Cerake Geberkidane and Dior Hall made their presence felt with big wins in Saturday's Simplot Games finals. All photos by H. Michael Roberts/Roberts Imaging.
Just one year after Ben Saarel seemingly put the Simplot Games 3200 record out of reach for a while, Cerake Geberkidane came within .51 seconds of the record, finishing in 9:01.13. And Geberkidane won in fashion, beating the standing US#1 for 2014 by nine seconds. On this day Elijah Armstrong was not the answer to the Geberkidane question. There were no answers.
And all that has to give another record a little bit of pause. Brent Vaughn's Colorado all-time (in-state) record for the 3200 is 9:05.89. At 4400 feet, Pocatello is a little lower than most Colorado venues (and any venue where Geberkidane is likely to run this spring), but clearly the record is within reach.
But Geberkidane was not the only Colorado athlete to dominate at Simplot.
Dior Hall just missed her season-best time in the 60 meter hurdles, recording an 8.20 to beat the field to the tape by nearly half a second. Hall figures to get one or two more cracks at the US #1 AT mark of 8.16 this season. Then, it will be on to pursue the US #1 AT 100 meter hurdles mark on the outdoor circuit.
In other Colorado wins, Kevin McClanahan ripped a 48.91 to win the 400, Chyna Ries came close to her season-best in the long jump, but 20-3 was more than good enough for the win, Stephanie Bess (photo, left) notched a landmark victory in the pole vault at 12-3, Jai'Shawn Thompson snared a second in the 200 with a 22.01, and Tyler Russell continued his amazing indoor season with a tie for the high jump title at 6-7.
The Fort Collins Track Club team of Carly Lester, Riley Cooney, Alivia Ayres-Perry, and Taylor Buschy captured an SMR16 title (Audra Koopman also ran in prelims), as did the Pure Speed boys (we could make a guess, but the relay roster is not included in the results) in the 4x200.
Getting ever-so-close were Jai'Shawn Thompson with a second in the 60, Zac Petrie with a second in the 800, Christina Stathakis taking second to Bess in the pole vault, Nicholas Meihaus with a second in the boys pole vault, Brandon Singleton with a second in the 200, Jennifer Celis with a third in the 800, Darby Gilfillan with a third in the 1600, Mariah Walker with a third in the shot put, and Carly Paul got third in the high jump, though clearing the same 5-6 standard as the winner, Britten Duerden of Utah.