3A Girls Track Preview

Miss Diversification: the triple jump is just one of the things that Beth Jones does well for 3A power Eaton. She also runs a mean 800 and runs legs on relays. Photo by Alan Versaw

With all due respect to the many talented athletes and coaches involved, class 3A on the girls’ side is The Classical Academy’s world this year, and everyone else is just visiting.

Tim Daggett’s Titans won the meet last year with 89 points to Peak to Peak’s 46 and return nearly every piece of that outstanding team. Plus, they add cross country phenom Shelby Stableford, who already owns a XC PR of 18:13. Think of that: how many teams get to add a 18:13 runner who will “just” be another great piece on an already great team? Kaitlin Hanenburg, with all of her state titles, is ready for another huge season, as are Kelsey Brown and the rest of one of the top-10 cross country teams in the country. Shannon Harrell returns with sub-60 credentials in the 400 and Sam Reid, who finished second in both sprints as a freshman in 2007, returns after being injured last year. Classical’s 4x4 and 4x8 teams will run with all the top teams in Colorado and perhaps beyond. Given the supercharged atmosphere at this year’s state meet, expect several 3A records to fall the way of TCA.

One team that has already shown its interest in giving the Titans a run is Lyons. Winners of the Boulder Invitational March 7, Mark Roberts’ squad boasts great talent in multiple events, namely in the three-headed monster of Marcie, Grace and Rachel Hinker. Rachel Hinker ran a strong 2nd in the 100 and 200 to all-world sprinter Shaylee Robinette, leading the Lions to a landslide win in 2A. Grace and Marcie have already punched their ticket to state in the pole vault, as has senior Kelly Yelverton. Melissa Roberts won the 2A 3200 and will have a big impact in the distances for her dad’s squad. Impressive 4x100 and 4x200 relays are already in the books for Lyons.

The Reds of Eaton, who tied for 3rd in 2008, return several key performers. Junior Beth Jones is a multi-talented star: how about over 36 feet in the triple jump, 2:23 in the 800 and under 20 minutes for cross country? She is joined by Annita Alvarez (defending champ in the discus) and Kaelie Jelden (PV), who could put up 30 points between the two of them.

Of course, Middle Park’s Sam Berggren is a strong possibilty to score 40 points by herself, making the Panthers a player. The 200 (24.54), 400 (55.94, already owned by Berggren), 800 (2:12.70, also Bergrren’s) and 1600 (4:57.44, if she can pry it away from Hanenburg) records are all in serious jeopardy. Given Berggren’s impressive cross country season, the sky could literally be the limit in the 800 and 1600 this year. Help could come from high/triple jumper Quincey Pederson and/or thrower Elsa Krieg.

But the biggest drama this year figures to lie in the individual battles: Berggren against TCA, Estes Park’s Kim Hansen (800) and St. Mary’s Kara Slavoski (1600) in the middle distance races; CeCe Pieper of Hotchkiss, and Becca Bultje and Tiffany Kenney of CSCS to take over Margaret Weingart’s reign in the 100 hurdles; Megan Patterson from Dolores Huerta (a freshman who’s already thrown 39 feet in the shot) and Adrienne Lettow of Faith Christian in the throws.

Other returning champions include Lindsey Hubbard (Valley—100m; also 2nd in the 200 and 300h) and Tiffany Kenney (LJ—CSCS; could make noise on the 100h after crashing in last year’s event at state).