With two triumphs in two indoor season outings, things are returning to normal in Connor Winter's world. Photo by Alan Versaw.
If you prefer track to Jets-Patriots grudge matches, the Clune Field House at the Air Force Academy was the place to be today.
It's only the middle of January, but some surprisingly solid performances were turned in. It helps that the track at the Clune Field House is a six-laps-to-the-mile affair rather than the standard 200 meter indoor track. That makes things a little easier on the turns of the sprint events. Of course, being at 7000 feet elevation adds a little extra stress to the distance events. Somehow, you can't have it all.
We'll start with the field events where Arizona and California sent a few aces to the meet to mess with the deck of entries from Colorado.
Hannah Carson doubled in the most improbable of event combinations, the shot put (44-5) and high jump (5-4). I ask you only this: How many 5-4 high school high jumpers do you know who can heave the shot 44-5? If you're like me, the answer to that one was zero until today.
Jasmine Todd, another Arizona entry, won the long jump at 19-0.5. When you stop to consider that both Carson and Todd come from Chandler High School, you begin to understand Chandler's success at last summer's Nike Track Nationals.
More local event winners included Chandler Marshall (girls pole vault), David Krumland (boys pole vault), Danielle Williams (girls triple jump), Trey Richardson (boys triple jump), Gunnar Haynes (boys high jump), Ryan Schuler (boys long jump), and Jake Schneeberger (boys shot put).
The girls sprints witnessed something old and something new. The something new is something Matt Norton alluded to in a recent forum post. That something would be the presence of Mary Beth Sant. Sant, now a sophomore who is said to be running for Valor Christian this spring, won the 60 meters in 7.50. Even more noteworthy is the margin by which she won the event, 0.23 seconds. Ginasia Hamilton's wins in the 200 (25.35) and 400 (57.49) fall under the "old" category--we're getting rather accustomed to seeing Hamilton out in front of the pack in a sprint final.
Beth Luckel won easily at 800 meters. Sydney Scott held off a late charge by Rikki Gonzales in the mile and then went on to dominate the 2 mile. Dior Hall edged Kami Mendez in the 60 hurdles with a winning mark of 8.51.
For the boys, Marcus Harris posted the win in the 60 at 6.86. Andre Chapman out of California won the 200 in 22.46. Nolan Mayhew had the best strategy in the 400, holding back a little through the first lap, then blowing by the field on the final turn and into the finish straight.
Chuck Zulanas won the 800 in a modest 2:01.27. Connor Winter dispensed with the field in the mile, winning in 4:32.80. Johnny Fuller took the 2 mile in 10:13.33. I can't tell you where Johnny Fuller hails from, but he did say to runner-up Chris Ganem following the race, "I don't know how you guys run all the time at this altitude." I'm taking it that means the air was a little thinner here than in most of his experience. The 60-meter hurdle title went to Devin Bell in 8.50.
Schools that should be a little encouraged coming out of this meet would include the following:
Eaton - Gunnar Haynes wins the high jump at 6-4.
Lyons - Corbette Tschanz goes 9-0 in the pole vault, certifying her as a legitimate contender in the 3A pole vault
Cheyenne Mountain - Nolan Mayhew posts a 48.83 on an indoor track in January to win the 400. Chuck Zulanas wins the 800.
Valor - Will anyone in 4A be able to run with Mary Beth Sant? Christine Scott couldn't stay with her today. Maybe Kadeshia Rose? Maybe not?
Denver South - I'm making an assumption that Sydney Scott will run for Denver South this spring (she doesn't actually attend the school), but her wins in the mile and two mile were impressive.
George Washington - Trey Richardson and Brittany Lewis may or may not win any state titles this spring, but both will be dangerous in a wide range of events.
Some Selected Meet Photos (Note: Lighting is toward the marginal side in Clune Field House without the assist of remote-controlled strobes. I would have liked the photos to have been better, but there were still a few good images to be shared):
Cheyenne Hall puts a little vertical into the final phase of her triple jump.
Nolan Mayhew powers away from Chris Sterling and Tim Schmuhl.
Sydney Scott answers the charge of Rikki Gonzales with a surge of her own.
Dior Hall and Kami Mendez were neck-and-neck the entire race.
David Krumland takes it to 14-0.
Scott had the better start. Sant had the better finish.