Kirk Webb took it out hard on lap one and we all held our breath on lap two, waiting to see what would happen. Photo by Jeff McCoy.
It's difficult to say in advance what's going to create a favorite moment. In fact, I'm acutely aware as I write this list that, even in retrospect, it isn't always easy to identify why a particular moment is a favorite moment. All of the moments listed below were, in their own way, spectacular, but not every spectacular moment is a favorite memory.
I guess the takeaway from that in that not everything needs to be analyzed. Sometimes the important thing is just to enjoy a moment for what it is and how it impacts you. It's okay if you don't understand the why every time.
So, with that being said, here is my list of favorite moments from the two sports on the Colorado high school scene that I love the most.
1. Watching Elise Cranny and Katie Rainsberger go at it, relentlessly, for all 3.1 miles of the 4A state meet
. What a race, what a finish (though I did have to watch the finish on video)!
2. Walking up to Valarie Allman at the state meet after almost everybody had left and asking her how her throws went in the finals of the discus. She was beaming, but I still had to pry a little (four questions, to be precise) to find out that she'd chucked the discus a state record 164 feet. I love an athlete who has tremendous passion for the sport but isn't anxious to talk about himself or herself.
3. Having the pleasure of watching Alex Mead and Sierra Williams absolutely destroy the 3A short sprint marks (and, with teammates, the sprint relay marks) at the state meet. Keep in mind they did this under mostly miserable conditions when it was cold and wet on Saturday.
4. Seeing Paul Roberts become the first freshman boy to win a state cross country title. Better still, he got to win it as part of the first-ever state cross country title for Lyons High School.
5. Seeing Mel Herl's face light up the instant she realized she'd pitched a big one to seal the 3A girls shot put title.
6. Watching Kirk Webb take it out hard on the first lap of the
5A state 800 and have just enough left in the tank to break the 5A state meet 800 meter record
7. Seeing the joy on the faces of the University boys who got to go out (at least three were seniors) with a long-awaited state cross country title.
And some disappointing moments:
1. Ryleigh Haynes crashing over the last hurdle of the 3A 300 meter hurdles final. We had a hurdler in that race, but that wasn't the way we wanted to win it.
2. Realizing that Jordyn Colter/Jessy Sweet/Cody Bartlett/Tucker Hamilton/Erin Hooker (take your pick of these and a few more) had blown up in their state cross country races.
3. No Dior Hall in the state 5A 100 meter hurdles final.
4. Marcus Harris pulling up, again, in the state 100 meters prelims.
5. Finding out that Bruce Vining, the next-to-last remaining Tri-Peaks League cross country coach who was around when I broke into the coaching ranks, would be hanging it up at the end of the season. Bruce was quick to welcome me in, always upbeat, and always had a humorous observation on whatever was going on at the moment. I will miss Bruce like I will miss few other people in my life. I quietly rooted for La Junta on numerous occasions on account of our friendship.
And a few questions that may not have answers at the ready:
1. Is it true that Kirk Webb's state 800 is the fastest high school 800 ever run in Colorado? If so, shouldn't it stand as the all-classification state record (We don't seem to be counting out-of-state marks in other events...)?
2. Is Doug Hugill only the second coach ever in Colorado to win state cross country titles with two different schools? Larry Zaragoza is definitely another, but are there more? I can think of several other coaches who switched schools and won a title at one of their schools, but no others that did it at two schools.
3. What could Ashi Geberkidane have accomplished with a little more training? That one is scary to think about.