Colorado has had a long history of sprinters, jumpers, hurdlers, throwers, and distance runners, but one area that has often been overlooked is Colorado's multi event athletes. Colorado Springs Track Club (CSTC) saw this hole and met with the coaches at the Air Force Academy to propose adding the Pentathlon to the Air Force High School Indoor Open
After two months of hard work contacting and coordinating with top level athletes from all over the nation, CSTC's dream of having a national caliber multi event in Colorado came to fruition Saturday morning at the Cadet Field House.
10 girls and nine boys from Colorado, California, Idaho, Nevada, New York, Texas, and Utah came together to take part in the inaugural pentathlon. The events contested would be 60m hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump, and 800m (girls) or 1000m (boys).
The women's pentathlon field included: Jayme Hendrickson of St. Frances (CA), Karen Villa of Jefferson (TX), Mia Bryant of Venture Academy (CA), Josephine Coffey of Bear Creek (CO), Emilie Johnson of Stargate (CO), Annie Grinde of Boulder (CO), Riley Negrey of Centaurus (CO), Emily Hopkins of Fairview (CO), Elise Gillett of Niwot (CO) and Madissyn Moore of Palmer Ridge (CO).
The men's pentathlon field included: Gideon Coprivnicar of Timberline (ID), Davey Newman of Herriman (UT), Travon Stevens Long of Benjamin Banneker Academy (NY), James Baker of Del Oro (CA), Patrick Nelson of Spanish Springs (NV), Justin Yaskowitz of Redondo Union (CA), Anthony Breglio of Discovery Canyon (CO), Luke White of Palmer Ridge (CO), and Braeden Holcombe of Palmer Ridge (CO).
The women's pentathlon started off with Elise Gillett of Niwot running a conservative 9.31 to take the first event win of the day. She would later go on to run 8.97 in the open 60m hurdles prelim while competing in the pentathlon at the same time. Behind Gillett was Karen Villa Medina of Jefferson at 9.77 and Emily Hopkins of Fairview at 9.87.
Next up was the high jump which saw Villa Medina claim her first event win of the day with a clearance of 1.59m (5'2.5"). Madissyn Moore of Palmer Ridge and CSTC and Annie Grinde of Boulder finished second with their clearances of 1.56m (5'1.25"). Moore and Grinde nearly cleared 1.59 as well but couldn't quite muster the jump as both took 12+ jumps on the day (Coaching error on my part). Villa Medina would be the pentathlon leader after two events, a lead that she would not lose for the remainder of the competition. After the high jump the ladies headed to the shot put ring where Villa Medina dominated the field with a mark of 10.18m (33'4.75"). The next closest mark was Grinde at 8.87m (29'1.25"). Josephine Coffey also had a good throw of 8.57m (28'1.5").
Long jump saw another CSTC event win as Madissyn Moore won the event with a mark of 4.87m (15'11.75"). The mark was a safe jump for the Palmer Ridge Junior who has a personal best of 5.60m (18'4"). Riley Negrey of Centaurus won herself some big points with her mark of 4.74m (15'6.75"). Hopkins and Gillett were right behind Negrey with jumps of 4.71m (15'5.5") and 4.69m (15'4.75") respectively.
The final event of the day for the ladies was 800m. In the thin air at 7,000 feet above sea level the 800m is a tough event for almost anyone, but even more so for multis athletes who often just try to survive the distance event. From the gun Villa Medina took off on a mission to leave no question as to who was going to come away with the pentathlon championship. She won her third event of the day when she crossed at 2:43.79. Hopkins was the second pentathlete across the line at 2:51.79 and Gillett followed at 2:58.45.
Once all of the events were totaled Villa Medina was the overall champion with a score of 3,002 and the No. 16 mark in the country. Gillett was second at 2,687 points and Hopkins third at 2,612 points.
The event started off hot with Colorado Springs Track Club (CSTC) and Palmer Ridge Senior Braeden Holcombe winning the 60m hurdles (8.39), Long Jump (6.78m/22'3") and shot put (12.45m/40'10.25"). Travon Stevens-Long of Benjamin Banneker Academy shot out of the blocks in the hurdles and looked to be cruising to an easy win but clipped the third hurdle and slowed a bit which allowed Holcombe to regain the lead. Stevens-Long finished in a time of 8.60. It was the same story in the long jump where Stevens-Long narrowly scratched two huge jumps in long jump and then on his third jump made a successful mark of 6.56 (21'6.25") with a jump that was over a foot behind the board.
Davey Newman of Herriman and Anthony Breglio of Discovery Canyon were right behind Stevens-Long in the hurdles running 8.62 and 8.66, respectively. Note that with those times the pentathletes would have finished 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th in the open 60m hurdle final, and Holcombe's jump of 6.78 would have won the open long jump.
The shot put saw Holcombe win another event but Patrick Nelson of Spanish Springs was right behind him with a throw of 12.02m (39'5.25"). Through three events Holcombe had a score of 2,282, followed by Stevens-Long at 2,146, then Newman at 1,980 and Nelson at 1976.
Through three events Breglio was sitting in 8th place with only 1,807 points. The high jump and 1,000m are somewhat of a specialty for the DCC Junior and he was determined to make up for some missed points in shot put and long jump. Breglio would go on to win the high jump in a new personal best mark of 1.85m (6'0.75") and narrowly missed a clearance at 1.88m (6'2.25"). Stevens-Long, Newman, Holcombe, and Gideon Coprivnicar of Timberline all cleared 1.82m (5'11.5").
The final event of the day for the men was the 1,000m. Breglio and Holcombe were determined and knew the task at hand. When the gun sounded the duo shot out to finish the job that had begun months earlier. 3.75 laps stood in front of each of the athletes and as each lap went on athletes began falling off the pace that the CSTC duo had set. Coming into the final 100m Holcombe surged ahead, but Breglio wasn't going to go quietly. On the final straightaway the two powered to the finish line and the clocked stopped to show 2:25.17 and 2:52.83 with Breglio taking the event win. Finishing a few seconds back was James Baker of Del Oro (CA) at 2:59.45.
At the end of the pentathlon CSTC athletes had won each of the five events and finished in third and first. Breglio went from 8th place after the shot put to 3rd overall with his performance in the final two events and was only 10 points behind Newman who finished in 2nd place. Newman (3,230 points) and Breglio (3,220 points) are now No. 7 and No. 8 in the nation for Pentathlon. Stevens-Long is No. 6 in the nation with his mark from earlier this winter.
Holcombe would win the pentathlon with a score of 3,662 points and for that he now owns the No. 2 mark in the country. He now has his sights set on New Balance Indoor Nationals in March where he hopes to come home with a national championship.