The Paonia girls' track team placed in 13 events and set two state 2A meet records to win the 2013 Colorado State Track and Field Championships in Lakewood.
This is the first state track title for Paonia High School.
A week earlier, the girls won their fifth straight league title.
In 2012, the girls' team placed second at state, said head coach Brian Mitchem. "But this is the first year that we came in knowing that we had a shot" at the title, said Mitchem as his team waited to receive its trophy. "Today was a good day."
The girls' 3200-meter relay team of Taylor Plymale, Ashley Van Vleet, Chelsy Reed and Taylor Polson crushed the meet record by more than 11 seconds and blew away the 2007 school record of 9:58.35 with a winning time of nine minutes, 33.81 seconds.
"On paper we thought we could run a 9:39," said Mitchem. "It was not a huge surprise that they broke the state record. But running a 9:33...That was beyond expectations."
The girls weren't surprised by the time. Their goal, said Mitchem, was 9:30.
Plymale shaved a full three seconds off of her split time and was in first place on the exchange to Ashley Van Vleet. They expected Plymale to be in the middle of the pack and planned for Van Vleet to catch up, said Mitchem. But she didn't have to. The freshman lengthened the lead and was running comfortably in first place on the final handoff to Reed. The senior and junior had the experience to hold the lead, said Mitchem. "Chelsy ran the best she's run all year. She ran a fantastic race."
At the final handoff, Polson said she could hear the crowd yelling for Natalie Anderson of Hotchkiss, who was fighting for second place. "I figured it was going to be a race to the finish" at the last 50 yards, said Polson. "I was scared getting the baton. I was like, 'I've got to run now.'"
Anderson narrowed Paonia's lead and passed Lyons down the stretch to place second, but Polson won by 11 seconds.
The girls' team broke its second record in the final event, with Lindsay Russell, Reed, Van Vleet and Polson running the 1600m relay in 3:58.16 for the win.
Paonia also broke the school record of 4:04.56, set in 2012 by Russell, Plymale, Reed and Polson.
The 400m relay team of Marisa Edmondson, Easton Hartigan, Brooklynd Erickson and Morgan Hartigan placed second (50.92) to re-set the school record. Paonia finished behind Akron, which set a new meet record of 50.13.
The 800m sprint medley team of Erickson, Easton and Morgan Hartigan and Russell broke the school record with a second-place time of 1:50.57.
With Akron, Hotchkiss and Lyons also vying for the team win, every point mattered.
On Friday, the 800m relay team of Reed, Morgan Hartigan, Erickson and Edmondson placed fifth (1:49.69); Van Vleet finished third in the 800 (2:20.36); and Polson finished eighth in the 3200m with a time of 12:29.54.
Shot-putters Morgan Hartigan and Taylor Carsten finished second (37 feet, 5.75 inches) and fifth (35-08.5) respectively. Both had their best mark of the day in their respective qualifying flights.
"We're going for first and second next year," said Hartigan as the two walked away from the podium with their medals in hand.
Ce'rra Carsten had the best high jump competition of her four-year career, clearing 5-1 to place sixth. After her landing, she grinned at seeing the bar still in place. It was the first time she surpassed the five-foot mark.
"Actually, I was more surprised to see the bar up at five feet," said Carsten, a senior and three-year state qualifier in the event.
On Saturday, Russell, who was seeded eighth, ran the 400m in 59.14 to place fifth, and Van Vleet finished seventh (59.40). Russell also placed seventh in the 200 (26.78) and Edmondson added a point with a ninth-place finish (27.30).
The boys' 3200m relay team's performance, "...was probably a bigger surprise," than the girls' finish, said Mitchem.
The Eagles' relay team of Jacob Helleckson, William Austin, Jason Sturgis and Jeramiah Hillman was ranked ninth, but Austin, a junior, was unable to run after suffering an injury in the 300m hurdles. Fortunately, the team brought an alternate: sophomore Jesse Reed.
Reed, the brother of Chelsy Reed, ran his best split of the season and Paonia finished in third place with a time of 8:26.59.
Reed also filled Austin's place on the 1600m team with Taylor Walters, Hillman and Josiah Spano, which was ranked ninth heading into Saturday's finals. They placed sixth with a time of 3:33.97.
Hillman, a freshman, was ranked ninth in the 800m run and finished sixth with a time of 2:02.5. Hillman ran the 400, 800 and 1600 in middle school and lost only one race. This season he also played junior varsity baseball for Paonia, so his success this season was a bit of a surprise. "I'll take it," said Hillman of sixth place. "It was a fast race."
Tony Darling didn't make his farthest mark in the shot put, but placed second with a throw of 44 feet, 7.5 inches. Eads senior Daniel Weirich won the event with a throw of 57 feet, 10.5 inches.
"Tony had a great day," said Mitchem. "We knew first place was out of reach, so he worked for second."
In the 3200m run, Sturgis was ranked 13th, but ran his best race yet, placing ninth and topping the school record by more than six seconds.
Helleckson, who also competed in the 800m and 1600m runs, was one of two senior boys to qualify for state. He joined the track and cross country teams his junior year and will attend CU Boulder to study international business and music. "It was a good decision," said Helleckson of becoming a runner late in his high school career.
The boys' team scored 24 points and tied for ninth place in the 48-team meet.
With most of Lyons' team graduating this year, that opens up all kinds of possibilities for next season.blog comments powered by Disqus