Western Slopers Shoot Through The Wind In Rifle

University's Kyle Bahnsen dominated the competition in the shot put.

Talk to any veteran Western Slope track coach and they have competed in much worse conditions than what they saw here on Friday. Yet, when teams arrived at the Rifle Invite to a snow-covered infield, an iced-over backstretch and a stiff, cold west-to- east wind down the homestretch, it was not a pleasant prospect for a speedy spring spectacular.
Surely Colorado track athletes are used to these conditions and a little snow never hurt anybody, so after a quick adjustment - moving the 4x800 relays in front of the sprint medley to give the outer lanes time to defrost -- the 20-team meet was under way. The wind during the 110 hurdles and 100 was measured as high as negative five meters/per second (editorial note: the wind measured during the 100s state there was a tailwind, which seems inaccurate to this observer).
Needless to say, times were not stellar, but the names were familiar. Basalt's Noah Williams, no longer in the shadow of former Aspen and current Adams State College sprinter Sunday Arbaca, was the only sprinter to break 12.00 (11.74). Justin Thompson won the 110 hurdles in 16.52. Thompson also won the long jump (21-5.5) and teammate Jasper Germain captured the high jump title clearing 6-6.
In the long sprint/middle distance category, Rangely's Patrick Scoggins kicked off the final year of his terrific prep campaign with wins in the 400 (50.99), and 800 (2:05.54). He also finished fifth in the 100 to score all 25 points for his team.
A small-school success on the girls' side was Meeker's Megan Shelton who, a week removed from playing in the 2A state basketball tournament, won both the discus (105-3) and shot put (34-0.5) Bryce Risner, son of Glenwood Springs' long-time coach Blake Risner, helped lead a deep and talented Demon team to the boys' team title (142.5 points with Eagle Valley second, 130 points). Risner won the 300 hurdles (42.69), finished third in the 110s (16.55) and was fifth in the long jump (19-8.5).
Other top finishes for the Demons came by way of wins in the 200 from Gavin Olson (23.2) and 1,600 by Gavin Harden (4:35.81). Aj Crowley added to the effort with second in the 200 (23.8) and third in the 100 (12.05) and 400 (53.66).
More points came from Wyatt Ewer second in 300 hurdles, 53.51, third in long jump, 20-4.5, and fifth in 100 hurdles, 17.73), Henry Barth (second in the 1,600, 4:51.91) and Aaron Smith (second in the 400, 53.51.
The Demons also won the 4x1 and 4x2 on the way to the team title.
Other notables on the boys side: the Farthest Traveled Award goes to Greely's University High School, which had one individual champions on the boys side -- Kyle Bahnsenwho won the shot put in 45-06.00, and the Largest Crowd Cheering award goes to Eagle Valley's Ethan Daubs, who gathered a crowd as he cleared several heights after the rest of the competitors were done on the way to a personal best of 13-6 in the pole vault.
On the girls' side Battle Mountain's distance depth propelled the Huskies to the team title (93 to Coal Ridge's 71). Lizzy Harding was third in the most impressive race of the day on the girls side, the 800. Steamboat's Maggi Congdon sliced through the wind just ahead of Eagle Valley's Joslin Blairas both finished an impressive early season sub 2:20 (2:19.59 and 2:19.88). Lizzy's 800 came after she and her sister, Naomi Harding (who won), out-kicked Blair in the 1,600 (5:16.50, 5:16.61 and 5:17.12 respectively). Rifle's Sarah Wagler found herself in a similar situation to Blair in the 3,200 as she was surrounded by Huskies. Wagler wound up with a third-place finish behind Battle Mountain's duo of Elizabeth Constien
(11:56.84) and Grace Johnson (11:56.87). The Huskies' Kaela Fahrney was in the mix too at 11:59.83. Of note, the boys' 3,200 was also a Vail Valley distance clinic. On the boy's side, Eagle Valley's Aiden Branch won in 10:11.78 followed by Battle Mountain's Nico Filiero, 10:37.04, EV's Luke Morrissey
10:48.01, Battle Mountain's Nick Williams, 10:53.55, and the Huskies' Andrew Rodgers, 11:03.55.
As expected by looking at individual results the Lady Huskies were dominant in the longer relays with wins in the 4x400 (4:10.82) and 4x800 10:21.91.