vista Ridge is in the most favorable position of the current leaders. After taking Valor to the limit before bowing in the 4x200 today, Valor added 11 points in the high jump via DJ Green and Tyler Jackson. Noah Gabel added 10 points with a monster 23-10 leap to take the long jump title. For Saturday's finals, VR should be seeing points in the 4x100, 4x400, 110 and 300 hurdles, 100, 200, and 400. That's enough to withstand a lot of surge from Valor.
But Valor also promises a lot of surge. The Eagles look strong in the 4x100, 4x400, 100, 200, and 400. By the end of the day, things should be very close.
For the girls, Rebecca Harris kept hopes alive for Sand Creek with a win in the long jump. Pueblo South continued to amass points with a third in the 4x200, a fourth and a fifth in the long jump from Jayma Martin and Mariah Yarbrough, and an eighth from Jessica Kleven in the 3200. South's point potential for Saturday, however, is very limited. The Colts have likely done most of their scoring. Thompson Valley will wait to see what Saturday brings in terms of points, but the Eagles have leaked points in a number of places over the last two days and may be struggling. They need big points to get back into the hunt, but places to find big points are growing scarcer.
Niwot looks well positioned with both relays and Elise Cranny coming up for races on Saturday. The trouble here is that Elise Cranny can't score more than 10 points, no matter how good her performance is.
Next to Niwot, Sand Creek's position appears most favorable at the moment. Sand Creek needs things to go well, but they are still very much among the teams with a fighting chance.
If the team race doesn't intrigue you, then a rematch between Elise Cranny and Katie Rainsberger (photo, above) in the 1600 should. Cranny won today's 800 with legs heavy from winning the 3200 a couple of hours earlier, but Rainsberger is the kind of threat who can keep even Cranny honest. Both times were sensational, with Cranny getting the nod, 2:08.50 to 2:08.98.