Lamar's Adam Montoya is prominent among several 3A boys with a legitimate hope of coming home this weekend with a state title in the shot put. Photo by Alan Versaw.
It's more than a little dicey doing a state meet preview without the heat sheets in front of you. But, I don't want to try to cram all four previews into the time between the posting of the heat sheets and the start of the state meet on Thursday. So, here we go with 3A....
Over the past several years, the 3A classification has been top-heavy with high-end talent. This year is no exception. So, let's begin by taking a look at the event selections of several of the most prominent 3A athletes--in particular, those athletes with a lot of events (no offense intended to throwers, but throwers' events are typically highly predictable). In alphabetical order by last name:
Samantha Berggren, Middle Park - Berggren's events will mirror her events of the last two years. Although she once again dabbled with the 100 during the invitational season, her regional events were the 200, 400, 800, and 1600. Although she figures to be on the podium in each event, her most dominating event (at least in 3A) is the 400. Her schedule will have her busy on all three days of state.
Amos Bowen, Brush - In what registers as a little bit of a surprise, it looks as if Bowen is lined up to run the distance quad at state--800, 1600, 3200, and 4x800. Brush took a considerable move up in the 3A rankings in the 4x800 on the strength of their regional race, and the results show Bowen in the lineup for that race.
Ben Brewer, Cedaredge - Brewer ranks #1 in the 3A 200 and #2 in the 400. He's also an integral part of the Bruins' 4x200 and 4x400 relays. That's a tough schedule. It's conceivable that Cedaredge tries to sneak through prelims by holding Brewer out of a relay.
Geordan Brewer, Cedaredge - see Ben Brewer, above, only Geordan Brewer runs the hurdles and the 4x200 and 4x400. This makes the Friday of the state meet a huge day for Geordan Brewer. It starts out with the 300 hurdles prelims and continues with the 110 hurdles finals and 4x200 finals later in the day.
Ian Burrell, St. Mary's - "Ian who," you say? I would have said that, too, until this last weekend. Better to bloom late in the season than not at all. Here are Burrell's credentials--a wind-legal 11.20 in the 100, a just-over-allowable-wind 22.51 in the 200, and a wind-legal 20-8.75 in the long jump. I think there may be a 4x100 in Burrell's weekend as well.
Kaitlin Hanenburg, The Classical Academy - Hanenburg had a very nice 3200 at her regional meet, but otherwise kept a lower profile, advancing to state in the 4x800 and 1600 on prequals. That would match her event profile from last spring, but would also leave her as a relay possibility.
Ben Hinckfoot, The Classical Academy - Hinckfoot has been atop the 3A hurdles rankings all season long. Not surprisingly, he will be running both hurdle events at state and shows up on the Titans' 4x400 relay.
Rachel Hinker, Lyons - A lot of speculation ended on Saturday when Hinker was entered at her regional meet in the 100, 200, long jump, and the 4x100. That's down one relay and up one field event from last year. Hinker's addition makes an already interesting long jump field a bit more interesting.
Lindsey Hubbard, Valley - Hubbard competed in each of the sprints at one point or another during the season, but when it came down to decisions, Hubbard's name showed up on three relays (SMR, 4x200, 4x400), and her specialty - the 300 hurdles. That means a rigorous schedule of four prelims and, presumably, four finals.
Beth Jones, Eaton - It's been a bit of a quiet year to this point for Jones, but the defending long jump and triple jump champion will be back to defend her titles in those events. Right now, she's in the driver's seat with respect to the triple jump and in a battle royal with respect to the long jump. Elsewhere, look for Jones in the SMR and the 4x400 relay.
Tiffany Kenney, Colorado Springs Christian - If you didn't know about Tiffany Kenney before this weekend, you probably do now. An 18-10 long jump tends to get your attention. Kenney did not compete in the high jump at the regional meet, but did carry that prequalification forward. Her other state events will be the 100 hurdles and the 200. REVISION (05/17); Kenney did not carry forward her high jump prequalification. One would assume, then, that she will run on the 4x100 relay for CSCS.
Brandi Krieg, Grand Valley - Krieg figures to be a tired young lady at the end of Friday afternoon. It isn't exactly the distance quad, but it just might be more taxing. Krieg qualified out of regionals for the 400, 800, and 1600 and carried her 3200 prequalification forward.
Emily LaValley, The Classical Academy - LaValley led her teammates across the line in a regional sweep of the 300 hurdles. She also advances to state as part of a prequalified 4x800 relay and the open 800, leaving her open to participate in another relay as well.
Hayden Loudenslager, Faith Christian - Mr. Loudenslager will be busy, and mostly busy jumping. Loudenslager took prequals forward in the long and triple jumps and validated a 6-2 high jump from earlier in the season at the regional meet. He was also part of a very fast 4x100 team for the Eagles at the regional meet. Loudenslager may be the only remaining competing member of the team that last took state for Faith back in 2007.
Evan Marshall, Faith Christian - The Eagles' sprint ace appears to have carried a prequalification forward in both the 200 and 4x200. He ran the 100 and 4x100 at regionals. If all goes according to Faith Christian's plans, Marshall's hamstrings will be burning by Saturday afternoon.
Chelyn McCain, Coal Ridge - It figures to be the two hurdle events and two relays for the Coal Ridge Titan. The regional results, however, leave it unclear just which two relays to expect to see McCain to be running. Show up at state and find out!
Megan Patterson, Dolores Huerta - Yes, Patterson is a thrower, but we need to include her for one big reason: the DQ in the shot put on Saturday is a thing of the past. Look for her to make monster amends for that in the state shot put. And her discus isn't bad, either.
Ryan Poland, Denver Christian - like Amos Bowen, Poland is at least qualified to run the distance quad. Poland holds classification-best times in the 1600 and 3200, isn't far back in the 800, and ran on the Crusaders' state-qualifying 4x800 team at regionals. Given that the relay currently ranks #3 in the state, it would be somewhat surprising if Poland didn't run the relay.
Kara Slavoski, St. Mary's - Things have been a little on the quiet side for Slavoski this season, but her regional 800 signaled that she is ready to compete at a top level. Slavoski carried forward prequalifications in the 1600 and 3200.
Devon White, Machebeuf - White opted out of the 100 and 200 finals at the regional meet, but don't be fooled. Although I'm guessing here, it seems reasonable to assume White carried forward prequals in each of the 100, 200, and 400.
Sierra Williams, Cedaredge - At the bottom of the list may be the most compelling mystery of all. Williams was absent from the Cedaredge lineup (at least in terms of results reported) for the regional meet. She certainly has prequals in the 100 and 200 she can carry forward and would be able to participate in relays, but her absence from the regional meet makes for one of the biggest non-stories of the past weekend.
Now that the issue of who's running what is more or less settled (actually, it's not--I could make that list about twice as long as it is without any problem, but you have to draw a line somewhere), let's look at some of the more compelling event match-ups for the state meet:
Girls Shot Put - Did you know that the 3A girls shot boasts the two top-ranked shot putters in the state? It should be fun to watch Patterson and Wolaver heaving the metal ball around.
Boys 4x100 - Well over 10 prequalified teams. Several teams have already dipped below 44-flat. This relay is huge to the hopes of Faith Christian, Lyons, and Cedaredge. One muffed exchange and a lot of hopes wither--fast.
Boys 4x200 - This one is the prelude to the 4x100 and almost as stacked. There may be a team or two coming out of this one on Friday looking for redemption in the 4x100 on Saturday. At least six teams fully capable of taking home the first place medals.
Girls 300 Hurdles - Hubbard, McCain, and LaValley figure to make this one close at the end. Hubbard holds the edge going in, but there isn't any margin for error.
Girls 1600 - This has become an ongoing spectacle in the 3A ranks since the days of Rachel Gioscia. Before Gioscia, nobody in 3A had ever run under 5:10. Since Gioscia's junior year, nobody has won without going under 5:01. Last year's top five (Hanenburg, Slavoski, Berggren, Stableford, and Krieg) are back and all are enjoying solid seasons.
Girls 800 - Berggren, LaValley, Slavoski. Another encore performance of last year's top performers. There's a good chance a state meet record goes up in flames on this one.
Boys Shot Put - Adam Montoya and Lucas Navarro are about as closely matched as they come. A few others are within shouting distance but will need big throws to move Montoya or Navarro aside.
Boys 4x400 - Cedaredge and The Classical Academy have been trading off the state lead in this event the last couple of weeks. Behind them, Lyons and Coal Ridge are big threats. As is almost always the case with the 4x400, it should come down to which team can still draw big from the tank on Saturday afternoon.
Boys Long Jump - You have CJ Kukus of Brush who splits time between baseball and making incredible long jumps (unfortunately, most wind-aided, but what else would be new this spring?), Hayden Loudenslager, Jake Van, and Christian Fournier all out at at least 21-0. Add a little adrenaline and someone pops a huge mark? NOTE: Patrick Sullivan of Hotchkiss was also over 21-0 at his regional meet, but no wind reading was reported with his jump. So, it's not clear if that's a wind-legal mark or not, but it does rank him among the contenders.
The Denver Broncos should offer entertainment half this good!