The newly resurfaced Mullen High School track will be the scene of the best track and field action in Colorado on Saturday. Contributed photo.
There are a few major meets in Colorado each year that grab statewide (and, to some degree, national) attention. Each year, the Mullen Runners Roost is the first of those meets.
Last year, the meet found a home away from home at Jeffco Stadium, but--as good as the Jeffco facility is--it wasn't the same. No, the Mullen Runners Roost Invitational belongs at Mullen High School.
But the track at Mullen High School was badly worn and last year was the year of choice to take out the old track surface and replace it with a new blue surface. This year, we get to initiate the surface with the latest edition of the Mullen Runners Roost Invitational.
No team scores are kept at the MRR. This meet is about bringing the best competition in the state together in their best events. Working toward a team title can take away from making that goal attainable. Any team that wants to bring relays to the meet is granted entry in all the relays they wish--and many of these relays are very, very good, but the focus of the meet is not relays.
It would be impossible to list each of the great matchups set to take place on Saturday (for that, you may take a look for yourself at the MRR heat sheets for boys and for girls). What I will endeavor to do here is merely to guide your attention to those matchups on Saturday that seem the most intriguing from a vantage point of three days out. Admittedly, this exercise has a strong element of subjectivity. If I pass over your favorite upcoming matchup, please forgive me and feel welcome to post a note to the comments section of this article.
We'll start with the girls and then move to the boys.
I'm not sure if "matchup" is the best word for it, but if you can't get excited about the girls 100 meter hurdles, you are no fan of track and field. Dior Hall is set to make her season debut. Hall rewrote a lot of records during the indoor season and, after about a month off to recharge, she's ready to start competing again. Flanking her on either side will be some outstanding talent--names like Kaylee Packham, Mullen's own Taylor Klein, Alexa Chacon, and Molly McDonald.
And, speaking of season debuts, how about Chyna Ries in the 100? Ries will get to test her speed against the likes of Vanessa Gillespie, Zainab Sanni, and Christine Scott. You can look forward to Scott, Sanni, and Emily Romo in the 200.
If you've been watching Kaylee Packham's 300 hurdle times, you're anxious to see the show for yourself. Packham will have Olivia Anderson, ShaRay Nelson, and Taylor Klein pushing her in this one.
Distance always seems to be top-notch at Mullen. The 800 pits phenom Tabor Scholl against seasoned veterans Karina Ernst, Kaela Edwards, and Claire Green. The 1600 will see Scholl taking on talents like Ernst, Sydney Scott, Heather Bates, and Birdie Hutton. And, in the 3200, look for Bates, Sam Lewis, Shelby Stableford, and a few more. Saturday's forecast looks favorable at this point for distance, so expect to see some big times posted.
For the boys, it promises to be no less exciting.
A pole vault matchup between Nick Dalton and Dillon Manzanares has the potential to reach for the heights.
There are at least four proven 22-footers in the long jump and Brandon Rodewald, James Lewis, Camren McWee, and Lorne Jenkins.
The 1600 is loaded with names like Kirk Webb, Keifer Johnson, Joe Maloney, Gus Waneka, Stephen Chipman, and Evan Fortney. You'd better have some legs left at 1500 meters if you're figuring on winning this one.
It's hard to predict in advance when high jumpers will be on their game, but Andrew Cirone, Camren McWee, Collin Scheer, Colt Sessions, and Brandon Rodewald are all at least 6-6 capable.
You have to love a 100 field that features Jaylyn Mars, Harrison Einsphar, Ben Meyer, Enyinna Isiguzo, and Brandon Cartagena. A couple of bigger guys, a couple smaller guys, but all with speed to burn.
The 800 could be a real sleeper. A field of Tanner Ruhl, Gus Waneka, Joe Mitchem, and Richard Sanchez is not to be taken lightly.
It's an all day affair. Dress for all of the possibilities. Don't bother with bringing your own food because Outback will be there catering. Take a few pictures, save a few memories, and enjoy the festivities!