The Best of 2009

 A quick little tour of the best of cross country and track and field in Colorado for the year 2009. Colorado Track XC file photo.


January 3 - Mason Finley starts out the year with an exclamation point, tossing the shot 68-0 at the Colorado All-Comers Indoor meet.


January 18 - At the Air Force Indoor Invitational, Jeremy Rankin blazes a 6.69 60 to put himself atop the national rankings for that event.


January 25 - Freshman phenom GinAsia Hamilton continues her tour de force of the indoor circuit, winning the 60 (7.85), the 200 (25.28), and the 400 (58.14) at the Martin Luther King Mi-High Classic.


February 8 - Allie McLaughlin foreshadows her college XC debut by finishing fourth at the USATF National XC Championships with a time of 21:10.


February 20 through 22 - Alex Weinheimer wins the Simplot Games 800 in a breathtaking 1:53.11. Colorado athletes take four of the top five places in the 60 hurdles as well. Kyle Macintosh won in 7.90. Tarique and Tashaun Hill both finish in under 8-flat, and Cory Engel rounds out the top five.


March 15 - Colorado athletes come home from NSIC and NIN with some very nice placings. Jeremy Rankin won the 60 meters at the NSIC in 6.71. Chase Cooper won the pole vault a NIN, clearing 16-0. Also at NIN, Wes Rickman takes second in the two-mile with a time of 9:01.12.


March 21 - Mason Finley throws the shot put 66-8 at the Pueblo Centennial Invitational to make his first rewrite of the season of the Colorado high school shot put record.


March 28 - A big snowfall along the Front Range wipes out most of the weekend's meets. For the meets that did go off, however, Andrew Roberts established a season-best time of 4:23 in the boys 1600 and Samantha Thompson a 2:16 and 5:04 to raise the bar in the girls' 800 and 1600.


April 3 - Aldric Brown of Castle View has a very nice afternoon at the Sand Creek Scorpion Invitational, clearing 6-9 in the high jump to set the early season standard for that event.


April 4 - Moffat County athletes have a field day at the Frank Woodburn Invitational. Despite the cold weather in Grand Junction, Erin Urbanoski wins the long jump with a leap of 17-10.5 and Brian Ivy wins the triple with a combined leap of 44-5.


April 11 - The Mullen Runners Roost Invitational always draws some of the best talent in the state. This year, however, they also drew some of the worst weather in the state. Despite that, some fine performances were put up by the athletes on hand. Eleanor Fulton takes the 2009 1600 standard below 5:00 with a 4:57.08, Katie Kruger dominates the throws with a 44-5 and a 133-7, and Liz Tremblay runs a 56.07 400 despite a serious headwind on the finish straight. Down in Pueblo, under much more favorable conditions, Kara Slavoski runs 11:09.50 in the 3200.


April 18 - Bad weather strikes again and many Front Range meets are again canceled or postponed. Those who went to the Kansas Relays had better outcomes. Jeff Warren takes the boys 800 in 1:56.06, Samantha Thompson the girls 800 in 2:13.37, Chase Cooper the pole vault in 16-9.25, and Kelby Dias the 110 hurdles in 14.36.


April 20 - At a make-up of the Gunnison Invitational, Mason Finley shatters the state shot put record with a heave of 71-3.25. He also breaks the discus record at 223-4.


April 24 - A big showdown between Thompson Valley and The Classical Academy goes down in the girls 4 X 800. Thompson Valley wins in 9:04.94. The Classical Academy runs 9:17.48. The times go down as #2 and #6 in the nation on the season. Thompson Valley comes back later in the evening to run a 3:51.93 in the 4 X 400. Loveland's girls run 1:42.84 to win the 4 X 200.


April 25 - The all-time national high school discuss record falls to Mason Finley. Just before leaving for prom, Finley throws an amazing 236-6 at the High Altitude Challenge in Alamosa.


May 1 - Evan Appel catches some ideal conditions in Grand Junction to put some heat on Brent Vaughn's state 3200 record. Appel just misses with a 9:07.82. On Saturday, at the same meet, Erin Urbanoski extends her season-best long jump mark to 18-4.


May 14, 15, and 16 - A few state records fall, including the 4 X 400 and 4 X 800 records for both 3A and 4A girls and the Thompson Valley and Classical Academy girls dominate. Laura Tremblay smashes the 4A girls 1600 mark for the trifecta. Sister Liz Tremblay notched a trifecta of her own by taking down the 4A 400 record with a 55.19. Kelsey Lakowske wins an intriguing 5A girls 3200 and Andrew Berberick comes out on top in a very competitive 4A boys 1600. Trent Ireland surprises in the 4A boys 100 field. Team titles belong to (boys): Littleton, Mullen, The Classical Academy, and Wray and (girls) Littleton, Thompson Valley, The Classical Academy, and Akron.


June 19 - In one final hurrah together, the Thompson Valley girls go 8:57.84 to finish second in the 4 X 800 at Nike Outdoor Nationals. This goes down as the first time a Colorado girls team has eclipsed 9:00 in the event.


July 10 - Eleanor Fulton runs 6:37.31 to finish sixth in the 2000 Meter Steeplechase in the World Youth Championships in Italy.


September 4/5 - Fort Collins and Highlands Ranch open the girls cross country season with big statements. Fort Collins beats Boulder at Boulder's own meet and Highlands Ranch goes 1-2-3 with individuals at the Poudre SD Pre-State meet in Fort Collins. Cherry Creek nips Regis Jesuit on the 5A boys side of things.


September 11 - In an early-season match-up of two of the top boys talents in the state, Scott Fauble defeats Walter Schafer at the Cherry Creek Invitational.


September 12 - The St. Vrain Invitational hosts some of the top talent in the state. Kelsey Lakowske of Boulder wins the individual title, but the team title goes to The Classical Academy.


September 18 - Somehow, Liberty Bell never disappoints. The individual titles go to some big names. In Divisions I and II, it's Kelsey Lakowske, Eleanor Fulton, Walter Schafer, and Scott Fauble. Team-wise, Fort Collins takes Boulder again for the Division I girls title.


September 22 - Evergreen posts some sizzling times at the Chatfield Challenge. The Evergreen girls have clearly emerged as the team to beat in 4A girls, and the boys aren't running far behind that standard.


September 24 - After a ragged start to the season, Coronado posts a very nice win over Arapahoe at their own invitational. Dusty Solis continues a string of very nice performances that has him looking like a dark horse candidate for the 5A boys title.


September 26 - Salida, after winning big at its home invitational, is starting to cast a shadow over the 3A boys field. Essentially overlooked at the beginning of the season, the Spartans are looking like a very good team and Josh Noriega a very solid individual.


October 3 - In a showdown as good as it gets in high school cross country, The Classical Academy girls defeat Ft. Collins by a single point, setting up a rematch that won't happen until November 21. Although neither school has the top individual finishers at the meet, Rocky Ford and Nederland make statements as the class of the 2A field at the Limon Invitational.


October 10 - The weather turns horrendous along the Front Range and meets cancel right and left. Little is salvaged of the last weekend of invitationals.


October 15, 16, 17 - League meets take place all across the state and Kelsey Lakowske's huge win up in Loveland gets most of the attention. A spectacular season is shaping up for the Boulder junior. Adam Sinda and Colin Brewster stage a battle royal in the Jeffco 5A contest. The Alamosa girls appear to have things righted, after a rocky mid-season run, at the South-Central League meet.


October 22, 23, 24 - Regional qualifying is done without many major surprises. The Mancos girls defeat Crested Butte by a single point in a much-anticipated match-up in the snow in Aspen. The Classical Academy boys edge Salida's boys on a one-point tiebreaker in 3A. Evergreen sweeps 4A Region 1. The Fort Collins boys and girls look equally impressive in 5A Region 4. Cherry Creek's girls, bouyed by the return of Clare Gallagher, are starting to have the look of a 5A contender.


October 29 - The aftermath of a huge early-season snowfall postpones state to November 7


November 7 - With times slightly off what they were in 2008, the competition doesn't take a break. Kelsey Lakowske and Scott Fauble post the best times of the day, but 3A is well represented among individuals by Ryan Poland and Kaitlin Hanenburg. Team titles go to Regis Jesuit and Fort Collins (5A), Greeley West and Alamosa (4A), Salida and The Classical Academy (3A), and Rocky Ford and Nederland (2A). For The Classical Academy, it is a record-tying seventh consecutive state championship. For Alamosa, it makes Larry Zaragoza the only coach to win both boys and girls state championships at two different schools. For Greeley West and Alamosa, it is sayonara to 4A. The Rocky Ford boys run their state title streak to three.


November 21 - Fort Collins and The Classical Academy dominate the girls field at NXN-SW, with Fort Collins avenging the loss to TCA on October 3. Both teams advance to NXN. Eleanor Fulton and Kaitlin Hanenburg go 1-2 among girls individuals.


November 28 - Colorado once again qualifies five individuals for Foot Locker Nationals: Walter Schafer, Scott Fauble, Danny Nicolls, Ryan Poland, and Kelsey Lakowske.


December 5 - Colorado acquits itself well at Nike Cross Nationals. Fort Collins enjoys the race of their dreams to finish third in the elite field. Pikes Peak (The Classical Academy) moves up four places from their 2008 finish to claim ninth. Eleanor Fulton finishes fifth among the girls individuals.


December 12 - The high school cross country season closes with a 6th-place finish for Kelsey Lakowske. After running with the lead group for much of the race, Walter Schafer fades a little in the boys race and none of the Colorado boys contingent cracks the top 15, though all finish in the top 30 at FLN.