`The Demon’ track tradition returns | AspenTimes.com

`The Demon’ track tradition returns

Dale Strode
Special to The Aspen Times

The Demon Invitational, a 22-year tradition of track and field, will bring the region’s best high school tracksters back to Glenwood Springs this weekend.

State champions in a multitude of classifications and events will take to the stage at Stubler Memorial Field Saturday for a full day of running, jumping, throwing and more running. Teams from Aspen and Basalt high schools will be among the field.

“This should be a great meet again this year,” said Blake Risner, the meet director and head boys coach at Glenwood Springs High School.

He said the host Demons have their sights set on Saturday’s Demon Invitational, traditionally targeted as a high point on the Glenwood Springs track schedule.

“We’ve been aiming at the Demon (Invitational) … Regionals and State,” Risner said, adding that the home meet is a chance for the local athletes to perform in front of friends, family and fans.

The regional nature of the meet also adds to the spirit of the Demon Invitational, Risner said.

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This year, the powerhouse boys teams from Eagle Valley and Rifle will showcase their depth and talent as well as challenge for team honors. The Glenwood boys are the defending champions.

On the girls side, the Glenwood Springs girls will field a versatile team with a number of state-qualifiers already set.

Saturday’s meet will begin at 8:30 a.m. with field events as well as running preliminaries.

The afternoon sessions of finals will begin at 11:45 a.m. at the track at Glenwood Springs High School.

The field Saturday will include state champions like Chas Salmen, Marco Salmen and Jennifer Kishimoto of Glenwood Springs, Caroline Cretti of Roaring Fork and Chris Gamble of Eagle Valley.

Gamble won 3A state titles in the high hurdles and 300 hurdles last year and he’s ranked among the state’s best – in all classifications – again this year.

He is, in fact, the defending champion in the Demon Invitational. And he’s also a double meet record-holder on the track in Glenwood Springs. Gamble won the 110-meter high hurdles in a record 15.11 and he won the 300 hurdles in a record 40.94 last year at the Demon meet.

Chas Salmen is another Demon Invitational record-holder to return. The GSHS senior, who recently signed to run track and field and cross country at Duke University next year, ran 4:36.24 to set the meet record in the 1600 last year.

Just last weekend Chas Salmen broke the school record in the 1600 with a 4:27.07, clocked at the Palisade Invitational in Grand Junction.

He and his brother Marco teamed to help win state 4×800 relay last year. They’re scheduled for relay duty Saturday as well as individual 1600s (1 p.m., approximately) and 3200s (4 p.m.).

Cretti, the record-setting Roaring Fork distance runner, will also race in the girls 1600 and the girls 3200 on Saturday in Glenwood Springs. She won 3A state titles in those races last spring in Pueblo. Her distance races are set for 12:45 p.m. and 3:40 p.m.

The Glenwood Springs girls also will feature state-qualifiers Lacey Darien, Jeri Polowchena and Megan McKinnie, along runners and jumpers like Abbey Walters, Kessie Schwanebeck, Sarah Shepard and Megan McGrath.

The Glenwood boys contingent will include Brandon Jackel, who finished sixth in the 300 hurdles last weekend at the Palisade meet.

A host of other Demons logged personal bests last week and they will be on the track and the run this weekend: Alec Littler (with PRs in the 1600 and 3200 last week), Chris Toler (long jump and triple jump), Ryan Erickson (discus), Matt Wilson (discus and shot put) and Chase Warner (shot put).

Events are scheduled to wrap up about 4:30 p.m. Saturday, with the awards ceremony to follow.