If anyone was hoping for things to take a turn for the strange at Saturday's CSML meet, they left disappointed.
Seeing the sun for most of the day after a week of clouds and cold temperatures was as strange as things would get at Fountain-Fort Carson High School.
Despite the lightened loud for many of the league's top athletes--something last-week meets will always have to contend with--the results were mostly familiar. Widefield (boys) and The Classical Academy (girls) split the 4A crowns. Pine Creek (boys) and Rampart (girls) split the 5A crowns. For this year, at least, Fountain-Fort Carson did not quite have the firepower to stay atop the league standings, though their name has been atop the league boys pile for many years prior to this.
The day began with a lightly-contested 4A girls 3200. Widefield's Sophia Mena took top honors there at 12:23. Things took a turn for more competitive with the 5A boys 3200, where Pine Creek's Sean McCauley overhauled Liberty's Maxx Seminario on the final straight and won, 9:54 to 9:55. Still, neither event yielded any state qualifiers.
That paucity of state qualifiers would end abruptly at the 4A girls SMR8, with Elizabeth nipping TCA nipping Sierra. You'll see all three teams at next week's state meet--Elizabeth and TCA in 3A, and Sierra in 4A.
Relays remained the theme with the 4x800 (the only event of the 4A/5A CSML which is run as a combined event). TCA's girls smashed the girls field. The boys field was a bit tighter, with Pine Creek edging Liberty edging TCA. Pine Creek and Liberty found spots in the 5A field with their efforts. TCA vaulted all the way to #2 in the 3A field with theirs. As a footnote on the TCA effort, the Titans would have been left out of the 3A field without it.
The day would continue that way until late in the afternoon. One last attempt, this time under the sun and mostly-friendly wind conditions would yield a bumper crop of state qualifications, some of them rather lofty qualifications.
Among the best boys events of the day were Pine Creek's Charles Nnantah edging Palmer's Elijah Brown for the 5A boys 300 hurdles title. Tyrese Van Horne spent his day winning the 100, 200, and 400 (4A). Mason Anthony smoked the 4A hurdles field (twice). Fountain-Fort Carson stirred some old memories dominating the 5A 4x200 field. Doherty's Donte Marsh went 6-6 to remind folks he's a force in the 5A high jump field. For good measure, he won the long jump as well. Brendan Young may have settled for third in the 4A high jump, but he was way out in front of the long jump and triple jump fields. Pine Creek's Rece Rowan was equally as dominant in the 5A shot put and discus fields.
Highlights were not difficult to come by on the girls side, either. Ereana McCallister (4A) and Keyanda Bolton (5A) went unrivaled in the 100 and 200. Leilani Washington of Doherty had no hurdle rivals, in either 4A or 5A, on the day. Harrison's sprint relays were blazing, but especially so the 4x200. Coronado's Allison Ambuul did double duty, winning the 5A 400 by a hair's breadth, then doing the same on the anchor leg of the 4x400. Aaliyah Ricketts continued to confound the 4A triple jump field, but this time by only an inch over Greta Corneliusen.
It would be a monumental task to list all of those athletes who left Fountain-Fort Carson High School with state qualifiers they didn't have when they arrived in the morning. It was a very long list. But, the mark of a good meet is one that produces such a sizable list.