Taking Aim at the Weekend

Saturday's Pueblo County meet should feature several of the state's best throwers, including Pueblo Central's Beau Gordon. Colorado Track XC file photo by Eric Versaw.

For most, but not all, of Colorado's schools, spring break is done. And that shows up in an enhanced set of meets for this weekend over the last two weekends.

Depending on your definition of weekend, things get started in Holyoke today. Where many schools operate on four-day weeks, it's fair to call a Thursday meet a weekend meet. One of the interesting things about this meet is that it's a kind of double-header for Holyoke. The Dragons were hosting last weekend, and they're hosting again this weekend.

If you've never before hosted a meet, you probably don't appreciate the commitment that represents, but we thank them for their efforts nevertheless.

Action picks up a little on Friday.

While March is generally the month of city kind of meets, we aren't quite done with those yet. Littleton gets their city meet off the books on Friday. That meet should, as usual, showcase some pretty nice talent.

Garry Berry Stadium in Colorado Springs warms up to a bigger meet on Saturday with a freshman/sophomore invite on Saturday. Although this one is not a rankings meet, it does rate among the larger freshman/sophomore meets in the state.

A few miles to the north and east, Sand Creek hosts their annual affair, borrowing the track at district rival Vista Ridge to get it done. It's been a while since Sand Creek had really nice weather for their meet. I should know. I'm pretty sure I've been to at least the last ten of these meets. I think one has had what could be objectively described as nice weather. Still, it's a well-run meet, so people keep coming back, ever hopeful about the weather.

Since I'll be at the Sand Creek meet again on Friday, you can expect Colorado Track XC coverage for this meet. We will not, however, have any video from the events of the afternoon and evening.

Rounding out Friday's action is a long-standing tradition from Fort Collins--the Poudre Invitational. It looks like three schools will be coming down out of Wyoming to boost the attendance figures at this meet. With Ben Hershelman bringing his Jefferson Academy Jaguars into town, we've asked him to pull a late-nighter and write some coverage following the meet. Ben always does a robust job of reporting (complete with an authentic Hershelmanism or two), so we look forward to that with eager anticipation.

There's a good chance, however, that Ben's article won't appear until Saturday evening as I'll be spending my Saturday at Garry Berry Stadium for the Palmer Terror Invitational. This time, video will be part of the coverage package. Nearly 30 teams figure to be on hand for this one, making it the biggest meet yet this season in Colorado Springs. There should be plenty to cover. Almost all of the big schools of the Colorado Springs area have lined up and done their online registration for this one.

Pueblo County picks up the teams south of Colorado Springs in their nice, (almost) new digs east of Pueblo. In addition to all of the Pueblo schools, County is pulling from as far as Del Norte, Trinidad, and Lamar. If I didn't know better, I'd say we're aiming at a throwers' extravaganza there. It's a bummer John Mall won't be there.

It's a bit surprising that Del Norte will be at Pueblo County, because they'll have to drive almost right past Sangre de Cristo's home meet to get to Pueblo County. Maybe Del Norte is looking for something a little warmer than the San Luis Valley in early April? In any case, most of the rest of the San Luis Valley is squeezing onto a six-lane track a little north of Mosca. South Park, Kim, Primero, La Veta, and Cripple Creek-Victor have also heard the call and will be traversing passes into the San Luis Valley to take part in the festivities.

Nobody, however, is coming to S de C from the San Juan Basin. That might be because Bayfield is setting up a show on their home track, although this one is a small show. The bigger invitational arrives later in the season.

Also carving out slices of the Western Slope pie are the Frank Woodburn (Palisade) Invitational and the Eagle Valley Invitational. If you know Colorado pole vaulting, you already have a pretty good idea which of those two meets is welcoming buses and vans with athletes toting long tubes. Both should be meets of nice size.

Momentarily jumping over the Front Range, we note that Limon hosts the Warren Mitchell Invitational on Saturday. You probably can't find a bigger meet on the Eastern Plains. We will note that 40 schools are coming, then put an asterisk beside that note by mentioning that a fair number of those schools have teams of ten or fewer individuals. Such is the state of enrollment in many of Colorado's eastern communities. Do not be misled by the size of several of the schools attending--there is some serious talent rolling into Limon on Saturday. It should be further noted that the buzzsaw marketing itself as Lutheran High School is on the list of teams attending.

Warren Mitchell wouldn't have had it any other way.

Closer to the population center of Colorado, meets will also be hosted by Highland, Mountain Range, and Legend this weekend.

As small-school meets go, Highland will be rather large, even pulling in 4A programs like Fort Morgan and Weld Central. 3A power Eaton rolls the Big Red bus into town.

Mountain Range? It will be massive; nice to have a nine-lane track and a stadium that can handle a big crowd. It will be a mostly 5A crowd pulled from Colorado Springs all the way to Greeley. A sampler of schools attending include Castle View, Pine Creek, ThunderRidge, Boulder, Monarch, Fairview, George Washington, Niwot, and Palmer Ridge (in case you hand't noticed yet, Palmer Ridge is pulling out all the stops on scheduling this spring). Oh, and Lyons and Shining Mountain, too. This meet has grown rapidly in recent years and now swings a very large bat. Hats off to Chris Smith for running a great meet and enduring all the headaches that go with that.

Photo coverage will be coming from the Mountain Range meet, and possibly written coverage as well--I need to do a quick piece of verification on that, though, before affirming that it is on the way.

Rounding out the meets for the weekend is Legend's Track Clash. Legend has dibs this week on Sports Authority Stadium, where expanses of field turf Clash with the native vegetation. I don't think that's how the meet got named, but it was an observation waiting to be made. In any case, it's a solid facility and will be hosting about 20 schools.

While it's true that Mountain Range gets the larger share of the top Denver Metro teams, you don't want to sneeze at the list of teams coming to Legend's meet. Nor should you need to sneeze because, well, field turf is hypoallergenic.

Among the teams coming in for a visit are Cherokee Trail, Brighton, Cherry Creek, Discovery Canyon, Mountain Vista, Mullen, Rocky Mountain, and ThunderRidge (looks like the Grizzlies have parted ways for the weekend).

So, if you're at all like me, you can't wait for the weekend. We'll do our best to bring it to you. Please keep checking back for results.