Aspen girls relay team on podium at state
The Aspen Times
LAKEWOOD — The Aspen High School track team raced onto the podium to kick off the 2015 State Track and Field Championships at Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood.
The Aspen girls 3,200-meter relay team, in a field of 18 state qualifiers, rallied for an eighth-place finish and earned a spot on the Class 3A state podium.
Later Thursday night, Aspen High School sophomore sprinter Sunday Abarca advanced out of the preliminaries and qualified for the state finals in both the 400- and 200-meter dashes.
Abarca races for state titles today as the 3A finals are scheduled in both races.
He qualified for the finals in the 200 with the second-fastest prelim time — 22.20 seconds, matching the winning time of the second heat (Chris Youngs of Lutheran).
Abarca eased out in front of his nine-man heat along with Miguel Molas of James Irwin High School in Colorado Springs. Molas crossed the finish line in 21.99. Abarca was right behind.
The sophomore came back in the final event of the opening day of the state championships with a qualifying run in the 400 meters.
Again, he eased across the finish line in second place in his heat in 50.28, just behind heat winner Carlos Sanders, a junior from Ridge View (50.25).
The fastest qualifier was Jake Dunn of Colorado Springs Christian, who ran 49.76 in the heat opposite Abarca.
Kent Harris of Lutheran and Josh Gregory of Eaton also qualified for the 3A finals in under 51 seconds.
“I just try to go out and keep my form,” Abarca said after his preliminary rounds at state. He said he and the Aspen High School coaches wanted him to secure good lane assignments for the finals.
With his qualifying races late in the day, Abarca said he tried to stay relaxed before his events.
“I like to visualize my races,” he said of his mental preparation.
The Aspen girls 3,200-meter relay team started the Skiers’ early celebration at Jeffco Stadium.
Adair Pattillo started the race for the Skiers.
She handed the baton to Dara Schenck, who passed four runners during her two laps of the Jeffco Stadium track.
Megan Hanson ran the third leg for the Skiers.
She handed to McKenna Woodrow, who powered across as the Aspen girls finished eighth.
The team ran 10:08.14, to shatter its personal best time by 15 seconds.
Peak to Peak of Lafayette won the girls 3,200 relay in 9:43.90, just edging Alamosa at the tape (9:43.94).
Eaton was third; Kent Denver was fourth.
Basalt freshman Morgan Ash put the Longhorns on the podium at the state meet when she finished eighth in the Class 3A girls high jump.
She cleared 4 feet, 10.5 inches.
Mikayla Bauer of Greeley University won the 3A high jump at 5-6.5. She just missed on her third and final attempt at 5-7.5, which would have been a Class 3A state record.
Sterling sophomore Kylie Chavez was the state runner-up.
Basalt’s Caleb Rewinkle advanced to the finals out of the prelims in the 3A boys long jump Thursday at the state championships.
He came up just short of the podium, finishing 10th in the event won by Conner Kennedy of Bayfield (23-0). Rewinkle jumped 20-1.75.
Basalt’s Jazmin Contreras competed in two sprint prelims at state. She finished 11th in the 100 meters, missing a chance to race in the nine-runner finals. She also was 15th in the 200 meters.
Teammate Nicole Alvarado was 11th in the 400 and 16th in the 100.
The Basalt boys 3,200 relay team also competed Thursday, finishing 16th in a race won by Alamosa.
The annual State Track and Field Championships will continue through today in Lakewood.
A local kid got on the X Games Aspen podium on Sunday night, but it wasn’t the one most people expected. Even Jon Sallinen didn’t think he’d be taking home a medal.