3A State Preview: Can Lutheran Sweep?

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Anna Shults is the defending state champion in the 1,600.

The queen of the sprints heading into state is Maya Evans. She's a clear favorite in the 100 and the 200, as she's the only athlete to break 12, and 25 - she's run 11.88, and 24.28. The only real question is how fast Evans will run. She's inching up on the 3A state meet record in the 100, which is 11.82, and the 200, which is 24.13. These times are well within reach for Evans, who'll we'll get back to in the long jump...

The 400 looks like a race already. Heading into state Ashten Loeks is the favorite with the fastest time of 57.39. But she'll have to battle Regan Aurich, who could make it a Lutheran sweep of the sprints. Aurich has run 57.84 this season. 

The 800 looks to be one of the most competitive events in 3A. Three girls have run 2:15 this season, led by Maggie Congdon. She's won four of six 800s this year and has run 2:15.16. And in order to make it five, she'll have to take down two-time 1,600 state champion, Anna Shults, who has run 2:15.18 this year, but holds a PR of 2:13. And then there's Lilly Lavier, who has run 2:15.19. 

The 1,600 looks to be another battle, with Quinn McConnell as the favorite, and Congdon chasing. McConnell has run 5:07 this season, which leads Congdon and Hannah Ellis, who have both run 5:11. But keep an eye on Shults. She's run 5:18 this season, but is the two-time defending state champion. And her 2:15 at St. Vrain shows she's clearly in shape to make a run for it in the 1,600.

Ellis and McConnell will battle once again in the 3,200, with Ellis as the favorite. Ellis has run 11:05 this season, just ahead of McConnell's 11:11. But keep in mind, McConnell was the 2017 state cross country champion.

The name to remember in the hurdles is Esther Diza-Mbelolo. She holds a 15.00 season-best in the 100 hurdles, though she has broke 15 before. Diza-Mbelolo enters the state meet No. 1 in the 100 and the 300. She'll battle Jordan Lanning and Loaks for a state title in both events. 

Lanning's best shot for a state title comes in the long jump, where she is the favorite by over three inches. She's got a 5-7.25 PR.

The long jump belongs to Maya Evans. She's got a state-leading, nation-leading 20-8.5 to her name. The jump is nearly three feet beyond her nearest competitor. While Evans is a dominating figure in the long jump, the triple jump appears to be a battle between Alexandria Burns and Caitlin Simmons

Hayley Rayburn has been putting together an incredible season in the pole vault. She's the favorite to claim the event, as her 12-9 is No. 1 in all-classifications outdoors. Erika Willis will likely provide a worthy competitor, as she's gone 12-4 this season. 

In the discus Keena Murphy enters the state meet as the favorite. She's thrown 128-0 this season, but holds a PR of 134-7. Likewise, Katie Dack-Howell holds the No. 1 throw in the shot put by over a foot. She's thrown 39-10.

The relays look to be a battle between Lutheran, Alamosa, and The Classical Academy. Lutheran holds the No. 1 mark in the 4x1 at 49.25, just ahead of TAC's 49.69. The two schools are 1-2 in the 4x2 as well, with TAC leading the way with a 1:43 best. Alamosa is the favorite to take the Sprint Medley Relay, as they hold a No. 1 time of 1:48.95. Only three teams have gone under 1:50, including Lutheran and Elizabeth. TAC is the lone team under four minutes in the 4x4, but not by much. They've run 3:59.92, just ahead of Alamosa's 4:00.14. In the 4x8 Peak to Peak is a clear favorite to take the title. They've run 9:26 this season, which is 12 seconds ahead of their nearest competitor.

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