Shepston Grits Out Thrilling Double At Let's Get REAL Champs

Gabrielle Shepston crumbled to the ground.

While she had just won the 400, gravity was winning now.

Her arms splayed out as she took deep breaths, searching for the limited oxygen inside the Cadet Field House, which sits at 7,048-feet of elevation just outside Colorado Springs, Colo. 

The Legacy junior's eyes were clenched shut as if searching for some distant utopia where pain didn't exist anymore. 

Because she was clearly in a lot of it. 

Red Line City

Several minutes earlier Shepston gritted her teeth and powered her way through the final strides of the 400. She downed a stellar field to win the event in 58.82.

And now, lying on her back enduring the intense pain that comes with when you've just flirted with your physical and mental limitsshe was paying for it.  

But this wasn't the first time this scene played out Saturday at the Let's Get REAL Indoor Championship - several hours earlier Shepston timed her kick to perfection to win the 800 in the final strides, clocking 2:21.01. 

Her victory in the 400 was her second of the day, and it was her third consecutive win in the event.

Back on the green turf each deep breath brought much needed relief, as Sheptson gradually came to. 

She willed herself back to her feet - battling back against gravity like she had the competition in each of her races - while teammates and competitors gathered around, congratulating her. 

"Gabby's on another level..." one of them said 

The comment rings true when we add little context to Sheptson's sheer exhaustion following her grittiness on the track.

Nearly 15-minutes following Shepton's victory in the 400 we caught up for an interview, and she revealed that she was sick, and unsure of how the day would play out. 

Despite the additional challenge, the Legacy junior's sheer competitiveness overpowered any lingering doubts or weakness that may have hampered her otherwise.   


Shepston took a pass on any excuses and came away with an impressive double victory. 

Editor's Note: She also PR'd in the 60.

The girl's 400 definitely lived up to the hype

You could say the fanning-out around the finish line was a theme Saturday, because not an hour later a similar scene played out. 

Only this one was a slightly different. 

A tiny voice cheered on from the sidelines, even attempting to keep pace on the infield. 

"Go Kahari!" she screamed. 

On the track Kahari Wilbon was pumping his arms and legs furiously over the final meters of the boy's 400. 

He had cleared the field before the final turn, and now was racing the clock. 

The lone Sub-50 quarter-miler in the field duplicated the feat, winning the event in 49.77 - just off his state-leading 49.54. 

Wilbon invited his young fan on to the Cadet Field House's blue track where they embraced in celebration of his victory.

It was one of the more sentimental moments of the day, and it literally came at the conclusion of the final event of the day.

The 2024 edition of the Let's Get REAL Indoor Championship was filled with great moments.

One of the biggest highlights of the day came from Karamoko Sacko

He not only torched the field, he dropped a US No. 4 of 7.77 to win the 60H by nearly half-a-second. 

Add that the performance was a Colorado No. 1

In the girl's 60 hurdles Gabriella Cunningham continued her indoor season of dominance. 

The Grandview senior sliced a few more hundredths-of-a-second off her Colorado best, running a state-leading 8.48. The time is the sixth-fastest in the country - behind her US No. 3 of 8.41 run last month. 

The win marked her eighth of the season. 

Cunningham also won the 60 in 7.59 - that was just a hundredth-of-a-second off her state-leading 7.58 from last week.

On the topic of doubles...

Bradie Menegatti had an impressive day herself. 

The Pueblo West junior first won the high jump with a 5-7 clearance - that's just one-inch off her state-leading 5-8 from last month. 

Several hours later she came back to win the long jump in a Colorado No. 2 of 19-1. 

The leap was a massive personal best for Menegatti, who had a previous outdoor PR of 18-2.

Sticking with the current theme... 

Anthony Smith swept the shorter sprints. 

The Mesa Ridge junior showed that he's someone you'll want to keep an eye on this outdoor season, as he won the 200 in a state-leading 21.89, but also doubled back to win the 60 in a CO No. 3 of 6.91. 

In the girl's 200 Amelie Campbell made no contest of the event. 

The Denver East junior ran a CO No. 3 of 25.05 to win the event by just under a second. Add that it was a Colorado PR for Campbell. 

In the triple jump Kaeli Powe leapt to 39-8.25 to win the event. The performance sits second in the state only to her 40-5.5 from last month. Powe also finished second in the long jump (to Menegatti) with a leap of 18-9.5. 

The girl's mile was another gritty battle that came down to the line. 

And this one went to the wildcard of the race - Caroline Fender - who's had a breakout indoor season. 

Fender kicked down Ella Hagen in the final strides to win the event in 5:08.92 to Hagen's 5:09.01.

The win was a four-second PR for Fender, who ran 5:36 indoors a year ago (she went on to run 5:19 outdoors.) 

The boy's mile not only mirrored the girl's mile, it felt like a bit of replay of two weeks ago, though this time it was Brogan Collins kicking to win on the line over Josh Shriver

Both shared the same second - 4:30 - though it was Collins with the .43 to claim the victory over Shriver's .97.

Of additional note, Collins' victory was the first race of his 2024 season. 

In the throws Charles LaFore dominated the field, sweeping the shot put and the weight throw. He won the shot with a toss of 60-0.75, and the weight in 73-8.5. Both performances were just off his state-leading marks.