Thoughts on State Track

As meet officials look on, Boulder's Kelsey Lakowske nips Eleanor Fulton at the finish of the 5A 3200. Photo by Rick Wilson.


     It was a weekend full of records and fun.

     As usual, there were the stories on the side that added to the experience.

     One of the neat experiences for me was to have Air Academy coach Phil Roiko excitedly tell me that Anthony Cardinale, a first-year track participant at the school, had won the 5A long jump with a leap of 46-3. That was good news for an Air Academy program that had seen dreams of a state title dashed earlier this season due to a lacrosse injury.

     Another feel-good story of this meet was Rhesa Mitchell of Lake County. On Thursday, opening day of the meet, Mitchell split her knee open on the hurdle in the 100 hurdles prelims. The gash required stitches. She came back the next morning and qualified for finals in the 300 hurdles, ending up taking home Lake County's only medal for the meet.

    Yet another feel-good story. I got this one second-hand, so I hope I have the details correct. Beth Jones of Eaton had the 3A long jump title sewn up before her final jump. By that time, Eaton was out of the team race despite a great state meet on several fronts. Rather than giving it a perfunctory effort, Jones launches a big one and sets a new 3A state meet long jump record at 18-2.75.

     I watched with first-hand fascination as Pomona's Emily Hunsucker, a smurf within the ranks of shot putters, put away the 5A girls competition.

     Being a distance coach, I paid special attention to how the distance events played out over the weekend. Once again, I left with a profound appreciation for those distance runners who managed to win two titles over the weekend. Winning one title is huge; winning two is monumental.

     In 2A, nobody could pull it off. Alex Dorr (Wiggins) and Ashley Atkin (Fleming) won the 800s. Shawn Dubbs (Cripple Creek-Victor) and Kelley Robinson (Nederland) won the 16s. And, the 32s went to Erin Kelly (Crested Butte) and Steven Stoot (Fountain Valley) by a hair's breadth over Victor Montoya.

     3A did see a couple of double winners as Joseph DeMoor (Buena Vista) and Kaitlin Hanenburg (The Classical Academy)  managed to win both the 1600 and 3200 against stiff challenges.

     But, in 4A, it was mostly the victory carousel again. Only Andrew Berberick of Mullen managed to pull a double in the 800 and 1600. Elsewhere, Samantha Thompson, Laura Tremblay, Wes Rickman, and Lindsay Sowards took turns on the victory stand.

     5A very nearly had a triple winner, and quite possibly would have but for a hard-charging Kelsey Lakowske (Boulder) at the finish line of the 3200. Only Lakowske's charge at the finish line kept Highland Ranch's Eleanor Fulton from a rare triple crown. On the boys side, titles went to Nate Guthals (800) and Evan Appel (1600 and 3200).

     The two best team races were the 3A boys, which was decided a bit earlier than anticipated partly due to a Buena Vista disqualification in the 4 X 200, and the 4A boys, which was a contest almost to the bitter end before Mullen prevailed over Sierra.

     Otherwise, team races were decided early. Littleton and The Classical Academy took home two trophies each.  At the other end of the spectrum, Thompson Valley's girls outscored their boys by 100 points. That's not the kind of record people keep track of, but the margin is impressive, nevertheless. Sean Beal's 4:25.64 effort in the 1600 neatly averted a shutout for the Thompson Valley boys. Akron dominated 2A girls, and Wray was magnificent in 2A boys.

     Speaking of the Thompson Valley girls, they own the distinction of what is probably the meet's most impressive performance--a new state record in the girls 4 X 800 meter relay of 9:00.07. I've excerpted a piece below from an article submitted by Tracy Jex that I just didn't have time to format earlier this weekend regarding TV's accomplishment:

     The most exciting thing to happen on the track [on Thursday] was the 3200 meter relay of Thompson Valley. After dropping a 9:04 at the St. Vrain Invite, it was no surprise to the rest of the state that they would be going after the all-classification record of 9:01. The question on everyone’s mind wasn’t would they get the all state record. Rather, it was whether they could get the national record. The race started out with Brooke Regan running. While Alamosa put up a good fight for the first leg, it was the second leg ( Liz Tremblay) where Thompson Valley pulled away. The Eagles distanced themselves from the field, winning in a time of 9:00.07, thirty seconds ahead of second place Alamosa. The time was a mere two seconds away from a national record.  I asked the girls how they felt. Laura [Tremblay] said “Awesome, we were hoping to do this today."  While Thompson Valley fell short of the national record, their time is the fastest time in the country in the 3200 meter relay this year.

     There were upsets to be had on every day and in every classification. Whether is was Evergreen dominating the 4A boys 4 X 400, Arthurean McGee of Castle View winning the 4A boys 400, Wray's Stacy Post toppling Hayden's Holli Salazar in the shot put, University's Tori Fisher outjumping the competition in the 3A high jump, or Kiah Hicks of Falcon winning the 4A discus over Katie Kruger, upsets serve to remind us of why we actually hold the meet.

     There were no-shows. Probably the two most notable absences from the meet were Dayspring Christian's Jared Sanderford and Widefield's Derek McAllister. Both absences were felt. Both athletes were missed.

     There were unsung heroes. For example, 2A girls champion Akron does almost everything on relays. But, among their relay legs, sophomore Sydney Clarkson was a gem. Clarkson did manage a second place in the open 400, but her best work was done on relays. I would not enjoy trying to hold her off on the anchor leg of a sprint medley or 4 X 400.

     There was Herman Gutierrez and Rafeal Cote of Grand Junction who scored well beyond expectations in the hurdle events and 800, respectively. I don't know for certain, but I suspect these two had a great deal to do with Junction's surprising 4 X 400 effort as well.

     Shifting gears a bit, a big thank you to each of you who took the time to seek me out and introduce yourselves. Wow, suddenly, I know a lot more of the faces behind the names I see on Colorado Track XC. The contributions many of you make qualify you as unsung heroes.

     And I would be remiss not to mention the fantastic work done by the Jeffco Stadium facilities crew, headed by Dave Rulli. Dave needs to get better performance out of his sunscreen but, that aside, the supporting cast at this meet was marvelous. The stadium was well-organized and the facilities in tip-top condition for this event. I salute the work that was done, and this is as good of a place as any to say it.

     Much ado was made at the meet of the various new meet records. For the record, those marks were:

3A Girls 4 X 400 - The Classical Academy, 3:58.07

3A Girls 4 X 800 - The Classical Academy, 9:29.21

3A Girls Long Jump - Beth Jones, Eaton, 18-2.75

4A Girls 400 - Liz Tremblay, Thompson Valley, 55.19

4A Girls 800 - Samantha Thompson, Sierra, 2:10.12

4A Girls 1600 - Laura Tremblay, Thompson Valley, 4:54.59

4A Girls 4 X 400 - Thompson Valley, 3:50.74

4A Girls 4 X 800 - Thompson Valley, 9:00.07

4A Girls Shot Put - Katie Kruger, Alamosa, 43-5

2A Boys 200 - Mike Carl, Miami-Yoder, 22.23

3A Boys 100 - A. J. Melillo, Platte Canyon, 10.98

3A Boys Shot Put - Mason Finley, Buena Vista, 67-10.25

3A Boys Discus - Mason Finley, Buena Vista, 214-1


Meet Results and Photo Albums


 See you again at next year's state meet, DV.