On a day where many top athletes were dealing with subdued performances, Carly Lester seemed very much on top of her race. Colorado Track XC file photo by Alan Versaw.
A preemptive decision on Friday by Meet Director John Reyes to delay the start of the Grandview Invitational turned out to be sensible given the cool, damp, and blustery conditions that welcomed seventeen teams to Legacy Stadium on Saturday. A venue known for mixed and unsettled weather, due to its proximity to Aurora Reservoir (Lake Effect?), today would not be the exception to the rule. Nevertheless, the chilled and wind battered athletes managed several performances of note in this well-run and well-managed meet.
In unordinary--yet not unheard of--fashion, this meet featured the 3200 meter run as the first event. Pomona notched double winners in Cami Kennedy for the girls and cross-country champion Marcelo Laguera for the boys. Both won handily. Laguera's victory set the tone for the Panthers who eventually eked out a narrow one-point victory over host Grandview for the team title.
Nationally ranked hurdler Carly Lester of Rocky Mountain continued her return to form from a recent injury. She dominated both of her events, the 100 hurdles in 14.30 and the 300 hurdles in 42.65--quite impressive, considering the conditions. Two other nationally ranked girls were conspicuous in their absence. Cherokee Trail's Shayna Yon won the high school division of the 100 meter dash at the Kansas Relays on Friday. Grandview's Michaela Onyenwere, though in attendance, appeared to be nursing a lower leg injury.
ThunderRidge's Emma Atwell and Smoky Hill's Jamie Jezier staged a nice battle in the 800 meter run. Atwell outlasted Jezier, 2:16.75 to 2:17.10. Also returning to form was Legacy's Emma Gee with a nice 5:09.42 to claim the 1600.
Arapahoe's Julia Hall appeared to be in top form in taking the 200 meters in 25.10 and leading the Warriors' 1600 meter relay to a strong 4:03.47. However that time wasn't quite enough to catch the ThunderRidge girls and their 4:02.42, very strong considering Emma Atwell and Kamryn Hart were doubling back on very short rest from the 800 in the absence of the 3200 meters in its normal spot.
The field events seemed most affected by the weather. However, some of the highlights included Aumni Ashby, yet another discovery in the jumping events for Cherokee Trail, taking a come-from-behind win in the triple jump. Pomona's Hannah McClure best dealt with less-than-ideal conditions in the shot put ring to outlast Chaparral's Jennifer Calascione - who would later claim the discus.
Arapahoe's talented and deep squad would take home the girls team title over ThunderRidge.
Javan Lanier of Regis captured the boys 100 meter dash in a wind-aided 10.80. Lanier continues to climb the ranks of favorites in 5A on the heels of his strong performance at Mullen Runners Roost last weekend.
Legacy's Aaron Ragin was impressive in fighting through a stiff wind to claim the 400 meters. It seemed as if this event was the one most affected by wind of all the events on the oval, as times across the board for both boys and girls were slower than normal.
The Grandview hurdle duo of Isaiah Brown and Tristan Sisneros went 1-2 in the 110s. Again, the times were stunted by the upper 30s temperature during the morning event.
In the 1600, Chaparral's Devin Reasoner utilized a strong kick to overcome the big lead of the more heralded Bryan Hird from Rocky Mountain. However, times here were also “slowish."
Arapahoe Warrior Austin Lienemann laid down a nice time of 39.35 in taking the 300 hurdles.
The boys 4x200 relay was quite competitive considering the chill. Regis and Javan Lanier took it in a swift 1:29.77, with three other squads dipping under 1:31.00.
Smoky Hill dominated the 4x400 and 4x800 relays, the former in 3:24.95 and the latter in 8:08.47, benefitting from a 1:54 flat relay carry from Blake Yount.
In field events, Regis welcomed another 20 points as Austin Campbell scaled 6'7" to win the high jump over Highlands Ranch's Trevor Rex, and Rayvon Solomon bounded to the title in the triple jump.
Arapahoe's Zach Ray, no doubt affected by the gusty winds, won the pole vault in a lower than usual height of 14'0".
Highlands Ranch's Ben Morgan leapt 22'5" into a stiff wind to win the long jump.
As the seventeen teams flowed out of Legacy Stadium at the end of the meet they were likely perplexed by the sunny, calm, and warmish weather that greeted them for their drive home. Hopefully they were feeling good about “powering through" in adverse conditions and reflecting on many strong performances that lay in their wake.