4A: Almost Too Close to Call, Twice

Despite a big win in the 4x400, the Glenwood Springs girls came up just short of a state title. Photo by Alan Versaw.



The team contests in 4A have a history of being tight. And this year was even tigher than most.

And, when things are close, you frequently have unexpected heroes. Such was the case this year in 4A boys.

Longmont and Cheyenne Mountain fought to almost a dead heat through all of their expected scoring events.

Cheyenne Mountain got two seconds from Nolan Mayhew in the 400 and 800. Jake Fox contributed a third in the 800 and two more seconds in the 1600 and 3200. Chuck Zulanas added a sixth in the 800. Mitch Kasyon, Ludovic Funfrock, and Postyn Smith went 6-7-8 in the 3200. The 4x400 finished fifth. The Indians got 10 points from the 4x800. That left Cheyenne Mountain at 67 points.

Longmont got their usual distribution of field event and hurdle points. Steven Wacker won the pole vault, while Derek Wing tied for seveth. Throws were represented with Justin Reeding-Hansen taking second in the shot put, Justin Traxinger second in the discus, and Miles Bergner seventh in the discus. Braden Hitchcock went fourth in the triple jump and ninth in the long jump. Josh Cogdill got a seventh in the high jump. The pair added a third and two sixths in the hurdle events. The relays got into the act with a sixth from the 4x200 and a second from the 4x400. And so, Longmont stood at 67.2 points.

And all of that went more or less according to form. Sure, either team could have added a point or two here and dropped a point or three there, but--despite the differences in their areas of relative strength--Longmont and Cheyenne Mountain were pretty evenly matched.

The difference maker? A freshman high jumper from Cheyenne Mountain. Colt Sessions cleared 6-4 and tilted the balances in favor of his Cheyenne Mountain teammates. Cheyenne Mountain may have the reputation of a distance and middle distance school, but it was a guy with springs in his legs who turned the outcome in their favor.

As tight as Cheyenne Mountain and Longmont were, Widefield was not far at all out of the running. The Gladiators, propelled by two state meet records from Boris Berian in the 400 (46.93) and 800 (1:52.18), finished third with 61 points. Tony Carodine added another individual title for Widefield in the triple jump.


4A Boys 800 Meter Video

4A Boys 400 Meter Final Video

On an individual level, Mike Cernoia of Pueblo West and Hunter Warwick of Palmer Ridge closed out their respective high school careers with double titles. Cernoia won the 1600 and 3200, while Warwick triumped (with an exclamation point) in the 110 and 300 hurdles.

As close as things were in the boys' team race, they were even closer in the girls team race.

And the girls' team race proved that you don't necessarily need a lot of depth to win a team title. Just a little bit of high-end individual talent is often enough to get you there.

There may be no higher end talent in the girls' ranks this year than Wheat Ridge's Annie Kunz. Kunz won four events, giving the Farmers a 40-point advantage on the field. Not only did Kunz win four events, she set new 4A meet records in two of those. Her time of 42.39 in the 300 hurdles prelims will now stand at the 4A standard. Her time of 14.09 in the 100 hurdles finals also established a new meet record. The question of which is a better mark might make an interesting discussion someday.


4A Girls 300 Meter Hurdles Prelims Video

4A Girls 100 Meter Hurdles Finals Video

Kunz wasn't even done when she left the state track meet on Saturday. Later that afternoon, she helped Wheat Ridge to a semi-final win in the state soccer playoffs.

But everyone more or less knew Kunz was good for 40 points, or at least close to it, in the state meet. Wheat Ridge still wasn't at the top of most people's list of top team contenders. Wheat Ridge, however, got maybe just a bit better than expected performances from a couple of 400 meter runners in Payton Miller and Kait Boisnard. Miller finished second and Boisnard ninth in the open 400. The team came back to key the 4x400 relay to a second-place finish, leaving Wheat Ridge with 57 team points.

Mullen countered with individual titles in the 100 and 200 from Christine Scott. Scott also played a major role in Mullen's 4x100 and 4x200 titles. That effectively canceled out Kunz's point total.

Freshman Taylor Klein, perhaps the next hurdle phenom in Colorado, contributed a second in the 100 hurdles and a third in the 300 hurdles. The Mullen 4x800 finished eighth, scoring two more points.

And the decisive point? That one was contributed by sophomore Amanda Diaz in the 800. Even the seemingly small contributions can tilt the balance.

Glenwood Springs finished third with 53 points. It's beyond doubt there were a few thoughts somewhere on the way back over Vail Pass over what could have been, but the Demons had a good meet and distributed their points a lot more evenly than either Mullen or Wheat Ridge. It just wasn't the year to be a balanced team entry in the 4A girls team title chase.