The Liberty Bell Invitational Track Meet drew big crowds of competitors and spectators alike to Littleton Public Schools Stadium.
Team canopies occupied portions of the stands April 25 and 26 for the two-day event and the areas bordering the track also provided shade and gathering points for athletes from the 51 attending schools who competed in 18 total events.
Fountain Fort Carson won the boys division with 77 points, while Highlands Ranch came in third with 45 points as the top local finisher. In the girls division, Fort Collins scored points in a variety of events to amass 75 points and win the team trophy. ThunderRidge finished sixth and Valor Christian was ninth, leading the local charge.
According to, 52 athletes either met or exceeded national elite standards at the meet.
Area athletes who did so included Jennifer Calascione of Chaparral and Haley Showalter of Valor Christian in the discus. Showalter threw 168 feet, 9 inches and Calascione threw 124-5. Connor Turnage of Highlands Ranch achieved national elite status in the long jump with a jump of 22-6 while Blake Jacobs of ThunderRidge won the shot put competition and earned national elite designation with his throw of 55-5.
The Liberty Bell traditionally draws a large field of teams to provide top-level competition in the final weeks leading up to the state meet in mid-May.
“It is a huge task organizing and setting up everything for a meet this size,” meet coordinator Kevin Young said. “Fortunately, it is made a lot easier for me because of all the people from Arapahoe, Heritage and Littleton high schools. It seems each group is ready to handle one specific aspect of preparing for the Liberty Bell.”
Young said that 75 to 80 volunteers step in to help run the meet. Coaches and former coaches are among the volunteers and most of the young people are students at one of the three Littleton schools.
“We have adults running each of the events and kids helping them,” he said. “We also have alumni who volunteer to help us.”
He said technology is a key part of the preparation and staging of a meet this size.
“Computers are essential so we can keep track of every set of results, post them in the stadium and also quickly put them on the web,” he said. “Like organizing any big event, a glitch can cause disruptions. For us, the biggest glitch would be one or more of the computers going down.”
Results for the meet are available on the web at