Local athletes grab state gold

Elizabeth boys 400-meter relay team among champions

Ryan Boldrey
Elizabeth sophomore Tegan Alexander sprints to a second-place finish in the 200-meter prelims May 14 in Lakewood. Alexander was seeded fifth heading into the Class 4A finals, which were held later in the weekend.
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Maybe it was expected, maybe it wasn’t.

That could have been the thoughts of Elizabeth’s Kimberly Peterson, prior to her pole vault completion; those of Elbert’s Caleb Brown before he went into the discus finals; and of the Elizabeth boys 400-meter relay team going into the finals at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

As it turned out, they all returned home as state champions.

Peterson won the 4A pole vault with an 11-foot, 6-inch effort while Brown won the 1A discus with a throw of 148 feet, 8 inches. The Cardinals won their title in the 4A’s 400-meter relay, timed in 42.28-seconds.

Overall, the Elizabeth boys finished fifth with 36 points in 4A. Palmer Ridge won the team title with 103 points, followed by Valor Christian, 66, Broomfield, 65, and Erie, 48. Also on the boy’s side of the competition, Elbert finished in 17 with 21 points in 1A, while Kiowa was 22 with 12 points in the 2A competition, and Simla, 42, with one point.

“The win was definitely exciting,” said Peterson. “I thank God. I was able to finish strong as a senior. Each day is different, but you have to stick to your routine and do the best you can against all the competition. I don’t feel the competition was as heavy at state this time as in the past, but everyone has to be ready. I think everyone was excited to be there.”

Niwot won the 4A girls title with 66 points, Thompson Valley was second with 57.5 and Broomfield placed third with 55. Elizabeth scored 20 points to place 17. Elbert was 14 in 1A with 26 points, while the team championship was won by Shinning Mountain Waldorf with 74. Neither Kiowa or Simla placed any athletes at state in 2A girls, a championship won by Paonia with 102 points.

“I think the kids had a perfect way to end the weekend,” said Elizabeth boys and girls coach Lori McCoin. “To win a pair of events was exciting. We only had five boys at state and we can dub them the Fantastic Five. Kimmy was certainly on fire with her win and Gav (Houston) did well in the pole vault. We were very blessed.”

Brown heaved the discus, a little more than 8 feet longer than runner-up Zeith Schoenfield from Otis (140-10). And, he didn’t do all that bad on the track, either, as he placed seventh in the 400.  

“This was a good year and there were several good guys in the field,” Brown said. “I just wanted to come in and do the best I could. I had hoped to break our school record (152-0), but I didn’t with my 148. It didn’t go as I planned, but first is great.

“It’s alright,” Brown said after his 400. “I felt I could go out fast, but today it wasn’t fast enough, but it was a good race and I’ve definitely had fun in this race this year. Now, I’m going to go to the University of Alaska.”

The Elizabeth quartet of LaShawn Robinson, Brody Oliver, Ryan White and Joel Thies had just what they needed to beat Valor Christian in the 400-Relay with a time of 42.28 to Valor’s  42.33. The Cardinals also turned in a solid effort in the 800 relay with a third-place finish (1:28.35) behind winning Palmer Ridge (1:27.42) and runner-up Valor Christian (1:27.73).

“We ran well and the two teams that beat us were just that much better,” Oliver said after the 800 relay finished. “It’s been a good season for us. We’re a small school and it’s great to compete well against the big guys.”

White and Robinson also agreed, but were a bit disappointed in the final 800 outcome. Thies would also go on to place eighth in both the 100 and 200-meter sprints.

“We wanted to go for a good quality finish,” Thies said. “The relays have been big for me this year. We just all wanted to go out and leave it on the track. I was relieved, though. It was my last 100 and I wanted to have fun. I didn’t think I would place in four events. This has been a great experience.”

“We quite didn’t run the way we all felt we wanted to, but we went out to get the job done and we enjoyed it for a good finish,” said White.  

Added Robinson, “It was a lot of fun, and overall it has shown the hard work has paid off. I’m proud of the way we have worked this season.”

Elizabeth sophomore Tegan Alexander placed fourth in the 100 with a time of 12.48-seconds as the title was won by Broomfield’s Alexel Cox in :12.19. She would also place sixth in the 200 (25.33) in a race won by Lewis-Palmer’s Nicole Montgomery (24.02). 

“This is definitely exciting to be in the top four,” Alexander said after the 100. “I just tried to get over my nerves and face reality. I proved that I could compete. The key was to just to run fast. Next year I want to work on my overall personal records.”

Elizabeth’s Gav Houston placed fourth in the pole valut with a 13-foot, 9-inch effort. Pueblo South’s Nicholas Meihaus won, vaulting 15-0. Actually, the next two place winners in the pole vault also went 13-9, and the positions on the podium being determined by the number of misses.

“I got to 13-0 and proved the height was not a fluke for me this season,” said Houston, who heads to the Air Force Academy in June. “I was confident with what I did and was not focused on the competition, just what I could do for a personal best.”  

Kiowa’s 800 relay team, composed of Wyatt McKnight, Connor Wills, Marcus Anthony and Jack Thomas, was more than pleased with their effort. They certainly had hoped for a higher finish since they broke their school record in the process with a 1:35.51. Vanguard was the winner with a 1:39.09.

“It was a great experience to come in and compete against this fine field,” McKnight said. “I’m just a sophomore and my teammates, here, are all seniors. I just got nervous, but these guys have helped me run better this season.”

Wills also recognized Kiowa’s accomplishment, yet he and Anthony were also a bit disappointed by the race.

“This is the first time we’ve made state and we broke our school record,” Wills said. “It’s tremendous to compete here.”

Added Anthony, “We broke the school record, but we didn’t do as well in the finals as we had hope. Still, a good year for all of us.”

“We had a great time in our senior year,” Thomas concluded. “We were seeded ninth and came in eighth. It was an improvement for all of us.”

Elbert’s Hannah Maber had the highest finish for her team in the girl’s competition with second in the 100 (13.12) behind Caliche’s winning Kayla Zink (12.88), was third in the long jump (14-11 1/4) and fifth in the Triple Jump with a 32-8 ½ foot effort.

“I got my PR in the 100, so I’m very happy,” Maber said. “I just wanted to go out and chase down the faster girls. I was really excited and just wanted my best effort in the Triple and Long Jumps. The key this season has been eating right and to let my teammates and coach help me through the season. It paid off today.”

The Elbert girl’s 3,200-relay team, composed of Caya Bahr, Abbie Maben, Alicia Culla and Devin Mayer, placed ninth with a time of 11:28.59.

“We really ran fast today and I came out happy,” said Bahr after the race. “I was confident we would do well today.”

“We just went out and gave it 100 percent,” continued Maben. “We just wanted to try hard and hope for a good outcome.”

Those were the thoughts for Culla and Mayer.

“I think it was a fast race and it was good for all the girls,” Culla said. “We just all pushed so hard.”

Said Mayer in conclusion, “They helped me move up and we just didn’t get down on ourselves. It was a fast effort on all our parts.”

Simla’s only point at state in the boy’s competition was scored by Cody Norris with his ninth-place finish in the triple jump.

“I came in ranked 15 and I was able to get my PR to place higher,” Norris said. “I was a little edgy on my right and left, but happy about how it came out. The key was to go out fast in the event and I was able to get my job done.”