Dedication puts two at head of class

Turnage, Colter devoted to peak performance

Ryan Boldrey
Connor Turnage of Highlands Ranch, seen here competing in the long jump at the state meet, won the Class 5A triple jump in 48 feet, 9.75 inches, earning himself his third consecutive state title in the event. The combined leaps have also earned Turnage the honor of being named Colorado Community Media's south metro male track and field athlete of the year.
Jim Benton
Cherry Creek's Jordyn Colter, second from right, won two state titles this spring, helping to make her Colorado Community Media's female track athlete of the spring for the south metro area.
Photo
Posted

Connor Turnage won his third consecutive triple jump state championship at the Colorado state track meet, and Jordyn Colter repeated as double winner in the May 16-18 meet at Jefferson County Stadium.

Turnage, a senior at Highlands Ranch, is the Colorado Community Media South Metro Boys Track Athlete of the Year, while Cherry Creek's Colter gets the honor on the girls side.

“Connor is a really dedicated track athlete,” said Falcons head coach Lou Krauss. “He's a student of the sport. He understands the technique. Triple jump is a sport typically where you don't develop until your junior or senior year. He hasn't been beat in the triple jump in the state of Colorado since his freshman year.”

Turnage, who will continue his track career at Nebraska, jumped 48-09.75 to win his third straight state title and finish what he termed a frustrating season.

“I can't complain too much, it was the second-best jump of my life,” said Turnage, who was the 2013 Colorado Gatorade Track Athlete of the Year. “As frustrating as the season was, I was pretty happy. I wasn't jumping very well up until two or three weeks before state.

“I wasn't jumping well throughout the whole season, but I brought it around at the end. I was pretty confident I could win at state. It was just a matter of doing what I could.”

Krauss was also confident.

“He's a big meet jumper,” said Krauss. “There were a couple technical issues that were kind of disguised, and we just caught them two or three weeks before the state meet. He was trying something a little different that I wasn't aware of, and it was getting him too far forward.

“Once we got that sorted out, he started jumping better. We worked hard to clean up his form. If we would have had one more week before state, he would have been jumping a foot farther.”

Colter finished strong to win the 1600 meters in 4:57.27 at the state meet and also captured the 800 in 2:09.16. She won both those events at the 2013 state meet.

The diminutive junior, who weighs less than 100 pounds, won the state cross country meet as a freshman, but collapsed from low sodium, low potassium and a high white blood cell count while holding a sizable lead during 2012 meet. She had mono during last fall's cross country championships.

Colter was strong on the track against a talented field in this spring's 800 and 1600, but after each race looked drained.

“That's definitely something we've been somewhat concerned about,” admitted Creek distance coach Ethan Dusto. “She actually spent a lot of time in the off-season doing weight training to get her muscle mass up and her weight up. She's been working a lot of different weight training type things to get stronger.

“She has probably put on five to eight pounds of muscle mass in the off-season. She gets after it and trains harder than anybody else that I coach. She is always trying to hit more miles and a faster pace. She wants to take some time off and I definitely would like her to take some time off, do some cross-training, keep up the weight training so that she can be fit and ready for the cross country season. She needs to take some time off.”

There are national track meets that can extend the season through June. Colter might skip some of those meets this month, with emphasis on the word “might.”

“I was very happy to win both races at state,” said Colter. “I coach a club team in the summer, so I run a little with them. I do a lot of cross-training.

“I'll just probably keep my miles up and do cross-training and just get ready for cross county. I might do a few races.”