Carly Lester and Austin Waterman closed out March with some outstanding performances at the Altitude Running Invitational. Photos by Alan Versaw and Joshua Polson/Greeley Tribune.
The competition was fierce last Saturday at the Altitude Running Invitational, and the performances from that meet definitely reflected that. This week, Colorado Track XC honors Carly Lester and Austin Waterman, who both participated in this stacked invitational, as the athletes of the week for their outstanding performances among some extremely talented athletes.
On the track, Carly Lester blew the competition away, winning both hurdle events. Lester finished the 100m hurdles in a time of 14.47 and the 300m hurdles in a time of 44.39 which makes her the state leader in both events.
“I had been waiting to PR in the 100 hurdles because it’s a lot harder to do than in the 300,” said the sophomore from Rocky Mountain High School. “I’m really happy with my races. Hard work really does pay off.”
Happy about her performance, Lester is also thankful for the competition that helped push her to towards her success. “It was really exciting having Alexa Chacon to race against. Having someone to race with who has really good times already for the season pushed me to have good times as well.”
Lester is a talented multi event track athlete who also competes in the long jump and ran on a 4x100 team that took third at the invitational. “It is really hard to keep a balance,” Lester said. “You have to prioritize what you actually want to do and focus on what you want to accomplish in those certain events. But I like to see myself as a sprinter before a hurdler and a jumper. When you train well in sprints, the success in hurdles and jumps follows.”
Looking towards the future, based on her performances in the hurdles so far, Lester is optimistic but also realistic. “I don’t think that the times people run right now really matter. The hurdles are so unpredictable that anyone can have a good race and anyone can have a bad race. What really matters are the times that people will run in May.”
In the field, Austin Waterman of Greeley West High School won the discus throw with a distance of 180-5. Not only is it a significant PR for the senior but it is also now a state leading mark by almost 15 feet.
“I feel good about my throw,” said Waterman, “but that doesn’t mean I’m satisfied with where I am now and I’m looking to keep improving each week.”
Waterman’s previous best mark was a 164-3 from last year, so this season has seen a huge improvement already. “I made this jump in distance from last year to this year because I’m working with a new coach that has improved a lot of things with me,” said Waterman. “He was an Olympic thrower and has been around it all so he knows it all.”
As well as being a great thrower for his track team, Waterman is also a two-time 5A state champion wrestler and he also played football in the fall. Waterman is an all-around accomplished athlete.
“It can get difficult to be a three sport athlete and do well in all three sports,” said Waterman. “I don’t dedicate all year to just one sport like some kids do, so it’s tough to get ready in time to face the kids that have been working all year. But the different sports help each other with all kinds of different things like my speed and my strength.”
Right now, however, Waterman’s focus is in the field. “Last year at the state meet I didn’t throw so well and finished in 4th place. This year I’m looking to hit a new PR and reach my new goal of 200.”
Carly Lester and Austin Waterman stood out in a crowded meet last weekend and have much to look forward to in the weeks ahead. Keep an eye on their performances as the season builds toward the state meet.