With Grayson Bundick something of a question mark coming into the season, Daniel Carr's 3A presence looms even larger than it would have been. Colorado Track XC file photo.
After several years of very solid throwing event marks kicked off, it would appear, by the Mason Finley era, is was a mostly very quiet indoor season for boys throws. It will be quite interesting to see how things work out in the throwing rings this spring. Several of the state's best throwers have recently signed NLIs for football; here's hoping we still get to see most or all of those big guys in the throwing rings this spring, but it's a well-known fact that the big-time football programs often have other ideas about what these young men should be doing in the spring before they begin their college football careers.
Interesting fact #1: There are only five 5A boys returning with shot put marks over 50 feet. Three of them come from Fort Collins high schools. The center of big throws marks has definitely moved north. Jacob Hanks (Ft. Collins) is the clear leader of this group. Alex Blaho of Poudre ranks an easy second. Deshaun Harris (Grand Junction), Max McDonald (Rocky Mountain), and Blake Jacobs (Thunder Ridge) round out the top five. There are points just waiting to be plucked off of this tree.
Interesting fact #2: Of the sixteen 5A guys who threw over 150 feet in the discus last spring, only four return this spring, to include Zach Golditch (Gateway), Austin Waterman (Greeley West), Stanford Cooper (Cherry Creek), and Harris. Cooper has some event decisions to make this spring, but with a thinned-down field such as we're seeing in the discus, it would appear that the discus would be a point-productive event choice for Cooper to make.
There hasn't been this much opportunity in the 5A throwing ranks in several years.
There are three 4A boys returning who threw over 150 feet in the discus last spring, and two of those come from the quietly growing throwing powerhouse program at Arvada. It's no accident that Jim Banich coaches throws at Arvada. For those outside of the circle of awareness, Jim Banich held the state shot put record until Mason Finley came along. Garet Krohn and Stephen Sowal would be two of the guys he's been coaching. Miles Bergner of Longmont is the other returner over 150 feet.
Turning our attention to the 4A boys shot put, Thompson Valley's Sam Baca finished last season about a foot out in front of a trio of other returning 50+ guys, including Marcus Johnson of Longmont, Samuel Mabany of Denver South, and Stanley Gilbert of Valor Christian. Mabany, if you will recall, launced one big throw at the state meet to put him into this kind of company. The potential is clearly there, but--at least last year--that talent was a bit on the side of raw. We will be anxious to see what another year of work yields for Mabany. If he develops to the potential that appears to be there, however, he could be the kind of guy who takes this whole thing by storm.
3A has its own Samuel Mabany in Ellicott's Alex Hill. Hill got a slightly earlier start on his rise to prominence than Mabany, but their profiles in the ring are eerily similar--tall, lanky guys gradually getting the feel of things. Hill gets to mix things up with Faith Christian's Grayson Bundick, Kent Denver's Brannon Jones, Bayfield's Michael Hawkins, Buena Vista's Daniel Carr, and Lamar's Hector Morales. Bundick is the only one returning with over-50 credentials, but he also returns with a big knee injury from football. It remains to be seen how Bundick fares this spring. He's been absent from the indoor season, a bit of a departure from the form of previous years. All that to say there's a lot of uncertainty afloat about how the 3A boys shot put will settle out this spring.
The picture has a much different look in the 3A discus. Not only are Bundick and Carr the only ones returning at over 150, they would also be the only ones returning who've seen the far side of 140. Trinidad's Nick Paradiso is next up in the order at 139-8 for a best throw from last year, ranking him about three feet ahead of #4. There are definitely points to be had in the 3A boys discus.
This would be Daniel Weirich's little fiefdom. Weirich could have had a 1A fiefdom, but Eads elected to compete up to 2A when the lines were drawn between 1A and 2A track and field a couple of years ago. Weirich's one credible rival in 2A graduated last spring and it will rank as a surprise of the highest order if he doesn't sweep both 2A throwing titles. He would be a threat to sweep the titles in any classification, for that matter, with returning best marks of 176-6 and 60-3.
Dallas Reynolds (Springfield), Tony Darling (Paonia), Ricardo Moreno (Yuma), and Ty LaFrambroise (Telluride) are the other 44+ throwers coming back. And it's a big gap between these four and the #6 position.
So far as the 2A discus goes, Corey Nordyke of Custer County starts the season solidly in the #2 slot.
You might expect to find a drop-off at 1A, but you'd be wrong about that expectation. Andrew Perry of Otis ranks as one of the states best discus throwers, with a mark from last spring of 170-7 to his credit. Bethune's John Griffin boasts a 140-3 throw of his own. Not only does Griffin figure to score big points in the discus, but those points figure to be very important in what looks like the beginnings of a state team title run for the Bobcats. Bethune needs the kind of support in that bid that Griffin can provide.
In the shot put, Perry's lead is a little more tenuous, but still substantial. His 47-9 from last spring is more than two feet ahead of the rest of the field, with Truett Box of Cheyenne Wells sitting solidly in second. Box is another three feet or so ahead of third.