In his first meet of the season, Hotchkiss senior Zack Allen raised the bar. Last Saturday, Allen opened the track and field season with a state-qualifying high jump of 6 feet, 4 inches to win the Delta Panther Invitational. Allen, a senior and two-time state placer, was one of three to clear the bar at 5-10, but was the only remaining competitor after clearing 6 feet. He then cleared 6-2 and, after a miss, cleared 6-4. His personal best heading into the meet was 6-1.5.
Allen cleared 5-10 to place seventh at state as a junior. Going into this Saturday's meet he set a mental goal of 6-3. After clearing 6-2, and looking at a bar set 6-4, "I think I was just telling myself, 'I could,' instead of 'Oh wow, that's high. You can do it.'" Allen said he barely touched the bar on his first attempt, and on the second try didn't even touch it. While he was thinking more of the 2001 school record of 6-6, had Allen cleared the bar at that height he would have tied the meet record set in 2013 by the late Reid Gates of Cedaredge.
This year's team has seven returning state qualifiers. In addition to his performance in the high jump, Allen also ran at state in the 800m and 1600m relays. State qualifying shot putter Darrin Young finished fifth Saturday with a throw of 40-04.25.
Senior Kayden Owens also ran at state on the 4X800 relay team. Other returning state qualifiers include senior Gabe Rodriguez and junior Sam Rodriguez.
Junior Colton Peebles is a returning state qualifier in the 300m hurdles, 800m relay, 1600m relay. He placed sixth Saturday in the 300 hurdles, and could have competition this year from freshman brother Jace, who placed fifth.
Also competing for Hotchkiss this season are juniors Trey McGraw, Myles Zoutte, Nolan Egging, Kevin Chavez, Keaton Coe and Devin Curtis; sophomores Caesar Camacho, George Arroyo, Nick Jung and Will Ela; and freshmen Malykai Klaseen and Tristan Allen.