This is what .006 seconds of difference at the finish line looks like. TCA's Emily LaValley and Kara Slavoski of St. Mary's will go at it again in the 800 at state. Photo by Paul Jaeger.
Teams to Watch
The Classical Academy
Lots of athletes who can score. Lots of events are represented at state. Barring late relay substitutions, nobody on the team will run more than three events. The Titans best opportunties to put big points on the board appear to be the relays (except the SMR where the Titans failed to qualify), Kaitlin Hanenburg (1600, 3200), Emily LaValley (800, 300 hurdles), Kelsey Brown and Shannon Harrell (400), Alyssa Northam (TJ), Sam Reid (100, 200), and Shelby Stableford (1600, 3200).
The Reds came out of their regional meet looking for all the world like a serious contender. Field events are Eaton's strength, but anyone not reckoning their relays for serious contention fell asleep at the wheel last weekend. Beth Jones (long jump, triple jump), Melanie Mackey (long jump), Kaelie Jelden (pole vault and 100 hurdles), and Annita Alvarez (throws) hold the keys for Eaton.
The Lions will have to maximize their talent to make a serious run at the title, but don't be counting them out. Rachel Hinker (100, 200), Kelly Yelverton (300 hurdles, pole vault), and Melissa Roberts (1600, 3200) are the top individual performers, but it is the relays that hold the key for Lyons. Lyons probably can't make a run solely on individual events and needs big things to happen on the relays. The potential is there.
A common theme of relays here suggest those events will determine the state championship.
Three Athletes to Watch (not already mentioned)
The tall phenom from Middle Park will take nobody by surprise this year. She is the prohibitive favorite in the 400 and must be taken into account in the 200, 800, and 1600 as well.
Slavoski looks to be running a heavy schedule of SMR, 3200, 800, and 1600. If anyone is up to that, the sturdy distance runner from St. Mary's is just the person.
The speedy redhead from Colorado Springs Christian owns the top seeds in the 100 hurdles and long jump. She will also be heard from in the 200, but that is a loaded field (read on).
I exceeded three athletes; ream me out for that on the message boards if they don't all deliver. Christine Scott is a freshman from St. Mary's Academy who has burst onto the 3A sprint scene in a year already overflowing with talent. It's tough for a newcomer to make a serious impact in this field, but Scott has already done that.
Three Events to Watch
Hinker, Berggren, Scott, and Reid each come in with seed times below 26. Grab a fire extinguisher, there's bound to be smoke coming down the finish straight.
It's showdown time with the best set of milers 3A has ever assembled. Hanenburg returns to defend her title, but Berggren, Slavoski, and Stableford should all be in hot pursuit. Rachel Gioscia's 3A record is potentially in danger.
800 Meter Sprint Medley
Honestly, I usually think of this as a "junk" relay, but the competition here should be exciting between Valley, Eaton, and Gunnison. Eaton needs a good showing in this relay to fuel its title hopes, but pride is very much on the line for Valley and Gunnison. All three schools have solid closers. This one should be fun.