Prep track and field teams geared up and ready for multi-league championships
Many athletes already in qualifying mix as June 24-26 finals approach
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Glenwood Springs-area track and field athletes are down to the final two weeks of competition to try to qualify for the June 24 to 26 state championships in Lakewood.
Next up is the all-important multi-league championships for both boys and girls, where not only individual qualifying standards but team titles are on the line.
The meet gets underway Wednesday with the pole vault competition at Coal Ridge High School and continues Thursday through Saturday at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction.
Competing in the Class 4A division will be Glenwood Springs. In the 3A division will be Roaring Fork, Coal Ridge, Rifle, Basalt, Aspen and Grand Valley.
Because most of the schools that participate in pole vault are located in the mountain areas, Coal Ridge coach Ben Kirk said the league coaches agreed to stage the pole vault in New Castle ahead of the other events in Grand Junction. Competition begins at noon Wednesday with the girls, followed by the boys for all classifications.
The top 18 athletes in each event for both 3A and 4A boys and girls come the week of June 20 qualify for state.
Several Glenwood Springs athletes recorded event wins and improved their times at the Montrose Invitational on June 4.
For the girls, senior Sophia Vigil won the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 47.31 seconds, which has her now ranked seventh among the 4A state qualifiers.
The Lady Demons 4×800 relay team also came in first at 10 minutes, 28.66 seconds. Glenwood had a season-best 10:03.40 at the May 21 Coal Ridge Invitational and currently is ranked No. 4.
Others currently in the mix for state qualifying for the Glenwood girls are sophomore Sophia Connerton-Nevin in the 1600 meters (14th, 5:15.95); junior Ella Johnson in the 3200 meters (16th, 11:39.66); and the 4×400 relay (13th, 4:19.45).
For the boys, senior Taber Uyehara won both the 110- and 300-meter hurdle events at Montrose with times of 15.62 and 40.70, respectively. Those marks moved Uyehara into the No. 3 spot among 4A state qualifiers for both events.
Also taking first at Montrose was the boys 4×100 relay with the time of 45.05 seconds, well off the current state qualifying standard.
Another Demon coming into the league meet with a chance to improve his state qualifying chances is junior Reid Swanson in the high jump (currently 18th with a season-best 5 foot, 11 inches).
Coal Ridge leads 3A ranks
The Coal Ridge boys and girls both come into the 3A League Championships among the team favorites.
On June 4, the Titans boys and girls both won the Meeker Invitational, and the following day the girls notched another team title at the Steamboat Springs Invitational, while the boys were third behind 4A Steamboat and 3A Moffat County.
The Lady Titans in particular have several athletes in the top 18 for state qualifying currently, and look to be the team to beat for the league title.
Coal Ridge junior sprinter Peyton Garrison is currently ranked No. 1 among 200-meter runners with a season best 24.87 seconds, and is No. 2 in the 100-meter event with a best of 12.44 seconds. She also holds the No. 6 spot in the 400 meters at 59.13 seconds, and is eighth in the long jump at 16 feet, 4.5 inches.
All of the Lady Titans best sprint relays — 4×100, 4×200 and 800 medley — are ranked in the top 3, and the 4×800 team is currently ninth.
Sophomore Mikayla Cheney is ranked 15th in the 1600 meters (5:28.15), eighth in the 800 (2:20.10) and eighth in the 400 (1:00.51).
At the Meeker meet, senior Phoebe Young again improved her school-record pole vault mark, going 11 feet, 4 inches to win the event. She won the event at Steamboat, also, going 10-6.
Young’s season high has her ranked fifth among 3A competitors in the state. Teammate Sam Simons is currently ranked No. 18 at 7-4, while Rifle’s Sage Allen and Jamie Caron are at Nos. 14 and 16, respectively, with season bests of 7-6 and 7-4.
The state’s top 3A vaulter currently is Anna Willis from The Classical Academy, at 13-2.
Senior Taylor Wiescamp now ranks in the top five in the shot put (37-2) and the discus (107-5), and senior Marin Simons is ranked second in the high jump (5-4).
For the Coal Ridge boys, the 4×100 (sixth, 44.53), 4×400 (14th, 3:38.83) and 4×800 (11th, 8:46.43) relays are in the mix for state qualifying, as is pole vaulter Shayne Sandblom (fourth, 11-6).
Other Garfield County athletes currently meeting the state qualifying standard include, for the boys, Rifle sophomore Kade Bishop in the long jump (16th, 20-0), and for the girls, Roaring Fork senior Lily Nieslanik in the long jump (fifth, 16-9).
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The Basalt baseball team will head to the 3A state tournament later this week after pulling a pair of upsets in regional play on Monday. The Longhorns will join the other regional champs in the double-elimination tourney that starts Friday.