Put your tray tables up and the seat backs in the full upright position. It's going to be a wild ride in Gunnison on Saturday!
Sometimes, you just have to wait for the entries to pour in at the last moment. That's what they did for the Western State High School Indoor Open.
And, it was worth the wait.
Chris Youngs was a late addition to the 60 meter dash field that gives the meet one certified sub-7 for the event. Perhaps there will be more than one after the event? 7800 feet of altitude is a significant perq for the sprint types.
The aforementioned trio of girls 1600 steeplers grew to eight including Palisade's Greta Van Calcar. That's doubly intriguing in that Van Calcar's father was once a national high school steeplechase record holder himself.
Liam Cox wears the mantle of top seed heading into the boys 1600 steeple. Paxton Smith won't be going for a repeat of last year's crown.
Nevertheless, Smith and Matt McDonald join an already-impressive mile field that includes Ian Meek and Jake Mitchem. Evidently, we'll see some suffering at nearly 7800 feet of elevation on Saturday.
Lilliana Hamilton, fresh off a nice race at the Air Force High School Indoor Open, will take on the challenge of McKenna Ramsay at 800 meters.
Also of note, Telluride's Soleil Gaylord is entered in both the 800 and 1600. Not many people, or especially not many distance types, will be exceeding their seed marks on Saturday, but Gaylord ought to be one strong candidate to do so.
Alamosa's Oscar Martinez has joined the boys 800 field, meaning the Exceler8 guys ought to have someone to keep things honest. We still haven't seen a sub-2 800 in the indoor season from a Colorado athlete, and it would be nice to get that monkey off our collective backs.
Jacob Rogers looked like a prohibitive favorite to win the 3200 until Liam Cox and Paxton Smith joined the field. Now, things get a little more competitive.
A stunning number of 4x400s are slated to close the day, but we know how these things go. We may be down to one heat of both genders but the time the daily casualties mount in advance of the final track event.
Later additions to the field events include Rylee Ries in the high jump, Emily Clawson in the shot put, and Zach Horning in the triple jump.
In all, about 300 athletes are entered for the meet, roughly doubling the size of last year's meet. Indoor track and field is taking flight in western Colorado!