Abi Grace McGee and Hannah Felice figure to be battling at state once again this spring. Colorado Track XC file photo.
You don't really need to be told that this figures to be a fun year for girls hurdles. Starting, but certainly not ending, with Dior Hall, this state is loaded with top-tier female hurdlers. It's a race where one mistake can completely do you in, but these girls don't make many mistakes.
Let's break it down by classification:
Dior Hall barely made it back in time after the indoor season to compete at state. But, she did make it back and she made it look easy. We'll look forward to the road to state being a little less adventurous this spring.
We haven't yet seen Ashley Miller hurdling in the indoor season, but the main thing you need to know here is that Miller ran a 13.86 flight of hurdles shortly after the CHSAA season was over. In just about any state except Colorado, that would make her the favorite to win it all.
But, in Colorado, Miller isn't even a shoo-in for second. The competition should be pretty fierce for any place at all at the state meet, and some of the names you'll want to be watching include Marlee Brown out of Colorado Springs, the Carlys (Lester and Paul) out of Fort Collins, and Kiana Gomez out of Brighton. All were sub-15s last spring, but if any of them can't take the heat this spring, there are plenty more ready to take their places in the kitchen.
Show up at a couple of early-season Colorado Springs meets and you may get a pretty good idea of how tight the competition figures to be in 4A girls. Rebecca Harris, Hannah Felice, Ashlyn Nolan, and Asha Mason each come off of promising 2013 campaigns. Rebecca Harris hit a hurdle in prelims and barely advanced to finals last spring. Once there, however, she took second and is the top returning finisher from state. A lot of life is about redemption.
Abi Grace McGee, probably the top hurdler on the western slope, figures into the fray as well, as does Amanda Campbell of Broomfield.
Alexa Chacon and Gabby Pajak are gone, leaving all sorts of room at the top. But that room doesn't figure to stay open long. You don't need tea leaves to tell you Taylor Finn (Manitou Springs) and Amber Bowles (Coal Ridge) are angling for top billing within the classification. They might be there for a while, too, as both were freshmen last spring. They probably won't see each other before state, however, so there could be an interesting little bit of tension building through the season.
Chelsea Applehunt, Marisa Danos, and Hunter Ash appear now to make up the second tier of 3A hurdlers, but also keep an eye on Sallie Tucker who was very proficient in the 300 hurdles last spring. The shorter flight of hurdles may yet be coming around for Tucker.
Miranda Mathiason busted out a big time at the state meet last spring and that catapults her over into this spring with the status of favorite. Highland mixes it up some with larger schools in their scheduling, so Mathiason should be pretty well tested by the time this year's state meet rolls around.
Looking to chase Mathiason will be Limon's Keturah Tatum. Tatum dabbles in more events, while Mathiason tends to stay more focused on hurdles. That could potentially be a telling factor this spring, but there is still plenty left to be decided about that.
South Park's Kacey Buttrick showed some nice improvement last spring and could potentially figure into this as well.
Realistically, this should come down to the three-person race. Those three would be Bailey Dodson (Wiley), Corissa Guynes (Dove Creek), and Jenna Zink (Caliche). Those three schools are about as far away as you can get in Colorado, so the trio will have to sharpen this spring against other iron.
Looking back to last year's results, a curious name appears at #4 on the list of returning hurdlers. Figure, however, that Rebekah Rairdon might be spending more time with distance events this spring since distance has become such a point of success for her in the last nine months or so.