Carly Feuerstein is one of the mainstays of a very impressive group of Thompson Valley relays. Photo by Alan Versaw.
Do you believe in the power of relays? Thompson Valley coach Matt Norton does. And, if you look at the history of the Thompson Valley's state meet performances over the last decade, you will understand why he believes so stronly in the power of relays. Simply stated, nobody in 4A girls has scored the kind of relay points at the state meet that Thompson Valley has. And nobody in 4A has the collection of state meet trophies to rival what Thompson Valley has.
Not surprisingly, the TV relays are primed once again. As of this moment, TV carries the #1 ranking in the 4x400 and SMR8, plus the #2 ranking in the 4x200 and 4x800. If those rankings hold up over the three days of the state meet, TV will be extemely difficult to beat.
Not that it's all relays in the land of Eagles. Individual event scorers should include Lindsey Kroboth in the high jump, Kendra Larson in the 300 hurdles and 800, plus Megan Irvine at 200 and 400 meters. There may be more. Altogether, that makes a pretty good case for the Eagles' title hopes.
But, there are other teams making cases as well.
One of those teams is Niwot--you know, the team whose colors Elise Cranny wears. If healthy at this year's state meet, Cranny is surely capable of winning the 800, 1600, and 3200. If Niwot goes title chasing, figure Cranny shows up on a relay as well. In fact, Niwot needs big relay production to win this. Cranny figures to get some individual event help from Christa Boettiger, Gabby Casey, and Rachel Sharpe, but it's the relays that will make or break the case for the Cougars.
Pueblo South was a team that looked very competitive at the start of the season. The Colts still may get there on the strength of performers like Aly Ary, Jayma Martin, Tyra Cruz, Mariah Yarbourgh, Jessica Kleven, and Angelique Urenda, but the production has thus far fallen short of projections. Probably the biggest hurdle yet to be overcome by this group is production in the relay events. The Colts desperately need more here.
Sand Creek, on the other hand, has scored very well in the shorter sprint relays. Add onto that some nice individual event production from Hayley Gantt, Rebecca Harris, and Mariah Walker, and the Scorpions have the look of a team that can hold their own in the state meet. Whether Sand Creek has the depth to score in all four sprint relays remains to be seen. Without that, they may struggle to hold pace with the likes of Niwot and Thompson Valley.
Valor Christian was another team that started the season with very high hopes. And, if your team had Marybeth Sant, Haley Showalter, and Aimee Larrabee on the roster, you'd be starting with high hopes as well. But, point production has stalled out beyond these three. More folks will have to step up and score if Valor is going to be in the title hunt late on Saturday afternoon.
The stakes seem a little high at this point for other teams to make a serious bid at the state title. This year, it will definitely take a combination of high scoring individuals and relays to come out on top. There will be no winners at 50 points this year.
Can't miss kind of events for 4A girls would include:
800 and 1600 meters - Take your pick, you should get to see Elise Cranny vs. Katie Rainsberger either way. Right now, you have to look at Cranny as the favorite, but if you've forgotten what happened at state cross country, you need to turn in your track and field/cross country fan card.
Shot Put - Stop and consider that Tyra Cruz, Mariah Walker, and Joey Kuheim are all well over 40 feet this year. Stand a safe distance back and enjoy.
Discus - Of course, Valarie Allman at over 180 feet is the show here, but there is a total of five throwers with seed marks over 130 feet.
4x200 - It's a lengthy list of sub-1:45 teams coming into this one and several of these teams need points badly out of this event to bolster their state title hopes. Will it be Thompson Valley, Sand Creek, Harrison, Centaurus, Pueblo South, or Broomfield.
4x100 - If the 4x200 doesn't scintillate on Friday, the 4x100 on Saturday surely will. This one figures to come down between Valor and Sand Creek. Hold your breath and hope for no bad exchanges.