Assuming Mother Nature chooses to cooperate – always a big "if" at this time of year – come 8:30 a.m. Thursday, the 2017 version of the state track and field meet will open with a literal bang at Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood.
The Class 4A girls will kick off the three-day event with the preliminaries of the 800-meter medley relay. By roughly 5:30 p.m. Saturday – again, weather permitting – the meet will conclude with the 4A boys 1,600 relay.
The state meet is always a must-see experience. A year ago, four new champions were crowned on the boys side (Lutheran (Parker)
captured a third consecutive state title, the second in a row in 3A). For the girls, two new champions emerged, while Eaton
and Heritage Christian (Fort Collins)
repeated in 3A, 2A and 1A respectively. For Paonia, it marked the team's fourth consecutive title.
In all, 30 state meet records were set across the five classifications between the boys and girls. Of those, 10 individual events were won by underclassmen, and eight will return to defend their titles (Kim/Branson's Zariah Mason
set two meet records as a sophomore).
Here is a look at each classification for boys and girls headed into Thursday:State track qualifiers
// State track scheduleClass 5A
Defending champion: Pomona (Arvada)
The Panthers tallied 94.5 points to end the two-year reign of Fountain-Fort Carson (Fountain)
, which finished second. Pomona won only three events, but used its depth to rack up the points across the board.
Fountain-Fort Carson's speed will be hard to beat this weekend. Senior Donovan Williams
enters with the fastest seed time in the 100- and 200-meter sprints, just ahead of Darrien Wells
of Hinkley (Aurora)
. The Trojans also have the top time in the 400 relay, and junior Jequan Hogan
has the top mark in the high jump and triple jump, and is second in the 110 hurdles.Isaac Green
of Monarch (Louisville)
will attempt to match the feat accomplished by Henry Raymond of Poudre (Fort Collins)
a year ago, winning the 800, 1,600 and 3,200. Green has the top seeded time in all three events. Green's 1,600 time of 4 minutes, 12.26 seconds is more than eight seconds ahead of his closest competitor, and less than 2 seconds off the Colorado prep record of 4:10.98 set by Widefield's Rich Martinez in 1981.Girls
Defending champion: Fort CollinsDenver East's Arria Minor
took the state by storm as a freshman, winning the 100, 200 and 400 sprint events.
Minor was .01 seconds from tying the Colorado prep record of 52.49 in the 400 set by Ana Holland of Regis Jesuit (Aurora) in 2013.
It's no surprise then that Minor has the top time in each of the three events headed into state. Minor, Michaela Onyenwere
of Grandview (Aurora)
and Rangeview (Aurora)
sprinter Dawnielle Lewis
went 1-2-3 in the 100 last spring, and those three are in the same position in the event this weekend.
Grandview's Brie Oakley
was just as dominant in 2016 in the distance events, winning the 1,600 and 3,200 as a junior. Oakley broke Melody Fairchild's state meet record in the 3200, and her seeded time of 10:23.83 this season is nearly 10 seconds better than that mark. Fort Collins senior Lauren Gregory
is seeded first in the 1,600 and second in the 3,200.Rock Canyon (Highlands Ranch)
junior Emily Sloan
will attempt to defend her titles in the 100 and 300 hurdles.
Other names to keep an eye on are Monarch (Louisville)
freshman Mia Manson
in the pole vault, where she isn't too far off the 5A meet record of 13-01; and Rocky Mountain (Fort Collins)
junior Gabriella McDonald
's top mark in the discus this year is just shy of the 2003 record of 153-03.Class 4A
Defending champion: Mountain View (Loveland)
Mountain View's performance in the relays last May helped lead the Mountain Lions to the 4A title. Senior Nolan Kembel
and Luke Gordley
are among the favorites in the sprint and hurdle events, with Kembel owning the top time in the 100 dash and 300 hurdles.Montrose's Ian Meek
won the 1,600 and 3,200 as a junior, and along with the 800 is back for his senior season. Silver Creek (Longmont)
junior James Lee
has the top time in the 800 and 1,600, and is only 2 seconds behind the 4A meet record of 4:12.61 in the 1600.Vista Ridge (Colorado Springs)
and Mullen (Denver)
are expected to battle it out in the sprint relays, with Palmer Ridge (Monument)
a favorite in the distance relays.
In the field events, watch out for Pueblo West
junior Frank Nash
. His long jump mark of 24-06.5 this year would already best the 4A meet record, and is just shy of the Colorado prep mark of 24-07.5 set back in 1990 by Montbello's Chris Sanders. Pueblo South's Jeremy Cody
could challenge the meet record of 6-11 in the high jump as well.Girls
Defending champion: The Classical Academy (Colorado Springs)
(now in 3A)
Like East's Arria Minor. Discovery Canyon (Colorado Springs)
standout Lauren Gale
took the trifecta of the 100, 200 and 400 as a sophomore. Gale will have Michaela Moore
of Cheyenne Mountain (Colorado Springs)
to contend with in the 100, and Niwot's Mary Gillett
is the top seed in the 200 and 400.
With Air Academy's Katie Rainsberger having graduated, the distance events are up for grabs. Former teammate Maria Mettler
is the No. 2 seed in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200, with Mountain View's Lauren Offerman
and Denver North's Kayla Young
right there as well.
Niwot could be the team to beat in nearly every relay event, and the Cougars' Alexis Carroll
is the top seed in the long jump and triple jump and is No. 2 in the 100 hurdles. Defending high jump champion Rylee Anderson
of Silver Creek (Longmont)
has a mark of 5-10 this spring that would already be enough to set a state meet record and potentially challenge for the Colorado record of 6-01 from 1978. Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch)
standout Anna Hall
isn't far behind in the high jump, and is the top seed in the 100 and 300 hurdles.Class 3A
Lutheran dominated in the team race last May, finishing 72 points ahead of second-place Valley. The Lions won titles in eight events, but had a senior-heavy squad. The only returning individual champions are seniors Jacob Dack
in the shot put and Adam Dawson
in the discus. Both are top seeds though, with Dawson's mark of 209-02 only five feet shy of Mason Finley's state meet record in 2009.
Lutheran is also in the top four of each of the four relays.Aspen's Sunday Abarca
set a 3A meet record in the 400 a year ago at 48.54 seconds. The senior is the top seed in the 200 and 400, and is second to Wesley Tedstrom
of D'Evelyn (Denver)
in the 100. Abarca's 200 time of 21.67 seconds is nipping at the heels of Alex Mead's 2012 state record of 21.66.The Classical Academy's Tanner Norman
is a heavy favorite in the 1,600 and 3,200. Norman was second in both events in 4A last May, but the Titans dropped down to 3A this season. His 3,200 time of 9:04.97 has already set a Colorado prep record, topping the old mark of 9:05.89 set by Smoky Hill's Brent Vaughn in 2003.
Tedstrom isn't just a force in the sprint events. The senior is also the top seed in the long jump. Defending pole vault champion Victor Zimmerman
comes into state with the top mark of 15-02, which would best the state meet record set in 2013.Girls
EatonLutheran's Maya Evans
burst onto the 3A scene this spring. Evans competed for Vista PEAK (Aurora) in 4A the previous two years, but enters her first 3A meet as the top seed in the 100 and 200, and is in a position to challenge the 3A state record in both events. She is also the top seed in the long jump, where her mark of 20-10 would easily beat the 3A state record; she could challenge the overall state record of 21-00.75 set by Montbello's Chelsea Taylor in 2005.
Eaton's Tarynn Sieg
set the 3A state record in winning the shot put last May, and her mark of 46-01 this spring has already topped that. Sieg is also the favorite in the discus, where she could challenge the 3A meet record of 143-09.
Other athletes to watch for include Sterling
senior Kylie Chavez
, who is the top seed in the high jump and triple jump and the No. 2 seed in the long jump. Sarah Yocum
of Faith Christian (Arvada)
won both hurdle events as a junior and was second in the 200 and 400. She enters state as the top seed in the 400 and both hurdle events, and owns the 300 hurdles 3A state meet record.Peak to Peak (Lafayette)
sophomore Quinn McConnell
is the top seed in the 800 and 1600. Teammate Anna Shults is the defending 1,600 champion, and is seeded third in that event and first in the 3,200.Class 2A
Defending champion: Cedaredge
With Lyons' Paul Roberts having graduated after winning the 1,600 and 3,200 – setting 2A state meet records in both events – Soroco (Oak Creek)
senior Ben Kelley
moves to the forefront. As a junior, Kelley won the 800 ahead of Roberts, setting a meet record in 1:55.61. He was second to Roberts in the 1,600, and is the top seed in both events. He's also sixth in the 3,200.
Defending champion Cedaredge is seeded one or two in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 relays. The Bruins have seeds in the top three in the three sprint events as well.Hoehne's Jacob Yates
is the top seed in the 110 and 300 hurdles with the graduation of Cedaredge's Shane Gates. Sedgwick County's Chad Mikelson
is the top seed in the long jump and triple jump, and teammate Alius Evans
is the same in the pole vault.Girls
The Eagles have had a tight grip on the 2A reins in recent years. The Eagles are the top seed in two relays and are second in another, and senior Sophia Anderson
is the top seed in the triple jump and is seeded in the top three in the 100 and 200. Teammate Brianna Van Vleet
, who set the 2A state long jump record last May, is the top seed in that event again and is third in the 400.
Watch for Highland (Ault)
freshman Remington Ross
, who has the fastest time in the 100 and 200 and is second in the 400. Telluride's Soleil Gaylord
is seeded in the top two in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200.Burlington
senior Ellie Berry
is the defending in the discus, and her incoming mark of 140-07 would already be good for the 2A state meet record. She's the top seed in both events.Class 1A
Heritage ChristianIdalia's Erick Enriquez-Acosta
enters the 1A state meet with the top time in the 400, 800 and 1,600. The senior's 1,600 time of 4:41.79 would be a 1A state meet record.
Heritage Christian's Isaiah Bowsher
will try and edge Enriquez-Acosta in the 800 and 1,600, and the junior is the No. 3 seed in the 3,200. His teammate, sophomore Seth Bruxvoort
, is first in the 3,200.
Heritage Christian is strong in each of the four relays once again, an area the team excelled in last May on its way to a state title.Nic Martin
of North Park (Walden)
has the top mark in the high jump going into state, where his leap of 6-04 would be a 1A state meet record. McClave's Ian Beckett
set the previous mark of 6-03 a year ago, and he is seeded second behind Martin.Girls
Kim's Zariah Mason was the story as a sophomore, setting 1A meet records in winning the 100 and 200. She is the top seed in both events this spring as well, ahead of De Beque's Jentry Largent
of Shining Mountain (Boulder)
is seeded first in the 1,600 and 3,200 and second in the 800. Heritage Christian's Leeann Wagner
is first in that event, and fourth in the 1,600 and 3,200.Arickaree's Haley Dietz
is the favorite in the long jump and triple jump. Genoa-Hugo's Heather Graham
is the same in the shot put and discus.