Fountain-Fort Carson Opens With a Roar

Double Trouble: There aren't many places to hide when Markesh Woodson and Solyde Bankston take the track together. Photo by Alan Versaw.


Given that Fort Carson is right across the highway from Fountain-Fort Carson High School, it isn't surprising that Ben Montoya's Trojans have learned a thing or two about heavy artillery. "Shock and Awe" might well describe what the other 16 teams at Saturday's Banana Belt Classic were feeling by the end of the meet. A lot of fine track and field programs had very few answers to the speed and power of the defending 5A boys state champions.


This is a team that figures to leave a lot of destruction in its wake this spring.


From trackside of the boys' events, it looked like this:


Trey Talley wins the 110 Hurdles in 15.36, wins the long jump at 22-5, and wins the triple jump at 45-7.5. Kordale Taylor adds a second in the long jump at 21-10.


Markesh Woodson and Solyde Bankston go 1-4 in the 200 at 22.31 and 23.29 after a long day of sprints and relays. Earlier in the day, Bankston and Antonio Goode went 2-3 in the 100 at 11.37 and 11.38. Most spectacularly of all, Fountain-Fort Carson wins the 4x100 in 42.29, almost two full seconds ahead of a very good Vista Ridge quartet. F-FC wins the 4x200 in 1:29.56, more than three seconds ahead of Vista Ridge. Only a big anchor leg by Cheyenne Mountain's Nolan Mayhew in the 4x400 kept F-FC from sweeping the sprint relays.


At the end of the day, Fountain-Fort Carson had a 45.5 point advantage over second-place Vista Ridge in the team standings. The Trojans will likely need to develop a stronger presence in the throws and distance events to repeat as state champions, but nobody is left wondering about the verdict on the sprints and horizontal jumps.


Fountain-Fort Carson did not, however, claim all of the meet highlights. Some spectacular season-opening marks gave everyone gathered reason to be just a little more excited about what the spring will hold. Among those highlights were Nolan Mayhew's 48.16 circuit of the Dutch Clark oval (as a team, Cheyenne Mountain would post a 3:23.80 in the 4x400 later in the day), Vista Ridge's Brandon Cartagena going 11.15 to win the 100, Jake Fox and Postyn Smith of Cheyenne Mountain going 4:29 and 4:33 to sweep the top two places in the 1600, Anthony Erps of 3A Florence taking second in the 110 and first in the 300 hurdles, Mike Cernoia of Pueblo West opening with a 9:42 3200 in which he was clearly holding back for the first three laps, and 2A Cripple Creek's Ethan Browning winning the high jump at 6-4.


Bright spots abounded on the girls' side as well.


Kadeshia Rose of Mesa Ridge went 3-for-3 in individual events, winning the 100 in 12.33, the 200 in 26.40, and the 400 in 59.30. TCA's Alexa Chacon won big in the 100 hurdles at 16.45.Chelsie Horton of Fountain-Fort Carson gave us a new look by winning the 300 hurdles in 47.59. Beth Luckel of Vista Ridge toyed with the field in a very physical 800 before pulling away in the last 150 meters to win easily at 2:26.32. Shelby Stableford of TCA took a page out of Cernoia's book in the 3200, laying low for three laps before taking over and running to a large margin of victory in 11:35.71. Krystel Martinez of Pueblo Centennial swept the throws titles. Jordan Rand of Doherty went 18-8.5 to win the long jump, then came back with a 38-2 to win the triple jump. Teammate Kelsey English destroyed the high jump field with a clearance of 5-8.


Try to keep in mind these are season-opening marks and every last one of them was wind-legal. And, one of the most amazing performances of the day--a huge win by the F-FC girls in the 4x200--was wiped out by a disqualification.


Many, many teams competing at this meet look to become very strong competitors for state titles this spring. Doherty's girls held their own without top-tier thrower Alexis Cooks. Cheyenne Mountain's boys and girls both looked like more complete teams than preseason calculations indicated (keep a mental Post-It note on Cheyenne Mountain triple jumper Canyon Barry). The Vista Ridge boys showed that the last nine months or so have been kind to them--already a good team last spring, they are a solid team, especially in the sprints, this spring. The Classical Academy girls put a substantial chunk of points on the board in a meet laden with strong 4A and 5A programs. And, let's not forget about the winner of the girls' division--Pueblo South. Keep in mind that Pueblo South gets the services of Megan Patterson after four more meets.

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