Air Force HS Indoor Open Preview: Six Competitions To Watch

The 2023 edition of the Air Force High School Indoor Open launches off the starting line Saturday at 10 a.m!

New this year will be a one-day format.

After scanning meet entries, we've come up with six competitions you won't want to miss... Full meet entries can be found here: Heat Sheets

Girls 800

Usually Colorado's distance stars who race into December tend to hibernate a bit during the indoor season, though it appears that the hibernation period is over.

Bethany Michalak is slated to toe the line for the first time since her third-place finish at NXN in December. She'll be joined by Air Academy/Kokopelli teammates Tessa Walter and Jordan Banta

All three will be racing indoors for the first time this season, and for the first time since their squad (Air Academy) finished seventh in December.

A year ago Michalak won this very event in 2:15.21. While she runs this event sparingly, she owns a personal best of 2:14.31.

Jaycee Williams could make for a great race, however, as she's run 2:12.99 outdoors, and is the 3A state runner-up in the event. Likewise, Emily Lamontagne is on the entry list - she's run 2:13.95 outdoors.

Another runner to keep an eye is Elizabeth Jenulis - she's run a few indoor meets this season, with a best of 2:27, though she has run 2:16 outdoors.

The girls 800 is scheduled to run at 12:35 p.m.

Boys 400

Over the past month Tavon Underwood has made it clear that he's someone to keep an eye on. Several weeks ago he torched a 47.58 in the 400, which is a US No. 2.

Underwood has twice dipped under 48-seconds this season, and been under 49-seconds four-out-of-the-last-four outings. Clearly, he's on fire. 

If Underwood has any competitive shadows, it's like to come from Zack Ryan. Ryan has raced the event four times this indoor season, with a best of 50.24. Outdoors he's run 48.25. 

Underwood and Ryan have raced each other just once this season, and that race went to Underwood by nearly two-seconds. 

The boys 400 is scheduled to run at 5:10 p.m

Girls 200

Two of the top-three 200 sprinters are slated to clash here. 

State-leader Symone Adams and CO No. 3 Jaylynn Wilson are on the start list. Adams has run 25.01 in Colorado this season, though she's run 24.78 at lower elevations. Additionally she owns an outdoor PR of 24.38. Wilson has run 25.47 this season, and owns a PR of 25.24. 

In their one meeting this season Adams came out on top. 

Another runner to keep an eye on is Rachel Bair. She's run this event just once this season, though she is clearly working on rounding into pentathlon-shape. Outdoors she's run 24.89.

The girls 200 is scheduled to run at 1:50 p.m.

Boys 800

This event is stacked. 

The defending 5A 800-1,600-3,200 state champ Drew Costelow is set to open his 2023 track season here. Costelow hasn't race indoor yet, though given his resume, he'll toe the line as the favorite.

He's run 1:51.66 outdoors (and lower elevations), and won last year's 5A 800 state title in 1:52.11.

Reuben Holness could challenge Costelow for the W here. Like Costelow, Holness hasn't raced indoors this season, though he owns a PR of 1:53.41.

Likewise, Shalom Trowbridge heads to Colorado Springs with an outdoor PR of 1:55.01.

Jackson Fagerlin is another runner to keep an eye on - he won the 3A 1,600 state title last year, and owns an 800 PR of 1:57.42, as is Dane Eike, who has run 1:57.74.

You'll want to keep an eye on the clock as well, because the meet record is 1:55.19.

The boys 800 is scheduled to run at 12:40 p.m.

Boys 60 Hurdles

Two of the top-three 60 hurdlers are on the start list here. 

It'll be the 3A 110H state champion verses the 5A third-place finisher. Trey Ciccio and Jack Wetterling are slated to clash. 

Ciccio currently owns a state-leading 8.12 in the event. He's raced just three times, but has run under 8.40 each time. Meanwhile Wetterling has been busy this indoor season - he's raced this event eight-times, with a season best of 8.19.

These two have not raced each other this season. 

The boys 60H final is scheduled to run at 1:20 p.m.

Girls Pole Vault

While the live stream will mostly be focused on the track, we'll try our best to swing the lens over towards the pole vault as the bar raises, because the girl's pole vault is loaded

The top-10 ranked girls are all on the start list, including the 5A state champion, the 4A state champion, the 3A state champion, and a slew of state runner-ups. 

Kourtney Rathke heads to Colorado Springs as the favorite - she's coming off a 13-2.25 victory last week (where she unofficially cleared 13-10.) Officially, she's cleared 13-6.5 this indoor season.

The defending 3A state champ will have competition, however.

Anna Willis has gone over 12-5.5 four-out-of-four times this season, with a best of 12-8.25 - that's just a quarter-of-an-inch above 4A state champ Megan Kelleghan's 12-8. 

5A state champ Lilly Nichols has competed just twice this season, and both performances were over 12-1, with a season best of 12-5. 

One glaring stat all four of these girls share in common - aside from the fact that all four have won a state title - is that they've all cleared 13-feet outdoors. 

You'll want to keep an eye on the bar, because the meet record is 13-7.25 - by Anna's sister, Andrea Willis.

Flight 2 of the girl's pole vault is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. As mentioned above, the live stream will mostly focus on the track, though we'll do our best to scan over to the pole vault between events to capture the action.