Harrison Panther Invite: Hello, Banning Lewis Prep

Mikayla Hutchison is one big reason Banning Lewis Prep is no longer flying under the radar.

No, Banning Lewis Preparatory didn't win the meet--neither boys nor girls-- but they did leave a mark. The small(ish) new school on the eastern edge of Colorado Springs suddenly means to be taken seriously in track and field. 

In a meet of 28 schools, all from the greater Colorado Springs area, Banning Lewis Prep held their own. 

Any by "held their own," I mean Mikayla Hutchison won the 100 in 12.69 (-1.5) and finished second in the 200 in 26.51 (-2.5). Teammate Jaysa Even earned a second in the high jump at 5-1 and a fourth in the 100 hurdles at 17.19. As a bonus, the Stallions snared a fourth in the SMR.

If that doesn't sound like a lot to you, consider that Banning Lewis is a 2A school and has only been competing in track for five years (including last year's COVID-obliterated season). The Stallions have yet to send an athlete to state in track and field. Somehow, though, that's beginning to look like a distinction headed for the dust heap of history. 

Banning Lewis made the kind of noise that cannot be unheard at today's running of the Harrison Panther Invitational. Start paying closer attention to this school, please.

In the bigger meet picture, the Panther Invite was en route to becoming the largest track and field meet of the season-to-date. It looked and felt like a big meet. It's been a while since anyone in Colorado has enjoyed that sensation.

Among the highlights registered on the day were a pair of event titles for Discovery Canyon junior Quinn Patterson. The triple jump was a tight affair until Patterson launched a 35-6 in finals. That took care of any semblance of tight. Later in the day, Patterson would take the high jump at 5-2 and finish second in the long jump at 17-3.25 (-0.6).

The girl has a bit of Tigger in her.

Olivia Allison of Widefield ended up with the win in the long jump at 17-8.5.

Bethany Michalak didn't spend much time on the track today, but she did spend enough time to win the 800 in 2:14.31. We expect to see more of her later in the season. And probably in races that last a little longer than 2:14.

Jahzara Davis has won a few hurdle races before, so her victory in the 100s today didn't come as that big of a surprise, but her 15.21 won by half a second. Davis finished just behind Hutchinson in the 100 or she would have had a double for her efforts.

As big as these athletes' days were, however, the show stopper of the day was sophomore Brandon Hills of Vista Ridge. Hills won the 100 in 11.26 (-0.3), the triple jump at 43-6.5 (-2.0), and the long jump at 23-1.75 (-1.6). On my pocket estimator of best mark of the meet, a wind-legal 23+ at the long jump pit walks away with the day's honors.

Hills, however, was not the only male to double up on the day. Brian Rose of Discovery Canyon managed to win both hurdle events on the day with a 15.75 (-2.9) and a 42.38. Those marks aren't going to sweep the hurdles in many meets, but the double does set Rose's season on a nice trajectory. And, reps make the times drop.

Team-wise, honors went to Air Academy's girls with 65 points and Cheyenne Mountain's boys with 95. Cheyenne Mountain missed by Oscar Goll and one place of sweeping the distance events when Goll beat Erik Le Roux to the finish line of the 800. Knox Exton and Le Roux, however, took care of business in the 3200 and 1600, respectively.

Freshmen. Ah, yes, freshmen. We would be remiss not to take note of some nice freshman performances on the day.

Among those rising to the radar screen were TCA's Jordan Wenger going third in the triple jump at 41-0 and seventh in the long jump at 20-9.25. Teammate Matthew Edwards took second in the 3200 at 9:51.29. Lewis-Palmer's Jade Allen made a force of herself in the distance events with a fourth in the 1600 (5:42) and a fifth in the 800 (2:32). Then there was Sydney Cowan of Palmer Ridge, fifth in the triple jump at 32-11.5. And, of course, there was the aforementioned Bethany Michalak. It's just that Michalak scarcely seems like a freshman any longer.