3A Boys: Crushing Disappointment, a Jumper on Fire, and a Very Reliable 4x400

Ben Hinckfoot opens a huge gap on the third leg of TCA's 4x400 relay. Photo by Alan Versaw.


The crushing blow came late on Friday morning with the ominous call for the TCA's boys coach to report to the inquiry table. It's never good news to be called to the inquiry table, and this call was not the exception to the rule.


Ben Hinckfoot, who had dominated 3A hurdles all season, had been disqualified from the 300 hurdles after running a 38.99 in prelims due to dragging the trail leg around the turn. And, with that disqualification, what might otherwise have been a fairly comfortable road to a repeat state title for the TCA boys became a wild adventure.


That adventure culminated in the events of Saturday afternoon. Following the 3A 1600 midway through Saturday's events, TCA was up by 16 points. But Faith Christian smelled blood and the contest was on, led by an unbelievable sequence of heroics by FCA senior Hayden Loudenslager.


Loudenslager's afternoon was busy. It involved the long jump, the high jump, and a leg of the 4x400.


Almost immediately, Loudenslager went to the top of the long jump board with a leap of 22-3.25. The lanky senior overcame a miss or two in the high jump and stayed alive until 6-2 when it came time for him to run a leg of the 4x100.


Although Lyons won the 4x100, Faith Christian's second place cut TCA's margin to eight points.


Back to the high jump pit, where Torrey Smith of FCA exited the competition at 6-2, good enough for fifth place and five points, cutting TCA's margin to a mere three points.


Loudenslager moved back and forth between the long jump and high jump. The high jump became a thrilling battle through several heights as he, Danny Martinez of Cedaredge, and Nathan Nadow of Weld Central reached new territory with almost every clearance. Eventually, Martinez bowed out.


Meanwhile, Loudenslager retained his lead in the long jump, but TCA's Kevin Schwindt climbed as high as second on the board with a jump of 21-6.


In the end, Nadow prevailed in the high jump at 6-7. Loudenslager also cleared 6-7, but lost on misses. Brush's CJ Kukus eventually nailed the big long jump of the day with 22-6.25. But Loudenslager had done his work. Two seconds brought in 16 points to more than answer the six points TCA got in the long jump. With one event remaining, Faith led The Classical Academy in the team tally, 88-81.


TCA, however, may have no better event than the 4x400. Still, you never count relay points until the baton makes it around to the finish line. Ben Hinckfoot ran the third leg of the relay and gave an enormous gap to the anchor leg. TCA won the event in a time of 3:23.87, just off of their mark from prelims, making the final tally TCA - 91, Faith - 88.


It was the closest team contest of the weekend.


TCA got additional state titles from their 4x800 relay, Eric Versaw in the 800, Ben Hinckfoot in the 110 hurdles, and Kevin Schwindt in the pole vault. Seconds places came from the 4x200 relay and Josh Simkins in the 1600 and 3200.


For Faith, the only state title came from the 4x200 relay, but additional seconds were earned by Sam Yeager in the 800 and the 4x800 relay.


Machebeuf's Devon White led all individual finishers with the sprint triple, winning the 100 in 11.36, the 200 in a 3A meet record of 21.97, and the 400 in 48.94. There were no other multiple event winners among 3A boys.