There are several Colorado girls hurdlers you've heard a lot about already. Another one you might start hearing a lot more about is Taylor Klein. Colorado Track XC file photo.
It really doesn't get much better than it is in Colorado's girls hurdles right now. There are superlative talents and breathtaking performances almost everywhere you look. You won't want to be in line at the concession stands at Jeffco Stadium when the finals of either girls' hurdles events are on the track. Be in your seat or wonder what you missed!
It's a little difficult to imagine what George Washington's Dior Hall does for an encore this spring. Last spring, she set a national freshman class record in the 100 hurdles. Just last weekend, she posted an 8.28 in the 60 Hurdles at the Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle. You simply don't see hurdling like this very often at the high school level--no matter where in the nation you go. And that simple fact makes it a little tough to be Kami Mendez, Kaylee Packham, or Haley Brogan, all outstanding hurdlers in their own right, but not very likely to see a state championship in the 100 hurdles this spring. But, it should be an incredible state final.
Taylor Klein of Mullen has the look of the rising star in 4A hurdles, but Madi Goodstein (Glenwood Springs) has not yet held a press conference to announce she's throwing in the towel. This, too, could be a very good final. Canon City's Andrea Tuck is up next on the list of returners, but may have shifted her focus to multi events. We'll wait and see what the spring holds for the Tigers' premier hurdler. Green Mountain's Molly McDonald is another one to keep an eye on.
Tiffany Kenney is gone, but CSCS isn't done hurdling. Tori Cox gets to take on cross-town rival Alexa Chacon (The Classical Academy) this spring for local standing. Then, they both get to take on Gabby Pajak of Pagosa Springs at state. These three are well ahead of the field and that state title figures to come down to between these three unless there's a surprising new entry about to emerge in the 3A ranks.
This one has Telluride state title implications written all over it. TNT (Telluride-Norwood Track) has the top two returners in this event in the persons of Lindsey Stindt and Emy Ludwig. If they go 1-2 at state, this team is going to be very hard to beat. Those with the best chances of breaking up that potential 1-2 finish come down to Kayla Taplin of Dayspring Christian, Corrine Huthoefer of Vanguard, and Tori Mortensen of Sanford. These five were clearly a step (or two or three) ahead of the rest of the returning field in last year's results.
Logan Franek of Elbert dominated this event last spring and figures to be back doing the same this spring. Danielle Rinaldo may be the only serious contender, and her team points will be important for Merino as they set out to defent their 1A state title.
Thus far, Dior Hall hasn't dabbled in the 300 hurdles. It's difficult to say what might happen if she did. But, it's still an extremely competitive event without her. Loveland's Kaylee Packham and Lakewood's Haley Brogan are both outstanding 300 hurdlers. Times like 42.69 and 42.83 have a way of getting your attention. Either one could win this event in most years. But, winning won't come easy in 2012. To start with, Packham's and Brogan's best times from last year come out within 0.14 seconds of each other. Here is a look at last year's state final showdown between Packham and Brogan. As if these two are not enough, you can figure on names like Olivia Anderson (Cherry Creek), Kami Mendez (Denver East), Katie Weber (Fort Collins), and Margaret Hurst (Doherty) taking up the chase. Something has to give here. Maybe it will be the record book?
It really does look like Madi Goodstein and Taylor Klein once again in this event. Only this time, there appears to be a real advantage for Klein going in. Klein appears to be equally comfortable at either hurdle distance. Goodstein has consistently had her best performances at the 100 meter distance. Longmont's Molly Klotz and Valor Christian's Jenine Beckie are both longer shots, but not to be discounted on account ot the quality of coaching they figure to be getting this spring.
Alexa Chacon dominated this one in a bit of an off year for the event last spring. Among returners, she's 2.25 seconds ahead of teammate Hannah Watters, and nearly three seconds ahead of Ashley Applehunt of La Junta. Making matters worse (or better, depending on your perspective), Chacon spent a lot of time over the summer refining her skills. She comes back this spring as a better hurdler and a better athlete. There should be a lot of state points for the plucking this spring with only two returners having recorded times below 49 seconds.
After cross country, nobody doubts Corrine Huthoefer's endurance. And, endurance is a good thing to have as a strong suit in the 300 hurdles. Huthoefer, however, will find herself chased by the Telluride duo of Stindt and Ludwig. It doesn't figure to be easy to hold them off. This one should be a tough final. Almost 1.5 seconds separates any of these three from any of the other returners from last spring. Limon's Keturah Tatum, however, would be next in line.
Like the 1A 100 hurdles, this one should come down between Logan Franek and Danielle Rinaldo once again. Only, Franek may be a shade more vulnerable at 300 meters than at 100 meters. In any case, last year's results suggest this one should be closer. McKenzie Dalton of Hanover is the only other entry with a sub-50 mark to her name.