Boulder's Mackenzie Felkley enjoyed a breakthrough performance at last weekend's Mullen Runners Roost, clearing 14-6. This weekend, he gets a chance to validate that performance against several of the state's best pole vaulters in the Boulder County Championships. Photo by Alan Versaw.
It's an impressive slate of meets coming your way this weekend. Both Friday and Saturday are busy and there should be lots of great meet action to choose from.
This, of course, is also a prime weekend for proms. In fact, it may be the prime weekend for prom activity across the state.
Horizon already threw in the prom towel by hosting their invitational on Wednesday. Maybe prom is on a Friday at Horizon, or perhaps track athletes at Horizon simply get more time to get ready for prom than some other schools. It's not clear that anything in particular is up at Wray because they always host on a Thursday (this could be an artifact of four-day school weeks in the area) and don't bill their meet as a pre-prom invitational.
You can bet that the slightly-larger-than-usual slate of Friday meets this weekend has something to do with dodging the prom evacuation from meets on Saturday afternoon.
Hosting on Friday this weekend are La Junta, Fruita Monument (Phil Wertman Invitational), and Loveland (R2-J Invitational).
For a smaller school that most schools actually have to go out of their way to drive to, La Junta draws very well at their Tiger Relays Invitational. Several Colorado Springs schools are making the trip, and the entire city and county of Pueblo is evacuating to the south side of La Junta. Make that almost the entire city and county of Pueblo. Somehow, Rye didn't get the memo.
Something new for the Tiger Relays this year is that the boys and girls events are on the same day. In the era of expensive travel, that may have gone a long way toward tipping the scales of decision for many of the schools that are coming. That and the fact that there's a certified dearth of meets in Colorado Springs and Pueblo this weekend.
The Phil Wertman yanks in all of the biggest western slope schools, plus a smattering of the smallest--Lake City, Soroco, and Rangely. Since at both Soroco and Lake City have much closer meets they could have attended on Saturday, one suspects that prom arrangements may have something to do with their attendance at Fruita Monument's Friday meet. In Rangely's case, probably the only meet they'll travel to all year that's closer to home than Grand Junction is Moffat County. The Panthers are always on the prowl.
And, in Loveland, it's the three Loveland schools and Berthoud putting on a meet for Mullen, Chaparral, Glenwood Springs, TCA, Battle Mountain, Roosevelt, and a couple of athletes from Vail Christian. It's a great selection of schools, but more than a couple of these programs might be in recovery mode after last weekend's Mullen showdown.
It gets very busy on Saturday.
There are three huge invitationals in the Denver metro area on Saturday, plus a couple of smaller ones. The biggest of the big are the George Washington Invitational (All-City Stadium), the Dakota Ridge Invitational (Jeffco Stadium), and the Boulder County Championships in Broomfield. Take your pick, they're all stocked with talent.
The Boulder County Championships is essentially a friendly grudge match (if such a thing even exists) between the Boulder Valley School District and the St. Vrain Valley School District. Technically, some of the schools coming (including, I believe, the host school) aren't located within Boulder County, but it counts as good enough if your district headquarters are located in Boulder County. In any case, the participants--or at least many of them--gear up for this one. This meet annually produces many of the best marks in the state in April.
Dakota Ridge and George Washington split most of what's left from the greater Denver metro area with a few schools each going to meets hosted by Rock Canyon (Sports Authority Stadium), Thornton (Adams 12 North Stadium), and the Caviness meet hosted at Aurora Public Schools Stadium. Of these three, the Maxine Ehrman Invitational hosted by Thornton is the biggest, very nearly belonging on the same footing as the three biggest metro area meets.
In the Colorado Springs area, Fountain-Fort Carson hosts the only meet. F-FC purposely limits the size of their meet, so there's plenty of incentive for most of the Colorado Springs schools to head out of town.
On the plains, whatever La Junta didn't pick up on Friday and Wray didn't pick up on Thursday gets split between Kiowa-Elbert (at the Elbert track) and Akron. Platte Valley picks up a few northeastern plains schools as well, but draws mainly from the Greeley area. This weekend has an usually high number of meets on or near the plains. Akron Coach Tom Meyer told me last weekend that participation in his meet is down this year. It's not that hard to see why when you take stock of how many schools are hosting meets this weekend.
Smaller schools on the western slope (at least less Lake City, Rangely, and Soroco) split up between Dove Creek (hosted in Cortez), Rifle, and Gunnison. If novelty is your thing, Gunnison's Invitational is hosted in conjunction with a small college meet hosted by Western State. Despite the large number of meets on the western slope this weekend, both Rifle and Gunnison are drawing very well in terms of teams. Gunnison's proximity to the San Luis Valley helps boost their attendance numbers. The Dove Creek meet is pretty much limited to San Juan Basin schools. The scenery changes at San Juan Basin meets, but not so much so the uniforms.
Late Update: The biggest meet of the weekend for Colorado will be the Dakota Ridge Invitational. The La Junta Tiger Relays comes in at #2, barring a late surge in registrations from any of the meets still open. Thornton's Maxine Ehrman Invitational joins the list of mega invitationals in the Denver metro area this weekend with a big last couple days of registration.