Warriors win city track meet

Arapahoe successfully defends boys, girls team titles

Tom Munds
Arapahoe senior Addyson Harland goes over the bar during the high jump competition at the April 4 Littleton City Meet. The Warriors won both the boys and the girls team titles.
Tom Munds
Littleton's Dave Bieber competes in the shot put event at the April 4 Littleton City Track Meet. Bieber finished 13th with a throw of 35 feet, 4 inches.
Tom Munds
Erin Gaines, left, hands the baton to Heritage teammate Takyra LeBlanc in the 800-meter sprint medley at the April 4 Littleton City Meet. The handoff was good and the Eagles won the event.
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The Arapahoe High School track and field teams piled up points as they again won the boys and girls team titles April 4 at the Littleton City Track Meet.

Littleton district teams at the meet included Arapahoe, Heritage and Littleton, and they were joined by three Jefferson County schools with Littleton mailing addresses in Chatfield, Columbine and Dakota Ridge.

The Warriors took top honors in the boys division with 146 points, Heritage was second with 129 points and Littleton finished fifth with 66.5 points.

In the competition for the girls team title, Arapahoe finished first with 140.5 points. Columbine was second with 90.5 points, edging Littleton by .5 points. Heritage and Chatfield tied for fourth-place with 81 points each.

“This meet has a rich history and dates back to 1970,” said Arapahoe high jump coach Larry Lienemann. “I started coaching in '72 and it was just Arapahoe, Heritage and Littleton. The coaches took turns hosting the meet.”

He said a few years ago the decision was made to expand and add the three Jefferson County schools.

“This was a small meet in the early years,” Lienemann said. “Gradually, our schools grew, more kids came out for track and the city meet became larger. The meet doubled in size with the addition of the three Jeffco schools. (With) more kids at the meet … it is a more competitive meet.”

The Arapahoe girls team won the 4x800 meter relay with Emily Wolff running the anchor leg. Wolff specializes in running the 800- and 1,600-meter races.

“When I run the mile, I push to stay with the lead group on the first lap, then I just set my pace and maintain it,” she said. “The final two laps are a gut check to see what you can do. I push hard but try to have enough left for a sprint in the final 200 meters.”

Wolff didn't run the 1,600 at the city meet but said her goal is to run the event in less than 5:30.

“My best time now is about a 5:40 so I have to cut 10 seconds to reach my goal,” she said. “It means working hard in training for the rest of the season but I am confident I can do it.”

While Wolff was anchoring the relay win, across the field Mikey Koucherik was warming up for the boys pole vault event.

“I think the biggest challenge is being upside down when you go over the bar. That isn't a normal feeling,” said the Heritage senior, who is also competing in long jump for the first time this season.

“The coach said I could jump far and I ought to try it,” he said. “It is a fun event because you get to run fast and see how far you can jump.”

He said he is most proud of his teammates naming him team captain this season.

“It feels great they picked me as captain,” he said. “I have always tried to be a leader by example.”

Koucherik said he plans to go to work, probably going out of state to get a job on a cattle ranch, after graduation.

“I am a country boy who likes to work,” he said. “I love horses and I have worked cattle so I know what it is like. I think it is my kind of job because I just can't see me sitting inside behind a desk all day.”

This season, Littleton's Elizabeth Rothrock is a hurdler for the first time.

“I like running and, when the coach asked me to run hurdles I thought it would be fun to try something different,” she said. “It took a while to learn the technique but I have cut four seconds off my time so far this season.”

She said the challenge to being a hurdler is coordination.

“It is all about timing,” she said. “It takes time to learn to measure your pace so you take the right number of steps and go over the hurdle in stride. My goal is to run the 100 hurdles in 17 seconds. That means I have to cut another second off my time but I feel I can do it.”