Welcome to the stream of consciousness that is your this-week-in-track-and-field report!
Evidently, next week is a bigger week for spring break around the state than this week is.
I came to that conclusion by counting rankings meets for both weeks. There are 17 rankings meets on the calendar for this week and only 12 for next.
Either way, there will be a lot of teams functioning at partial strength this week and next. But, we'll make it through nevertheless.
A lot of this week's action comes straight at us tomorrow. We get the vernal equinox out of the way today and then, whammo, three rankings meets appear on the schedule the first full day of spring.
There's the City of Ft. Collins vs. the City of Littleton meet. Berthoud is hosting what they have dubbed the Spartan Spike Meet (the alliterative effect here might have been enhanced had they called this one the Spartan Spike Special, but I digress). And, the Jeffco Schools folks went all-out in the naming category with their Jeffco Qualifier #1.
It will be fun to have real qualifying performances to talk about on Wednesday.
Better still, with two more rankings meets coming up on Wednesday (the Boulder Quad--which sounds a little like a calcification of an upper leg muscle--and the Five Star Championships), I'll have qualifying performances to talk about on Thursday as well. It beats the living daylights out of trying to think of new article content to write about.
Writer's block is very real around here.
On Thurdsay, Jeffco Stadium is back at it with the Jeffco Qualifier #2. They may have to hustle with that meet to get it in ahead of some wet weather scheduled to arrive sometime later in the day on Thursday. I can almost remember what wet weather in the springtime is like...
Not far from Jeffco Stadium on Thursday, and therefore also racing the predicted meteorological elements, are the Brighton Mercury and the South Rebel Invitationals.
Have you ever wondered if--anywhere across this great nation--there's an East, West, or North high school with the Rebel mascot? Me, too. I don't know the answer to that question. I would, however, be interested to learn how Weld Central ended up with the Rebel mascot. In the great scheme of things, "Rebel" doesn't strike me as the description of a very centrist position.
Mascots aside, if you haven't already noticed, Denver South is running a pretty good boys team this spring. They might be inclined to put on a show for their home meet, so results should be very much worth paying attention to out of this one.
The St. Vrain Valley schools are doing their version of a district championship meet on Thursday as well. On the northeast outskirts of Longmont, they're located a bit farther from Jeffco Stadium than either Brighton or Denver South, but not far enough to be clear of the possibility of weather altering the course of their meet.
After Thursday, with four rankings meets on tap, Friday represents something of a breather. It's highly unusual for Thursday to be a bigger meet day than Friday, but I'm guessing that spring break coming up on the weekend for many schools might have something to do with that. It's sort of like teams trying to squeeze in a Thursday meet the week of prom...
Spring is full of things that make scheduling exciting!
Friday's lone rankings meet is the Broomfield Shootout (will they be using the new electronic starting pistols?). The Shootout, though, is big enough to handle a day on the calendar all to itself. Here's a glance at the list of teams for the meet (take a seat before clicking on that link, please).
But, if Arizona in March has been calling your name, you might be headed for a little bit of high-intensity track and field at the annual Chandler Rotary extravaganza. The Chandler Rotary runs Friday afternoon and evening, then more or less all day on Saturday. Think of it as the last weekend of spring that anyone from Colorado would really care to run distance in Arizona.
A large selection of Colorado athletes is headed to the Chandler Rotary, but I'm not this year. Nevertheless, we'll keep a close eye on results and keep you in the know.
Seven rankings meets launch on Saturday.
The track most likely to have a layer of ice from Friday's weather event is in Elbert. The track least likely to have that layer of ice to scrape off is in Lamar. Taking moderating positions between the two extremes are tracks in Colorado Springs, Yuma, Pueblo, Hotchkiss, and Fort Collins.
Elbert's meet is the first large, more or less exclusively small-school meet of the season. The 1A and 2A folks always learn something worth knowing coming out of this meet. For a few, that little bit of information worth knowing is that the concession stand is directly under the press box.
Lamar also tends to be a small school meet, but this meet is very much the big time where the throwing events are concerned. In fact, the Lamar Savage Invitational might be one of the highest-tier throws meets you can find anywhere in the state during the outdoor season. Please wear a helmet if you're outside the stadium at this one.
Pueblo West is hosting again at CSU-Pueblo. It probably won't be quite as many teams as the CSU-Pueblo Early Bird but it still could be big enough still to wake up the tarantulas from their off-season slumber.
Garry Berry has already hosted a meet this spring, but it's difficult not the think of the Palmer Terror Invitational as the first big track and field event at Garry Berry Stadium each spring.
Yuma treats the schools of northeastern Colorado to a short commute at their first home meet of the season. "Short" is a relative term in this part of the world.
Fort Collins hosts at venerable French Field (home of "the fence"). In addition to a nice cross-section of Colorado teams, this one typically pulls very well out of Wyoming as well. I'm guessing the Wyoming folks have never seen a fence like this one and come down to take and post selfies in front of (or behind) the fence.
And, also on Saturday, Hotchkiss takes their turn hosting the Western Slope crowd. It's mostly 3A-and-under schools making their way to the Shadows of the Dobies, but it does figure to be a very well-attended meet. I don't have much doubt but that Kelly Cowan (coach) and Scott Siettmann (timer) run a tight ship between the two of them.
Perhaps the Paonia girls have had enough time to savor their state basketball championship by now that we'll see the whole team for the first time at this one.
Coverage? Yes, Colorado Track XC still does meet coverage!
Ben Hershelman casts a long shadow over the Broomfield Shootout on Friday. I'll be at the Palmer Terror on Saturday (plus the Palmer FR/SO on Friday). I'm hopeful that we can pry Tim Hilt loose to give the Runners Roost of Fort Collins its due on Saturday, but that one is not yet confirmed.