It's easy enough to look up the history of the Heritage Christian (Fort Collins)
boys track and field team, and see that the Eagles have won four of the past five Class 1A state championships.
Dig a little deeper though, and what Heritage Christian is accomplishing is that much more impressive. The squad won state in 2017 with 105 points, 29 more than runner-up Lake City Community
. What's more, the Eagles earned all of those points on the track, because there weren't any athletes in the finals of the six field events.
That's due in large part to the fact that Heritage Christian doesn't have a track at its school. Instead, the two programs take a 25-minutes bus ride to a middle school to practice during the week.
"Part of what I think has been our struggle is getting any momentum in the field events," Eagles coach Joe Packard said. "We've certainly had athletes who have been able to step up and score some points, but we don't have the capability for a facility to excel in those events where other schools do."
So Heritage Christian gets the job done on the track. The Eagles take great pride in that ability, whether it's sprints, hurdles or distance. Heritage Christian finished just behind Lyons in the 2A cross country championships last fall despite being a 1A school.
"We make the most of running on dirt roads or grass hills and cultivate runners more than field events," Packard said. "Which is a little bit of an unfortunate situation, but we've made the most of it."
As a sophomore, Seth Bruxvoort
won the 3200-meter run, and Josh Damir
took the 300 hurdles as a junior. The Eagles' 4x200 relay team set a 1A meet record with a winning time of 1 minute, 33.08 seconds – with two freshmen on the relay.
Heritage Christian has made the most of competing against 2A schools in the fall, and going up against 5A and 4A programs in the spring. They might not be able to match up with the bigger schools, but it certainly has the Eagles ready come May.
"We're not even counting points at track meets," Packard said. "But it pulls our kids to a different level of competition."
Heritage Christian lost a handful of seniors along with Jojo Bork, who was on the winning 4x200 relay as a freshman and placed in the top four in the 100 and 200. But Damir has stepped his performance up, currently ranking second in the 200 dash and 300 hurdles, third in the 110 hurdles and sixth in the 100.
"He's just one of those kids who is pretty soft-spoken and is really just a leader by example," Packard said. "He works really hard every day and does whatever he is asked to do."
Junior Josiah Bowsher
currently owns the top time in the 400, and older brother Isaiah Bowsher
is first in the 800, third in the 3200 and fourth in the 1600. Bruxvoort is first in the 3200, second in the 1600 and third in the 800. That's to say nothing of the relays, which Packard said would be a big focus moving forward.
"It's really become a culture here," he said. "Once you have something going pretty well, it's like a snowball effect. It creates a sense of belief in the kids. There is a lot to that mentality that works."
Sophomore Jaden Johnson
currently ranks fifth in the long jump, and Packard mentioned that the Bowsher brothers are the team's best high jumpers. But when it comes down to it, all the athletes are willing to sacrifice certain events to do what is best for the team.
"They just want to do whatever it takes to win the team title," Packard said.MaxPreps Colorado boys track leaders
With the state meet slated for May 17-19 at Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood, here is a quick overview of the state's five classifications to this point:Class 5A
Defending Champion: Fountain-Fort CarsonOverview:
In what was an epic team race, Fountain-Fort Carson edged Monarch (Louisville)
by five points to win its third state title in four years and fifth overall in the past eight attempts. The Trojans graduated Donovan Williams, who won the 100, 200 and was on the winning 4x100 relay, but return the rest of that relay and senior Jequan Hogan
, who won the high jump and triple jump. FFC's strength is in the sprinting events: Deondre Ritter
currently has the fastest time in the 100, and Jalen Lyon
is tops in the 200 and 400. … Monarch graduated standout Isaac Green, who swept the three distance events and was on the winning 4x800 relay. Max Manson
and defending champion Cole Rowan
are currently first and fourth, respectively, in the pole vault. … Carter Dillon
of Mountain Vista (Highlands Ranch)
has the top time in the 800 and 1600. Broomfield's Michael Mooney
leads the 3200 field by more than nine seconds. … Defending state champion Drake Nugent
of Highlands Ranch
has the top mark in the shot put; Charles Broomfield
of Coronado (Colorado Springs)
is first in the discus and second in the shot.
Defending Champion: Vista Ridge (Colorado Springs)Overview:
Last spring Vista Ridge rolled to its first state title since 2013, as the Wolves took three of the four relays. The team lost the majority of those relays to graduation though. … Air Academy
was second to Vista Ridge, but graduated 200 and 400 champion Nik Chappee. … Watch for Harrison (Colorado Springs)
sophomore Tyrese VanHorne
and Pueblo East
junior Luc Andrada
in the sprint events, along with Tyler Williams
of Standley Lake (Westminster)
. … James Lee
of Silver Creek (Longmont)
is the defending champion in the 800 and currently has the top 4A time in that event by nearly three seconds. … Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch)
distance ace Cole Sprout
currently leads the 1600 field at 4:12.75, which is only .14 seconds off the state meet record and less than 2 seconds off the Colorado prep record. … Pueblo West
senior Frank Nash
is the defending champion in the long jump and currently has the third-best mark in the state. Vista Ridge's Raymon Harper
has the top mark in the high jump and triple jump and is second in the long jump. Defending high jump champion Jeremy Cody
of Pueblo South
is second in that event. … Pueblo East's Kain Medrano
has the top throws in the shot put and discus to this point.
Defending Champion: Lutheran (Parker)Overview:
Lutheran has now won four consecutive state titles in boys track and field, with the past three coming in 3A (the Lions won 2A in 2014). Lutheran won handily last spring despite only winning titles in the shot put and discus, which speaks to the team's depth. Teammates Ethan Loper
and Jared Ammon
are currently 1-2 in the 200, and Ammon has the fastest time in the 400. Nate Hanson
has the fastest time in the 110 hurdles and Ryan Goldhammer
is tied with Jasper Germain
of Roaring Fork (Carbondale)
in the high jump. … The Classical Academy (Colorado Springs)
, which finished second, continues to set the mark in the distant events. Canaan Lamberth
and Ryan Moen
are 1-2 in the 1600 and Mason Norman
is first in the 3200. The Titans have a nearly 17-second cushion in the 4x800 relay. … Elizabeth's Mason Anthony
and James Finken
(the defending champion) are the top two in the 300 hurdles. … The sprint events are open after the graduation of Aspen's Sunday Abarca (first in the 200 and 400 and second in the 100). … Platte Valley's winning 4x400 relay team consisted of three juniors and a sophomore last spring. … Germain and teammate Justin Thompson
are setting the tone in the jumping events. Thompson has the top mark in the long jump and triple jump. … Bayfield
is leaving its own mark in the field events. Ryan Phelps
currently ranks first in the discus, and Colton Fine
and Dawson French
are second and third in the pole vault. … Reece Davidson
of Faith Christian (Arvada)
is first in the shot put and second in the discus.Class 2A
Defending Champion: CedaredgeOverview:
Cedaredge claimed two of the four relay events at state to defend its 2A state championship. The Bruins graduated only one individual off of each of those relays. Senior Ty Grant
currently has the fastest time in the 100 and 200. … Soroco (Oak Creek)
standout Ben Kelley
was the 2A Athlete of the Year after winning the 800, 1600 and 3200. It's no surprise that he currently leads two of those events and is second in the 400 and 3200; Lyons' Isaac Roberts
is currently first in the 3200 and second in the 1600. … Wiggins
, the 2A runner-up last May, won the 4x100 and 4x400 relay and graduated only one individual off both relays. It was a big loss though in Shane Finegan, who was on both winning relay teams and won the 200 and 400. … Hoehne's Jacob Yates
has the top times in both hurdle events. The senior is the defending champion in the 110 hurdles. Defending 300 hurdles champion Benjamin Jackson
of Resurrection Christian (Loveland)
isn't far behind Yates in the 300. … Yuma's Victor Mendoza
and Chiante' Stewart
of Ellicott (Calhan)
are among the early favorites in the long jump and triple jump. … Defending high jump champion Grant Redmond
of Soroco leads 2A with a mark of 6-6 set last month in the Broomfield Shootout. … Lane Walter
of Crowley County (Ordway)
won the discus as a sophomore, and currently has the top mark in that event by more than 24 feet. … Calhan's Mikey Mikita
is the defending pole vault champion, and is currently second to Alius Evans
of Sedgwick County (Julesburg)
Defending Champion: Heritage ChristianOverview:
Lake City Community senior Izaac Borchers
was the 1A Athlete of the Year after winning the 1600 and teaming to help Lake City take the 4x800 relay. … Cotopaxi's Arlo Garner
is primed for a big year after helping the Pirates win the 4x400 relay a year ago. Garner currently has the top time in the 100, 200 and 300 hurdles and is second in the 110 hurdles. … Blayden Fletcher
of North Park (Walden)
is the defending champion in the 110 hurdles, an event he currently has the top time in this spring. … Eads' Zach Haase
has the top marks in the long jump and triple jump. Stratton's Phillip Pickard
is the defending triple jump champion. … Dove Creek's JD Dennison
is first in the shot put and discus.