Niwot Sweeps The Colorado State T&F Champs: 4A Recap

In the 100 the top-three were separated by less-than a tenth-of-a-second. 

The photo above is what that looks like. 

Riverdale's Braylon Fenderson took the state title just under 11-seconds, running 10.96. Justin Blanton, who tripled, finished second in 11.00, which was just ahead of Nathaniel Richardson's 11.05.

Several hours later Blanton battled Ryan Chacon around the corner in the 200, and once again hit the finish line second. Chacon won the title in 21.96, while Blanton was second in 22.05.

Blanton didn't go back to the Western Slope without gold, however. The Central (GJ) junior ran away with the 400 several hours earlier, beating Chacon. Blanton ran 47.84, while Chacon was second in 48.13.

Zane Bergen swept the distance events in dominating fashion. 

The Niwot junior added the 800, 1,600, and 3,200 to his cross country state title, tallying four for the year, and three for the 2021 state track meet. 

Friday Bergen got rolling in the 800, running a personal best of 1:51.26. Longmont's Connor McCormick also PRd, running 1:53.32, which was just ahead of Grayden Rauba's 1:53.40, and Charlie Welch's 1:53.52.

Saturday afternoon's 1,600 in the rain showed the true depth of the distance events this year. 

Jackson Shorten set a hot pace that insured this race would be no kicker's delight. The field hit the halfway point in 2:03, and even then, Bergen had gears. 

The Niwot junior shifted into the final 500 meters and ran the bell lap alone, just as he had twice before. 

Bergen picked up his third state title in three days, running a 4A state meet record of 4:09.51. 

McCormick tallied his second runner-up finish in two days, running 4:13.37, while Shorten held on for third in 4:13.89. 

On the topic of depth - two years ago it took 4:24.80 to score points in the 4A 1,600. This year it took 4:16.47 (two years ago this would've won state.) Additionally, four broke 4:15, and nine broke 4:17 this year. 

It appears the bar has been raised...

Moving along.

What makes Bergen's 4:09.51 victory all the more impressive is the fact that it was his third state title in three days - he won his first Thursday morning, in the 3,200. 

It was perhaps the most tactical 3,200 of the state meet. The early pace lagged, as the pack ran the second lap in 1:20, and the third in 1:15. With each passing lap it looked all the more likely that this one would end with a wild kick. 

And it did. 

Simon Saia was the first to pounce. Right after the first mile of 4:55 the Niwot senior attacked hard, and opened up a two-second lead.

Saia's two-second lead remained in tact into the bell, though Bergen took flight into the final lap and caught his teammate on the backstretch. 

Bergen's kick went unrivaled, and he captured his first state title of the meet by closing in 59.10 for a 9:18.78. 

His final 1,600 was a jaw-dropping 4:22. 

Saia made it a Niwot 1-2 finish, running 9:22.09, while Erik Le Roux kicked late to finish third in 9:22.67. 

In the 110 Hurdles Brian Rose cleared the competition and dipped under 15-seconds. The Discovery Canyon junior ran 14.75 for the state title. 

Meanwhile, the 300H went down the final strides. Derek Allen and Bennett Feldenkirchen were separated by just over a tenth-of-a-second, with Allen claiming the state title in 38.73 to Feldenkirchen's 38.86. 

Cheyenne Mountain won the 4x100, while Erie ran away with the 4x200. Frederick won a title 4x400 battle over Niwot, who won the 4x800 two days earlier. 

In the pole vault Becker Ell cleared 16-0 for a new 4A state meet record.

In the field events Eddie Kurjak went two-for-three. 

The Longmont senior won the high jump with a an impressive clearance of 7-0. Kurjack also won the triple jump in 45-05.75, and he finished second in long jump to Daryon Wilson

Wilson leapt to 23-5.25 for the state title, while Kurjack landed at 22-6 for second. 

Avery Shunneson swept the throws, winning the discus in 192-6, and the shot put in 54-8. 

Bergen's sweep of the distance events led Niwot to the overall team title, as they tallied 90 points. Longmont took second with 59 points, while Cheyenne Mountain slid by Roosevelt, tallying 45.5 points to Roosevelt's 45. 

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