Pretty much since 1A got their own classification, it's been poor form to discount Springfield's chances at winning a team title.
Still, though Springfield wasn't exactly off the radar screen, going into Saturday's late start of the state meet, the 1A title did appear to be Heritage Christian's to lose.
Only HCA never counted on the fury with with the Longhorns of Springfield came into the state meet. Maybe the rigors of spring on the eastern plains had them in a surly mood. Maybe they got really tired of hearing about how someone else was the favorite. Or, maybe they found the hotel with the best breakfast known to mankind.
Whatever it was, the Longhorns left a pretty deep mark on the state meet.
More than anything else for the Longhorns, it was relays. In all, Springfield qualified all five relays, used 11 different girls to carry the baton at least once, and accumulated 40 of the 73.5 via the relay.
No other team committed to the relay like Springfield. 1A runner-up DeBeque got 20 points via the relay. Meet favorite Heritage Christian Academy managed only 17 points via relay despite qualifying all five relays. Fleming's 27 points via relay were the closest anyone got to Springfield's total.
Of course, Springfield scored in other events as well. Tatelyn Lasley, the Longhorns' top sprinter, got a third in the 200 and a second in the 400. Adding individual across a nice variety of events were Ally Loflin (shot put), Audrey Rau (200), Benisa Ellis (800, 400), Zoe Alberti (400), Brenna Shettron (high jump), and Jayci Westphal (300 hurdles).
If you go out in search of a top athlete of the 1A Girls state meet, it probably won't be long before you return with a nomination.
DeBeque's Jentry Largent won the 100 and 200 handily, anchored the DeBeque 4x100 to a meet record, and helped DeBeque to a second in the SMR8.
Also coming in for solid consideration of top athlete of the meet would be Shining Mountain's Emma Schaefer, winner of the 1600 and 3200, Prairie's Emily Kaiser, winner of the long and triple, and Kiowa's Melanie Deering, winner of the 400 and 800.
Heritage Christian Academy, a team that seemed to hold all the trump cards coming in, was hampered in its effort by a complete absence of first place finishes. And, the Eagles managed but two seconds and two thirds along the way. The nickels and dimes they collected were not enough.