Rifle's Joey Kuheim nearly had to take on Mel Herl in last year's 3A shot put. It doesn't get much better this year, as the must take on Sand Creek's Mariah Walker--plus a few more. Colorado Track XC file photo.
Yes, Megan Patterson graduated, but Valarie Allman and a whole host of others are coming back. It's shaping up as a very nice year of throwing in most classifications.
Adaeze Obinnah of Grandview looks like a big favorite in the 5A shot put this spring, but Rachel Pott has had at least one indoor throw that suggest's the Poudre putter could be in this race as well. The rest of the field is well, well behind these two. Israel Espinosa of Fountain-Fort Carson sits at #3, more than two feet behind Pott's best mark from last year. As of this moment, there don't seem to be a lot of indications that this race is going to tighten up much.
The discus field lacks a clear leader with only three returning beyond 120 feet: Josephine Natrasevschi (Fort Collins), Brigitta Games (Chatfield), and Lorell Stuht (Loveland). Rachel Pott lurks on the fringes of 120. A savvy coach with a girl with really good mechanics could likely find an opportunity to exploit here. At this point, 5A girls throws are well behind 4A and running about even wth 3A. That doesn't happen very often.
You want to see big throws? Stand around the discus ring sometime when Valarie Allman is doing the slinging. If for no other reason, watch the spectacle because she is the best, and almost certainly the most consistent, discus thrower we've ever seen in this state. Allman very rarely makes a sloppy throw. She's seemingly never off balance. Even if you can't connect with throws at all, you owe it to yourself to at least see Allman throw.
But, as good as Allman is (and her shot put is pretty good, too), she's far from the only talented thrower in 4A. Let's start with a shot put field that includes Mariah Walker (Sand Creek), Tyra Cruz (Pueblo South), Allman (Silver Creek), Katelyn Davis (Widefield), McKenzie Nelson-Buehler (Glenwood), and Joey Kuheim (Rifle). That's six who come in with marks over 39 feet. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a very tough field. And with that kind of competition there's going to be enormous incentive to sharpen the delivery for each of these six young women.
The discus strings out a little more, mostly because Allman is so far ahead of the field, but don't lose sight of the fact that Kuheim and Haley Showalter (Valor Christian) are also both over 130 from last year. Caitlyn Arnold (Pueblo Centennial) and Dailyn Johnson (Longmont) come in over 125.
The legacy of outstanding throws in 4A marches on.
Mel Herl has gone to the college ranks, but she left a teammate behind in Keri Ruff. Ruff struggled a little at the state shot put last spring, but struggle is the breeding ground of learning. Expect Ruff to be older, wiser, and stronger this year.
Ruff figures to see most of her shot put competition from TCA's Hannah Carr, Holy Family's Katrina Gallic, and Coal Ridge's Britini Allen. Brush has a solid pair in Jordan Deslauriers and Kristen Berg. Sometimes magic happens when teammates push each other.
Ruff and Carr figure to challenge each other once again in the discus ring. Lamar's Summer Eberhard and Berg figure to be close enough to challenge in the discus as well. All others have some serious closing to do if they're going to make a run at the top.
For a likely preview of the state showdown of Carr and Ruff, drop by the R2-J meet on April 19. It's not often that TCA and Eaton show up at the same invitational.
Joanna Diaz (Crowley County) and Beth Lenz (Wray) not only had the longest discus throws last spring, but were likely also the most consistent of the 2A crowd. That makes them favorites for this year, even though their best marks aren't all that far beyond the best marks of Holly Lepro (Rangely) and Kylie Hodges (Hotchkiss).
The shot put takes on a little different look with Lepro well out in front, followed by Eboni Nash of Eads. Nash, in turn, is well out ahead of Bailey Atwood (Meeker) and Morgan Hartigan (Paonia).
And, if you stop and think for a moment, it should be dawning on you that the western slope is quite a bit better than proportionately represented among the state's best female throwers for this spring. That should make for good reason to visit the throwing rings at big western slope meets.
Madison Young (Dove Creek) and Alexa Feemster (Kim) come from opposite ends of the the state, but they have this in common--they are experienced at throwing their best at the state meet. Pencil these two in as your 1A most likelies in the shot put. But, there are four or five more within in foot or two, so we aren't yet seeing anyone holding any prohibitive advantage.
In the discus, nobody returns over 100 feet, which is a lot like saying this event is fertile ground for somebody to take over. Moffat's Megan Black leads the field at 96-0, but any lead at under 100 feet must be regarded as a tenuous lead.