Taylor Alexander celebrates a long-sought clearance at 12 feet with her father. Photo by Alan Versaw.
As expected, the high school athletes showed up in large numbers for the Colorado School of Mines Twilight. This time, however, it was not a choice between quality or quantity. This time, you got both. At least if you were there.
The Taylor Alexander story began with a first-attempt clearance at 12-0, a height that has eluded Alexander throughout her high school career. Emboldened by that clearance, Alexander picked off 12-4 and 12-8 in short order.
And, suddenly, Alexander is a top-10 nationally ranked pole vaulter.
We speculated before the meet how the Elizabeth entries in the 60 meter hurdles would handle the challenge of 42-inch hurdles. As it turns out, the same discussion was happening among the Elizabeth folks. Two of the three opted out, but Jacob Morse stayed in.
As it turned out, it was a great thing that Morse stayed in. Morse ran 9.00 in prelims to make the final by a thin margin. Morse proceeded to drop a 8.80 in finals to finish third in the event. Add Morse to the list of 4A hurdlers to take a longer look at in anticipation of this spring.
Although only a junior in high school, Brock Miller has already negotiated the Steinhauer Field House turns more than most people who don't wear Oredigger blue will in a lifetime. Evidently, experience pays off at Steinhauer. Miller parlayed his experience into the winning time in the 200 at 23.17. Ryan Eddings gave FK Elite a 1-3 finish in the event.
If you're thinking to yourself, "... but, but, 23.17 isn't that great of a time for the 200," it is clear you have yet to be initiated into the ways of the Steinhauer hairpins.
Joining Miller in a winning effort were Sydnee Larkin in the triple jump, Becca Schulte in the 800, Javan Lanier and Haley Rogers in the 60, Simone Watkins in the 200, and Zoe Gilbertson in the 60 hurdles. Larkin pounded the runway for a 38-5 PR for her win.
Schulte managed to stay in front of Mines' McKenzie Zeman around all eight turns of the race and stop the clock in 2:19.50 for her win. Then, after taking the first--and allegedly fastest--heat, Schulte had to watch from the side as Megan Mooney's 2:20.95 effort threatened to undo her win. Those two 800 times go straight to the top of the Colorado rankings for the season.
For Lanier, the winning time of 6.89 did not rise to the level of a new personal or season best mark, but it did get him back into the 6.8x range.
Haley Rogers, on the other hand, did establish a substantial new PR with her winning effort of 7.64. To put things into perspective, Rogers' 7.75 in prelims was a .04 PR. The effort in finals took another .11 off of her personal standard. Nationally, that has her--at least for the moment--in the top 20, pending publication of all results from the weekend.
Simone Watkins continued the high schoolers' take-no-prisoners approach in the sprint events late into the afternoon with a winning effort of 26.34 in the 200.
Gilbertson ratcheted a few notches upward in the national rankings with her 8.66. Here in Colorado, though, there were no notches to ratchet, but it did close the gap on Emily Sloan considerably.
In an interesting battle that rose to the level of seventh-place in the overall results, the past and present of the Peak to Peak 800 were paired in their own heat. In that showdown, Quinn McConnell outran Dallas Frisbie to a time of 2:25.24.
From the second--and allegedly slower--heat of the 3000, Hannah Capek found a podium. And the speech she delivered from that podium was rather convincing. Capek ran to a 10:48.91 time, ultimately finishing behind only Bailey Hughes of CSU-Pueblo.
Highlights from the meet's Friday evening action included Maya Evans finishing second in the long jump at 19-10.25, less than two inches off of first. A quick check of the annals says that is an indoor PR for Evans.
Four high school pole vaults--to include Geoffrey Lord, Brandon Hinkle, Max Manson, and Ernie Gendill, superseded 13 feet in the pole vault.