Roya Burton, Kiera Brown, Abby Simpson, and Kerry Turner (left to right) get things started in the girls 100 at Saturday's Pueblo Centennial Invitational. All photos by Alan Versaw.
There was a time not many years back when Pueblo Centennial coach Tim Mondragon was concerned if he made his meet a prequalifying meet, he would lose several of the teams that came. That's your short course in history.
The Pueblo Centennial Invitational has become one of the more popular spring break weekend meets. And that just might have something to do with the convergence of a good facility, a well-run meet, good competition, and the reliable Pueblo warmth. Only this year, "warmth" slid over into "heat."
But, it's not only the temperature we're talking about when we speak of the heat.
With Mullen bringing their teams down this year, several interesting matchups took the track. The first real showpiece event of the day matched Mullen's Taylor Klein versus TCA's Alexa Chacon in the 100 hurdles (photo, below). Klein and Chacon stayed in near-perfect synchronization over each of the hurdles until Klein surged into a tiny lead at the end, taking the victory in 14.97 to 15.08 (+1.4). The marks take Klein and Chacon to the top of the 4A and 3A rankings, respectively, on the season.
At almost the identical time that the 100 hurdles heats were taking place, the competition was warming up in the shot put ring as well. For those who haven't visited Dutch Clark Stadium in a while, the infamous right-field power alley of the Dutch Clark shot put sector is a thing of the past. The shot put sector now bends away from the river, rather than toward it, and--if anything--shot putters must throw slightly uphill at Dutch Clark.
Slightly uphill was no problem for these guys.
Rye's Ty Van Oort (pictured, left) pitched a season best 51-2, while being closely pursued by Pueblo South's Kendal Medina at 50-3, and Mullen's Arthur Flores at 49-4. Medina and Flores also both posted season-best marks in the event.
Moments later, Mullen's Jaylyn Mars scorched a 10.65 100 meters, only to have a +2.4 wind erase the mark. The girls' 100 suffered no such misfortune, however, as Pueblo County's Abby Simpson edged Liberty's Kiera Brown, 12.26 to 12.33, with a +0.6 wind.
The day was far from over for Mars and Simpson, however. Mars came back to win the 200 in 22.15 (-0.6), while Simpson would dominate the 200 in 25.54 (+0.5), and edge TCA's Allison Kropkowski in the 400, 57.22 to 57.57. Both Mars and Simpson should be among the most serious contenders for 4A sprint crowns later this spring.
Taylor Klein would come back later in the day to post a 45.08 mark to win the 300 hurdles.
TCA's Lauren Hamilton, who spend most of her freshman season on the shelf with a hip injury, staked South's Taylor Lopez-Cepero an early lead in the 800, but came back to track Lopez-Cepero down on the final turn, winning with a 2:23.75.
Sand Creek's girls relays had another nice day, winning the 4x100 and SMR8 events. The Scorpions' Rebecca Harris added a win in the high jump at 5-3.
In a final note about the girls' outcomes on the day, those tracking Pueblo South as a contender for the 4A state crown later this spring have another name to keep tabs on. Jayma Martin has done some previous damage in the 100 and long jump, but her 18-2.75 (+0.1) in the long jump puts her at a whole new level of performance. You can't help but be impressed with the pieces the Colts are putting together.
On the boys' side, Palmer's Ben Goodman avenged his defeat at the hands (and feet) of Logan Stout last week by winning the 400 in 49.44. Goodman doubled his fun with a win in the 800 about an hour later.
Despite the mid afternoon heat in the Dutch Oven, Liberty's Michael Claflin and Garret Kenyon, plus Pine Creek's Zachary Alhamra, each dipped below 10:00 in the 3200.
Pueblo South's Alec Willard took home two hurdle titles, winning the 110s in 14.87, +1.4.
Ty Van Oort landed his second title of the day when his disc went 158 feet from the ring.
Team titles? It really wasn't even close. Pueblo South took both.
Meet Results, Photos, and Video