Longmont's Steven Wacker won the 4A pole vault competition on misses at 15-0. Photo by Alan Versaw.
For almost the entire three days of the state meet, the 4A powerhouse teams squared off, traded points, and came to no resolution. It would be early into Saturday evening before things were settled for the 4A folks at Jeffco Stadium.
Ultimately, the winners were no strangers to the 4A podium, but both winning teams had to turn aside strong bids from teams who haven't hoisted the trophy with the gold runner any time in recent history.
In 4A girls, it was Thompson Valley returning to the throne after finally dispatching the threat from Pueblo South late in the day on Saturday. The final nails were driven by a familiar name and a new name. Karina Ernst started the work with an relentless pace in the 1600 which quickly dropped 16 members of the field and then, eventually, dropped Heather Bates as well. Ernst finished in 4:54.89, and her 10 points put TV in the driver's seat. Pueblo South, however, still had the discus and 4x100 cards left to play.
Before South could play those cards, however, TV freshman Kendra Larson added another five points for Thompson Valley with a 45.71 in the 300 hurdles. That finish gave TV a 66-55 margin with only three events remaining. Pueblo South needed something close to a miracle.
Nothing close to a miracle arrived. South finished sixth in the 4x100 to close the gap to 66-60. At that point, the Eagles swooped in for the kill, taking the 4x400 with a 3:56.95 and thereby clinching the title. South's Megan Patterson added six points in the discus several minutes later, but it no longer mattered in the team scoring. Pueblo South had fallen short in their bid to bring a state title home to Pueblo.
While the girls' discus was wrapping up, the boys were settling their side of things at the pole vault venue. Entering the pole vault, second-day leader Broomfield still held a 67-55.5 advantage over Longmont. The Eagles had successfully turned back the challenges from Vista Ridge and Thompson Valley. Only Longmont remained to be vanquished.
Broomfield had one entry in the pole vault and Longmont two. To win, Longmont needed to exceed Broomfield's point total by at least 12 points. When Broomfield's Isaac Wilson went out at 13-6, the Eagles' hopes took a serious hit. Longmont still had Steven Wacker and Derek Wing alive. And, Wacker and Wing more or less warm up at 14 feet.
Wacker and Wing did not disappoint. Both cleared 15-0 before going out at 15-6. Ties were broken on misses, making Wacker the winner and giving Wing third. Sterling's Truitt Parrish took second-place honors. Longmont's 17 points sewed up the title.
And it was a title won in a most unconventional fashion. The Trojans picked up six points in the 400 via Braden Hitchcock's fourth, and another seven points in the 4x400. The rest of their 72.5 points came from field events and hurdles.
For a long time, Longmont appeared to be lacking what it would take to reel in Broomfield, but if you seek the identification of a turning point in the meet, that turning point would have to the the 300 hurdles finals early in the afternoon. Although Thompson Valley's Josh Mielke took no prisoners in the event with a run of 37.94, it was the 2-3 finish by Braden Hitchcock and Josh Cogdill the fanned the flames of a revival in the Trojan camp. Until that point, Broomfield appeared safe from any late Longmont surges.
The highlight of the 4A meet, however, belonged to none of the aforementioned teams or athletes.
On her final throw of the 2012 season, with victory safely secured, Silver Creek junior Valarie Allman launched the discus 164-0 and, in so doing, took down the 18-year-old all-classification record by Shelly Greathouse of Rocky Mountain High School. Allman had kept the record under siege most of the season, but finally broke down the wall with one massive, nothing-to-lose throw.
Allman's discus mark was not the only throwing record of the 4A meet. Megan Patterson of Pueblo South advanced the 4A discus mark to 47-2.5 in Friday's shot put action. Widefield's Tony Carodine also set a new 4A meet mark with a leap of 49-8.75 in Thursday's triple jump action.
4A State Meet Highlights Video