Manitou's Taylor Finn was unstoppable all weekend, including when she left Dutch Clark with athlete-of-the-meet honors. Photo by Tim Hilt.
The weather has proven amicable this track season. Friday and Saturday at Dutch Clark Stadium continued this trend with temps flirting with the seventies, partly cloudy skies, and virtually no wind. In short, it was more of the same perfect track weather.
Times at the John Tate Challenge Cup reflected this as 17 meet records fell, five to the boys and 12 to the girls.
The tightest team race of the meet belonged to Division II Girls as Gunnison and Manitou Springs dueled over the weekend.
After events on Friday, Gunnison had a comfortable 31-point lead on the Mustangs from Manitou Springs, thanks in large part to the 16 points the Cowboys scored in Pole Vault. Maddie Smith vaulted 9-6, a new meet record, and Haley Shrieves went 7-0, giving the Cowboys a 1-3 in the event.
Discus reined another nine points for Gunnison with Alysha and Alex Wyman going 2-8. Alysha threw 96-1.
The Cowboys also picked up 10 points in the 800m from Hunter and Isabel Lucas. The sisters (?) placed 2-7 respectively. Isabel Lucas would return with freshman teammate Hannah Mueller in the 1600m. Their 3-5 placing delivered another 10 points to the effort.
Kelsey Hartwig's 33-3 leap in the triple jump was Manitou's biggest bump in points on Friday. Thanks to some change from distance and discus Manitou managed 17 points to Gunnison's 48.
Then Taylor Finn happened.
The Manitou junior only ran prelims on Friday. She came into Saturday the top seed in both hurdle events, and had anchor duties in two relays. Finn dusted the field in both hurdle events running 15.49 in the 100H and 48.80 in the 300H. Each victory was by more than a second.
Manitou's 4x100m bolted around the track in 52.36 and won the 4x200m by three seconds, clocking a 1:50.15. Finn had the Midas touch, as all four events in which she participated set new meet records. She was awarded the meet MVP across both divisions for her efforts.
Hartwig contributed again, winning the long jump. Angala Jensen and Alex Riley went 3-5 in the discus, and freshman distance runners Kaitlyn Davidson and Elizabeth Anderson combined for four points in the 3200m. The latter mihgt normally be a performance overlooked, but as the Mustangs bested the Cowboys 107-105, those four points proved to be the difference.
The boys team contest in Division II featured the same players, but significantly less excitement. This time it was Gunnison overcoming Manitou with a final score of 142-104.5. The separation for the Cowboys came from distance and off the track.
Junior Cooper Wiens performed very well in the 1600m and the 3200m running 4:35.10 and 9:53 respectively. The latter time would go down as a new meet record.
The Cowboy distance crew also won the 4x800m in 8:58.37, opening up a 28-second gap on the nearest team.
Jack Starkebaum won the pole vault and took third in the long Jump. His teammate Jack Murphy extended 20-2 to win the long jump. Tyler Koch and Barrett Fuller placed 2-3 in the shot. The same two throwers went 4-9 in the discus, this time with Fuller taking the higher place.
Manitou also had a decent day off the track with Austin Yost jumping to two seconds in the triple and long jump, and a third in the high jump. Danny McGee threw 127-06 to earn second in the discus. But where Manitou thrived is where it has historically thrived--the sprints and the sprint relays.
Between senior Malachi Peterson and sophomore Jared Keul, Manitou took firsts in the 100m through 400m with Peterson winning the short sprints and Keul setting a meet record of 51.50 in the latter.
Both athletes contributed to the 4x100 and 4x200 teams that took home gold medals. The 4x200m relay lowered the meet record formerly set by Manitou's 2013 relay team. Peterson was a sophomore on that team.
Outside of the high performing teams, Corban Pagnotta of Rye claimed the top rank for the 800m in 2A with his first place, 2:00.23 performance. Hoehne's Tyler Molter posted a 15.97 in the 110H, which earned him second and moves him up to fourth in the 2A ranking for that event. Vanguard won the 4x400m by just over 5 seconds. Their 3:34.85 places them 5th in the 3A rankings.
On the girls side of Division II Rye's 4x400m ran a 4:18.28 and their 4x800m a 10:13.76. Those relays now rank second and third in 2A, respectively. Calhan freshman Brittany Fuchs continues to dominate. She ran to a meet record in the 200m to the tune of 26.05. The mark trims a few hundredths off her top rank in 2A.
Fuchs dashed to another meet record in the 100m, but the 12.84 is a miniscule 0.01 off a mark set by Kayla Zink of Caliche on the same day at the Weld Central Rebel Round-Up. It could be an exciting duel at state.
It is worth noting that Alamosa ran up in Division I.
Speaking of Division I a Pine Creek Squad minus Ally Watt stormed the girls field scoring a suffocating 139 points. There were only six events in which they did not have girls score points. In two of those events, the 3200m and pole vault, the Eagles had no entries, and the normally-dangerous 4x100m dropped a baton prior to the last leg.
On the flip side, Pine Creek posted six victories: Mackenzie Howie in the 200m (25.14) and the 300H(43.91, a meet record), Heide Baron in the 400m (57.96), Amelia Harvey in the long and triple jump, and Sydney Marr in the Discus.
To make matters more impressive, Baron, Harvey, and Kaleigh Kroeker also took seconds in the 100m (12.59), the high jump (5-0), the 800m (2:21.06), and the 1600m (5:22.07).
Kroeker took a double defeat to the Till sisters of Cañon City, Katie in the 800m and Aubrey in the 1600m. This marks the second year in a row that Aubrey Till has won the mile.
The Till sisters also joined forces to scorch the track as a part of a 9:38.62 effort in the 4x800m. The mark secures the top ranking in 4A by 10 seconds.
Also hailing from Cañon City, Alexis Buckhaults's second in the 100H with a time of 15.80 places her fifth in the 4A rankings.
Widefield also had a nice showing, particularly Jordan Edmonds who won the 100m in a blazing 12.24. Widefield also claimed first in the 4x100m in 49.77 and the 4x200m in 1:45.43.
As a final Division 1 Girls performance of note, Mackenzie Butcher from Sand Creek vaulted 11-6 on Friday and occupies the second-place ranking in 4A.
The most outstanding performance of the day for the Division I Boys undoubtedly belonged to Austin Brant of Cañon City. Brant threw 159-04 to claim the discus title ahed of Beau Gordon of Pueblo Central. He traded spots with Gordon on Saturday in Shot, as Gordon's throw of 49-05 edged out Brant by two and and quarter inches.
The rest of the Cañon City Tigers followed Brant's lead, winning the boys team title with 97 points. Outside of throwing, the Tigers saw the biggest gains in hurdles as Trenton Stringari and Aaron McCoy swept the top spots in the 110H. McCoy tasted victory in the 300H by the razor margin of 0.03 over Jon Needham of Alamosa. Needham's time ranks first in 3A.
Coronado would take second behind Austin Micci's first in the 100m and Adam Egger's very patient tactics in the 1600m. Egger's did not take the lead until the final 70m in a crowded race.
Harrison's Eric Johnson ran a tidy 50.66 to win the 400m. The Panthers also took home a victory in the 4x100m.
Liberty's Lancers swept the 800m with two sub-2:00 performances by Jack Quinn (1:56.85) and Cameron Rathmell (1:59.36). Not surprisingly, Liberty also won the 4x800m in a time of 8:09.71.
Perhaps the most exciting event on the track was the 3200m. The race had six different leaders over the course of eight laps including Jamison Smith of Cañon City, Jacob Keen of Liberty, and Isaiah Del La Cerda of Alamosa.
In the final 300m it was Jericho Ulibarri who took the lead and held on to win by five meters. Unfortunately for Alamosa, a teammate stepped into lane eight while cheering, resulting in Ulibarri and De La Cerda's disqualification. Jamison Smith officially took the race with a 10:06.