Four Woodland Park High School athletes will compete in this week’s Class 4A state track and field meet, May 15-17 at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.
But none took as adventurous route as David Higgins, who will be running in the 800.
Also advancing to the state tournament are Randy Westfall (shot put and discus), Hayden Erickson (shot put) and Jonathan Hinton (110 hurdles).
Higgins overcame three separate breaks of the big toe - broken in three places - on his left foot. Because of that, he’s worn his Asics heavy training shoes to compete this season, rather than traditional spikes.
And to add icing on top of the cake, Higgins didn’t qualify until his final race of the regular season; the finals in the Metro League Championships at Garry Berry Stadium on May 10
Higgins, a senior, ran toe-to-toe with Bailey Roth, Coronado’s superstar all-American. Roth won the race with a time of 1 minute, 57.14 seconds. Higgins finished second with a 1:58.37, which places him 12th in the state rankings.
The time not only gave Higgins a qualifying state time, he set the Woodland Park school record in the process.
The previous mark was held by Chuck Ross (1:58.40 in 1991). Ross was the state champion that year in the 800 and 1600.
“I ran like it was the end of the world,” said Higgins, who is a black belt in karate. “Coach (Ron Peyton) positioned people at each mark so I knew what my time was and where I was at.”
Peyton was elated that Higgins was able to pull off his impressive accomplishment in such a dramatic way.
“He just worked so hard,” Peyton said. “I would like to see what he could do if he wore spikes. If he wore spikes Bailey Roth would be chasing him.”
Higgins said he will have to get his broken toe surgically reset after the season.
“Maybe I will wear spikes at state since it will be my last high school race of my career,” Higgins said with a smile.
Westfall is headed to state for the first time. He is ranked 9th in the discus (153 feet, 4 inches) and 6th in the shot put (50-7). He won both events at the Metro League Championships.
Erickson finished second in the shot put at the Metro League Championships. He is ranked 7th (50-6) in state. He is making his second trip to the state meet.
Hinton will be trying to win a state title in the 110 hurdles, where is ranked 15th (15.58).
“I went to state in wrestling so I’m kind of used to it,” Hinton said. “I had to deal with all those emotions with wrestling. It’s a big deal, but I think I can handle it. I just need to calm down and do my thing.”
Hinton was ranked as high as eighth this year in the 110 hurdles. His best time came at the Chaffee County Invite.
Hinton credits much of his success to Woodland Park hurdles coach Dan Makris.
“I was real sloppy with my trail leg,” Hinton said. “I wasn’t quick enough.
“He put me through a couple of things it helped a lot.”