Springers track club qualifies 16 for regional Junior Olympic track meet

Abbey Walters
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springers athlete Amanda Madden leaps through the air in the long jump at the USATF Junior Olympic track meet in Aurora last weekend.

Nineteen members of the Glenwood Springers Track Club traveled to Aurora last weekend to compete in the Colorado United States of America Track & Field Junior Olympic track meet, held at Legacy Stadium. Sixteen athletes qualified for the Regional J.O. Meet. Athletes must score in the top four in their event to advance to the regional meet.

For the distance events, the weekend started off with the 3,000-meter run. Three Springers competed in the 3,000M run, as Ella Johnson placed fourth in the 13-14 age group with a time of 11 minutes, 46 seconds, while Taia Nykerk placed fifth in the 11-12 age group with a time of 14:02. Benny Swanson won the 11-12 age group with a time of 10:29, getting the Springers off to a strong start in Aurora.

In the 1,500M run, five athletes competed for the Springers, led by Swanson, who won the 11-12 age group with a time of 4:52. Swanson’s time was a personal best by two seconds. Sophia Connerton-Nevin placed third in the 13-14 age group with a time of 5:19, while Johnson placed fourth in the 13-14 age group with a time of 5:26. Nykerk turned in a fifth-place finish in the 11-12 age group with a time of 5:58, and Calvin Swanson placed sixth in the 9-10 age group, clocking a time of 6:04.

“It was a pretty good race. I felt strong and I am excited for regionals,” Connerton-Nevin, who placed third in last year’s 1,500m J.O. event, said following the race.

In the 800m run, two athletes competed and qualified for the Springers, as Daxton DeHerrera placed second in the 9-10 age group event, crossing the finish line with a time of 2:59, while Aidan Riciputi placed fourth in the same age group, clocking a time of 2:47.

Several athletes competed in the sprinting events as well for the Springers, as Cameron Steen placed 13th in the 100m dash with a time of 14.61 seconds, while Avery Johnson (14th in 11-12, 15.26), Hemingway Harris (16th in 11-12, 15.29), and Burgandy DeHerrera (20th in 11-12, 16.14) all competed for Glenwood in the 100m. Four Springers ran in the 200M dash for the Springers, led by Peter Schlepp (16th in 9-10, 38.94), Avery Johnson (13th in 11-12, 32.26), Harris (16th in 11-12, 33.15), and Steen (11th in 11-12, 29.51). Three Springers competed in the 400m dash and two qualified, as DeHerrera (3rd in 9-10, 1:17.42), and Sophia Vigil (3rd in 15-16, 1:01.72) qualified, while Riciputi placed ninth in the 9-10 age group with a time of 1:20.47.

Eight athletes participated in the various hurdling events for the Springers at the Junior Olympic event.

In the 80M hurdles, all three Springers qualified for regionals. Burgandy DeHerrera placed second (11-12, 17.97), Amanda Madden won the 9-10 event with a time of 16.13 seconds, and Benny Swanson won the 9-10 event with a time of 15.56 seconds, giving the Demons two wins and a runner-up finish in the 80m hurdles.

Bailey Risner competed in the 100m hurdles for the Springers, placing 10th in the 13-14 age group with a time of 19.8 seconds, before then placing 12th in the 200m hurdles with a time of 34.11 seconds.

Vigil, a GSHS sophomore, tried hurdles for the first time with the grueling 400m hurdles. The sophomore placed second in the 15-16 age group with a time of 1:11.97.

In the 2000m steeplechase, three Glenwood athletes competed. Incoming GSHS freshman Emma Barsness took a second-place finish in her first attempt at the race, running an impressive 8:34.68 to qualify for regionals. Bryce Risner (5th in 17-18, 7:24.37) and Jacob Wolf (7th in 17-18, 8:32.59) also competed in the 2,000m steeplechase.

Multiple Springers competed in jumping and throwing events at the Junior Olympic meet, making for a busy weekend for the track program.

In long jump, Daxton DeHerrera qualified with a second-place finish, jumping 10 feet, 7.5 inches, while Schlepp (8th, 9’7.25”), Burgandy DeHerrera (8th, 11’11.75”), Harris (9th, 11’7”), Avery Johnson (6th, 12’2”), Madden (5th, 12’1”), Bailey Risner (15th, 12’9.25”), and Vigil (13th, 12’2”) turned in solid individual performances in the long jump.

In high jump, three athletes competed for the Springers, and all three qualified. Steen won the 11-12 age group with a distance of three feet, 11.25 inches. Schlepp (2nd, 2’11.75”), and Bryce Risner (3rd, 6’0”) rounded out the high jumpers for the Springers. In the mini javelin throw, Riciputi and Calvin Swanson threw for Glewnood. Calvin Swanson was first in the mini javelin throw with a mark of 59’4.25”, and Riciputi qualified with a third-place throw of 40’6.5”. Madden earned an additional first-place finish in shot put with a throw of 24’10” qualifying in three events total.

For the multi events, three Glenwood athletes competed in the 17-18 men’s Decathlon, led by Colorado Mesa University track and field signee AJ Crowley, while Bryce Risner and Jacob Wolf also competed. Crowley, a former GSHS track, basketball, and football athlete and Springers coach, won the event. Crowley will compete in the decathlon at CMU next year.

“It was very encouraging to see the progress I made from last year,” Crowley said. “A weakness of mine last year was the throwing events, but I feel like I’m starting to get the hang of them.”

Risner qualifying with a third-place finish in the decathlon, scoring 4,985 points. Of the decathlon, Risner joked, “You don’t have to know everything, but it’s helpful.”

Wolf came in fourth place in the decathlon with 3,822 points. Wolf has a goal to compete and earn a mark in all high school track and field events.

Qualifying athletes will be gearing up for the USATF Region 10 J.O. Championship in Aurora, July 5-8.

Come out and support the Springers’ Track Club at the Independence Run & Hike Fast Mile and Springers’ Community Track Meet on Saturday, June 30 at GSHS starting at 7:30 a.m.