Colorado Track XC athletes of the week

<h3 style="text-align: center;"> celebrating top performances week after week...</h3>

Mariah Walker and Nicholas Meihaus won two events each with big performances at The Centennial Invitational on Saturday. Photos by Paul Jaeger, Alan Versaw.

The Centennial Invitational was the place to be last weekend. The meet showcased many impressive performances including those of Nicholas Meihaus and Mariah Walker, both of whom Colorado Track XC honors as the athletes of the week.   
On the boy’s side, it was Nicholas Meihaus who stole everyone’s attention on Saturday. The senior from Pueblo South High School won both the pole vault at 15-0 and the high jump at 6-4. That vault is a Colorado best so far this season.
“I went into the meet knowing there were going to be some good vaulters and jumpers,” Meihaus said. “I loved winning the high jump. It’s always fun to jump with the Palmer High kids. And vault-wise, it was nice to see everyone out jumping again. I’ve been wanting to clear 15 so getting that on Saturday was exactly what I wanted to do.”
Meihaus’ 15-foot vault was not only a state best it also marked a one foot PR from his pole vault best last track season.  This shouldn’t be surprising, given the work Meihaus has put into his sport within the last year.  “During the summer I put in more speed training to get my legs faster,” Meihaus explained. “My coaches put me in a class with a baseball coach and he got me a lot faster. In the fall I was just lifting weights and during the winter season I didn’t do anything too differently. The biggest difference was listening my coach’s input. We had a lot of technical stuff to work out. And I’ve also started doing gymnastics once a week and I credit that for much of the improvement too.”  
To see such a big improvement so early in the season last weekend was extremely important for Meihaus seeing that he’s dedicated so much towards his success this season. “For me it was reassuring that what we’re doing is working,” he said. “It’s a nice feeling to have so early on. But for me, we’ve set our goal at 16-0. It’s always nice to PR but you get over it and have to move on to the next bar.”  
Aside from his success in the pole vault, Meihaus is also a seasoned high jumper who placed second in the event at the 4A State Championships last year.  Even though it was a win for Meihaus last weekend, lack of winter training in the event has led to what he feels is somewhat of a slow start.  “I’m hoping my high jump comes back slowly. I don’t want to be known as just a vaulter so I’m hoping to chase those two state championships this year.”
In addition to the pole vault and high jump, Meihaus has added one more event to his resume this season: the long jump. Last weekend was his first time competing in the event. 
“We didn’t expect to have a lot of kids come out this season so I said I’d try it to help my team score some points,” Meihaus said. “It’s definitely different and I’m just so new to it. It’ll be better by the end of the season.”  
So with that, the stage is set for Meihaus to have a big senior season. In addition to the double state championship he has set his eyes on, Meihaus has hopes for some high marks. “I’m chasing 16-0 in the vault because if I can do that, I’ll set a new school record and a 4A state meet record. And in the high jump I want to break that 7-foot barrier because no one’s done it in Colorado for a while.”
Meihaus has quite the to-do list for his final high school season before setting off to compete next year for Colorado State.  Yet with his strong dedication and work ethic, Meihaus may prove to be unstoppable.  
Meanwhile, as Meihaus was jumping high, Mariah Walker was throwing far. The senior from Sand Creek High School won both the shot put and the discus on Saturday with throws of 47-7.5 and 144-2.  Both throws were solid PRs that completely dominated all other competition.  
“I never go in thinking about a victory,” Walker explained. “I always go in thinking about how I’m going to get a PR today.”  
Walker not only set two PRs, her 47-7.5 throw moves her to within two inches of the #3 all-time position for Colorado high school girls.  This is an impressive accomplishment.  “That really wasn’t something I was thinking about,” Walker said. “I always have goals in my mind and accomplishing that just makes me feel like I’m just that my closer to hitting my goals.” 
Walker put in some impressive training this winter en route to obtaining those goals. “In the weight room, I did a lot of researching and found different ways of lifting,” she said. “I worked on different techniques and increased my cardio. I just focused on training to be better than I was yesterday.”
What followed was a stellar indoor season in which Walker was ranked nationally in the weight throw. “I normally practice shot put, and the weight and hammer are something I do recreationally,” Walker said.  “This was my first solid season of indoor weight, and I fell in love with it. Weight is becoming one of my favorites.”  
Not only did her indoor season help her physically, Walker also found great benefits mentally. “In order to throw weight in Colorado, you have to compete at a college,” Walker explained.  “Being exposed to the people I’ll compete against in college and those high pressure situations was huge. When I competed at USAFA, there were lights and cameras and people shouting everywhere--it’s something that you have to get used to. Now the buzz of a normal high school meet doesn’t get in my head any more because I’ve been in situations that are crazier.” 
Before she leaves to throw with University of Colorado next year, Walker has set big goals to tackle for her final high school season.  “I want to have fun with it, but I want to finish my senior season like I finished the rest of my seasons before,” she said.  “I always end with a PR that is five feet farther than the year before.  I’ve done that for the past three years and I want to do it again.” 
So far, things are looking good for Walker. 
Congratulations to both Nicholas Meihaus and Mariah Walker on their highly impressive performances last weekend.  The 2014 season is quickly picking up steam and Colorado Track XC wishes everyone the best of luck as they continue with their training.