The Paonia track and field team will send 30 athletes to the state 2A meet, which opens this Thursday at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood. They include 26 "core" athletes, and four alternates, according to head coach Brian Mitchem.
"That's the most ever," said Mitchem, who took over as head coach in 2008.
The girls team won 10 events and scored 161 points to win the 2A Western Slope League track and field meet. This is the girls team's fifth consecutive league title.
The Eagles claimed wins in four of five relays. Placing first were the 400-meter relay team of Marisa Edmondson, Easton Hartigan, Brooklynd Erickson and Morgan Hartigan, with a time of 51.79 seconds; the 1600m team of Lindsay Russell, Chelsy Reed, Ashley Van Vleet and Taylor Polson (4:06.61); the 800m sprint medley team of Erickson, Easton Hartigan, Edmondson and Russell (1:53.28); and the 3200m team of Taylor Plymale, Van Vleet, Reed and Polson, whose time of 9:51.91 broke the 2007 school record of 9:58.35, set by Johanna Reed, Chelsy Reed, Sara Spano and Brittani Venard.
That was an amazing feat, said Mitchem. All four runners had run another event within the hour, including Van Vleet and Russell. An hour earlier, they finished second and third in the 400m, and both topped the existing school record, set earlier in the season by Van Vleet.
The only relay team that didn't win, the 800m team of Reed, Morgan Hartigan, Erickson and Edmondson, placed second (1:49.03).
All five relay teams are ranked in the top five heading into state competition.
After placing second in Friday's preliminaries with a time of 26.98, Russell won the 200m Saturday with a time of 27.04.
Morgan Hartigan claimed a win in both a track and a field event. The sophomore powered her way to first place in the 300m hurdles with a time of 50.14, and threw the shot put 38 feet, 1/2 inch for the win.
Reed finished third in the 300m hurdles. This is the first year for Reed to run the hurdles. "I wanted to try something different," said the four-year state qualifier. Reed, who will run at state in three relays, finished in the top 18 in state 2A competition in the hurdle event to qualify in the event.
Paonia also won four field events and claimed second place in a fifth. Ce'rra Carsten, a four-time state qualifier, won the high jump after clearing 4 feet, 10 inches. Easton Hartigan placed second in the triple jump (33-0.75) and Carsten finished fifth (33-01).
Easton Hartigan won the long jump at 15-04.75, and Erickson finished one-half inch back to place second. Morgan Hartigan threw the shot put 38 feet, 1/2 inch for the win, and Taylor Carsten threw the discus 113-01 to place first.
Van Vleet also finished second in the 800m (2:22.82), and Polson finished third (2:26.15). In the 1600, Chelsea Meil-ner finished third in 5:37.45, and Deon Jensen was fifth (5:59.62). Polson also finished third in the 3200 (12:16.83) and Jensen and Meilner added points by finishing seventh and eighth respectively.
All it takes is one good long jump to qualify for state. At last week's 2A Western Slope League track and field meet, Taylor Walters had four of them.
Walters was ranked 22nd in state competition heading into last week's meet, and soared 20 feet, 9.75 inches for the win. The distance qualified Walters for this week's state meet, and is the second-best recorded jump in the state this season.
"He had an incredible day," said head coach Brian Mitchem. The freshman scratched on two of his six jumps for the day; in the other four he passed the 20-foot mark. Prior to last Friday, his best jump was just over 19 feet.
Walters' win was one of four for the Paonia boys team. They scored 95 points to place third at the WSL track meet. Paonia is qualified for the state 2A meet in 11 events.
The Eagles finished strong in two relays. Jacob Helleckson, Jesse Reed, Jason Sturgis and Jeramiah Hillman finished first in the 3200m relay with a time of 8:45.91, and the 1600m team of William Austin, Josiah Spano, Hillman and Walters finished second in 3:38.67. Both teams will compete this week at state.
Austin and Cameron Van Vleet took gold and silver respectively in the 300m hurdles. Austin won the event with a time of 43.63 seconds, and Van Vleet finished in 45.63. Freshman Austin Katzer finished fourth in 47.33.
Sturgis ran a state-qualifying time of 4:45.14 to place fourth in the 1600m run and Jacob Helleckson finished fifth in 4:49.77. Sturgis also finished third in the 3200m (10:21.85) and will run the event in this week's state meet.
Hillman and Helleckson placed third and fourth in the 800m, Hillman with a time of 2:05.84 and Helleckson with a state-qualifying time of 2:06.52.
Tony Darling claimed his second consecutive league win in the shot put with a distance of 45 feet, 5.25 inches. Josh Kimball threw a personal-best and state-qualifying distance of 41-04 to place third.
Ben Linnell cleared 5 feet, 10 inches to place second in the high jump, and landed a 40-foot, 1-inch triple jump to place third. He advances to state competition in both events.
Morgan Rieder finished fourth in the discus with a throw of 119-08. Rieder qualified for state with an early-season throw of 124-4.
The meet had its ups and downs, said Mitchem. The 800m relay team was trying for a state qualification but dropped the baton and was disqualified. "There are three freshmen on that team," said Mitchem. "They'll be back next year."blog comments powered by Disqus