Erin Hooker goes by Jordyn Colter in the state 3200, putting one last exclamation point on a spectacular high school career. Photo by Jeff McCoy.
Read it through, you just might find a few reminders of some of the greatest moments of the year. And, feel welcome to add your own "best of..." moments to the comments at the bottom of the article.
The best of roller derby on the track - The final 30 meters of the boys 4x400 at the Mullen Invitational:
The best year over year improvement - Ellicott thrower Alex Hill goes from 119-1 in the discus in 2012 to 166-11 in 2013, winning the 3A state title by nearly 20 feet exactly one year after not making the state meet in that event.
The best place in Colorado to watch distance under the lights - The CSU-Pueblo Thunderbowl. If the Pueblo Twilight didn't convince you, DII Nationals should have.
The best new event in Colorado - The Pikes Peak Mile, won this year by Peyton HS grad and Western State alum Scott Dahlberg. I will do everything possible to cover this event in 2014, and I regret having to miss it in 2013.
The best show on polyurethane - Ana Holland wins the 5A 100, 200, and 400, setting state meet records in the 100 and 400, and an all-classification record in the 400 in the process. She already had the all-classification record in the 200 from a meet earlier in the season.
The best event, bar none, for enhancing the popularity of cross country in Colorado - The PAC-12 Championship meet in Louisville on November 2. Need I say more?
The best way to finish a high school career - A massive underdog by any reckoning, Erin Hooker refuses to relinquish her pursuit of Jordyn Colter in the state 3200. Eventually, Colter can hold off Hooker no longer, and Hooker goes on to a huge upset win.
The best state meet strategy - Thompson Valley coach Matt Norton, despite having at least two girls capable of medaling, has his girls stay together and well off of the lead group. On that day and under those race conditions, it works spectacularly. A dark horse, at best, entering the state meet, TV wins 4A girls with all of 14 places and 21 seconds separating their first and fifth runners.
The best sneak preview - Elise Cranny shows up at the end of swim season at the Air Force High School Indoor Open and drops a 4:58.15 to win the mile. The national track and field media, lacking any kind of clue of what that kind of time means at the Cadet Field House, ignores the warning shot. The rest, as they say, is history.
The best track and field photo of the year - I don't think Rick Mann even professes to be much of a passionate photographer, but this photo from the 5A state 4x800 evoked more response than any other photo posted on Colorado Track XC this year:
In this case, worth well more than a thousand words. Clearly, this is one time when you want to be Fairview.
The best of persistence - Frontier Academy coach Brett Shanklin returns to the cross country committee meeting for a second year after being put off on his first go-round. Shanklin comes armed with even better data than the year prior and gains committee approval for a 7/5 scoring system in 3A cross country.
The best of refusing to cave to circumstances - Displaced from their homes, their school building, and their normal routines, Lyons boys cross country goes to the state meet and takes care of business, posting a perfect score to win the 2A state title.
The best of getting wet - Bailey Roth runs to a US all-time #2 mark for the 2000 Steeple at the World Youth Games.
The best job of ignoring negative messages - Despite getting beat twice in the big events of the indoor season, despite missing almost the entirety of the CHSAA-sanctioned outdoor season, and despite taking a costly fall with a big lead in the 100 hurdles at Great Southwest, Dior Hall roars back at the World Youth Games, finishing second in a US all-time #1 (30") mark of 13.01, taking down her own mother's record at the finish line.
Best raceday uniform - Western State runner Vegard Olstad shows up for the Thanksgiving Day Turket Trot in Colorado Springs dressed as Flash, and wins!
The best of sport, any sport - An injured Andy Bowles steps gingerly over every hurdle in the 3A 300 meter hurdles finals. He earned the right to be there, and he made the best of it for his team.