There won't be anything easy about the 5A girls 100 hurdles this spring, but Stephanie Gerber figure to be one of the last ones standing. Photo by Alan Versaw.
Arapahoe is a powerhouse track and field program. Everyone knows that. As such, nobody should find it terribly surprising that the girls program is inching closer toward being a state title kind of team. We saw the surge in cross country this fall; expect to see a similar surge this spring in track and field.
We can begin with the top-tier talent coming back from last year.
Stephanie Gerber is among the very best short hurdlers in the classification. But, it's easy to forget that she's coming back ranked in the top five in the 300 hurdles and triple jump as well. That's certainly enough to make an excellent start on a great state meet.
Taryn Phipps is another top-tier talent. Phipps finished sixth in last year's 400 with a 57-mid kind of time. A step or two faster, and she can move up the 400 totem pole a little. But, if you're paying attention to indoor results at all this winter, you've noticed that Phipps has dropped a hint or two that she might be expanding her range to 800 meters. The 200 was a already secondary emphasis last spring to the 400, but this winter's experiment in the 800 may represent a new direction for the promising sophomore.
Joy Dafoe has also shown promise at 400 meters which, in turn, might lead one to suspect the Warriors could be causing folks problems in the 4x400. Dafoe probably has better 200 speed than Phipps.
In the field events, Paris Duhamel (pole vault) and Sydney Davis (discus) both enter the season with marks right around the cutoff for preseason top 10. Both should be working hard toward working up the ladder in their respective events. Duhamel has also posted some nice sprint marks this winter, suggesting still more potential for Arapahoe at 200 and 400 meters this spring.
And then there would be that little issue of the breakout season for the cross country team...
For a team that didn't have much of a presence in the distance events last spring, Arapahoe had an outstanding cross country season in the fall. Rumor has it that freshman phenom Emily Wolff has a spring sport other than track and field in mind. But that still leaves a bunch of girls who have some serious potential. If Colleen Koenig, Ashley Rietman, Lauren Lipski, and Lauren Shomaker have the kind of track season they had on the cross country course, things could get very interesting in the upper echelons of 5A girls track. At the very least, it seems reasonable to expect a very solid 4x800 team.
While other teams may bring more high-end talent to the table than Arapahoe, it looks like it's going to beat Arapahoe in the depth department. If that depth can post enough points at state, Arapahoe could be trophy hunting come May.