Loveland schools travel to Greeley and rock the joint

In a scene eerily reminiscent of recent years, Loveland's 4x100 dominates the field. Photo by Kim Salazar.

At 10:00 am on Friday it looked like a winter wonderland at District 6 Stadium in Greeley. Dime-sized snowflakes were coming down at a prodigious rate.  Track coaches and athletes from Greeley and Loveland were holding their breath that thing would change.

Change they did. Saturday dawned bright and beautiful along the Northern Front Range and conditions were as good as can be expected for the opening weekend of the track season. The City-to-City Challenge is a meet that consists of the Greeley District 6 schools versus the schools from Loveland district Thompson R2-J.  In all 10 schools competed in the meet.
Loveland’s girls kicked the season off with a completely dominating performance in the 800m sprint medley. The Lady Indians gapped the field by nearly nine seconds to finish with a 1:52.37. 
Not to be outdone by their cross-town rivals, Thompson Valley treaded onto the territory of the Lady Indians by winning all of the individual sprint events.  Lindsey Kroboth commandingly won the 100m with a time of 12.75, while teammates Kelsi Schuetz and Maren Janda won the 200m and 400m.  Their times were 26.59 and 59.63, respectively.
In the girl’s distance events Mountain View and Thompson Valley battled it out with a few salvos being thrown by Frontier Academy. Mountain View’s Riley Cooney and Thompson Valley’s Emily Leidig gave a demonstration of the effectiveness of off-season training by racing each other to a wickedly fast 800m.  Cooney won the duel with a time of 2:15.88 to Leidig’s 2:17.35.  The girl’s 1600m race quickly became a three-person affair with Mountain View’s Lauren Offerman, Thompson Valley’s Hayley Berg, and Frontier’s Mikayla Santos racing out to a commanding early lead. Offerman would eventually win the 4-lapper with a time 5:23.97.
As can be expected from having only 10 days of practice, there was some rust in the technical and field events. However, some notable performances came from outside the oval nevertheless. Berthoud’s Josie Spitz won a tiebreaker against Loveland’s Heather Waite in the pole vault.  Both jumped 9-6 on the day.  
Far out of the oval in the throws arena, Berthoud’s Sydney Siruta won the shot put with a heave of 31-6. While Northridge picked up it’s lone first place of the meet in the discus with a Crystal Berumen-Alvarado’s throw of 107-3.
Thompson Valley’s quartet of Kendra Larson, Maren Janda, Helena Ernst, and Megan Irvine concluded the meet for the girls with a 4:03.45 in the 1600m relay.  
The team scores for the girls were close with Loveland, Thompson Valley, and Mountain View sharing the bulk of the points. Only 19 points separated the three schools with Loveland winning the title with a total of 168.
The boy’s started the day off with a strong win by Mountain View in the 3200m relay with a time of 8:32.61. This would set the tone for the day with a lot of Mountain View purple and white finishing in scoring positions.
Thompson Valley’s Tanner Wall won both hurdle races with times of 16.47 and 42.18.
The smallest team in the competition, Resurrection Christian, showed that there is some serious speed in senior Sawyer Pehkonen’s legs.  Pehkonen (photo, right, by Kim Salazar) won the 400m with a time of 50.19 and finished 2nd in the 200m with a performance of 23.40. Speaking of off-season training...
In the distance races, the performance of the day went to Frontier’s Chris Baker. Leading the field to a fast start in the 800m, Baker would gap Thompson Valley’s Kaleb Simington to win in 1:59.94, marking the first sub 2:00 of the 2014 season in Colorado. 
Simington may have had some rubber legs in the 800m because he paced field in the 1600m to win with a 10 second margin in 4:36.77.
Mountain View commanded the relays with wins in all of the baton events. Most notable was the 3:27.81 turned in by Torin Kufeld, Ryan Vomacka, Bryce Strohecker, and Nick Olson in the 4x400.
There were a lot of razor-close finishes in the field events. The high jump came down to misses with Greeley Central’s Joseph Martinez winning over Kyle Cavey of Berthoud and Torin Kufeld of Mountain View. All jumpers leapt 5-10. Not to be outdone, the long jump also came down to a tiebreaker at 21 feet with Mountain View’s Jordan Kress out second attempting Zach Jones of Loveland.  Finally, the difference between champion and runner-up in the triple jump came down to half an inch. Mountain View’s Jonathan Goltz won over Thompson Valley’s Gift Chinda with a jump of 40-9.5.
The end tally showed Mountain View nearly doubling the point total on secondnd place to win the meet with 201.5 points. Loveland finished second with 109.5.
Given the minute-to-minute nature of weather in Colorado; the athletes, coaches, and spectators at the City to City Challenge could not have asked for a better day.  
What a great start to the 2014 season!

Meet Results and Photos