Of all the athletes competing at this year's Colorado State Track and Field Championships, Gauge Lockhart may have taken one of the most unique paths to get there.
A junior at Delta High School, he competed at state in shot put and discus. But one is more likely to see Lockhart on the football field as an offensive end, on the wrestling mat, where he placed third in state last February at 195 pounds, or where he's most happy, on the baseball diamond.
A pitcher and third baseman for the Panthers, Lockhart was recently named 3A Western Slope League Player of the Year. Two days before the start of regional playoffs Lockhart was at the state track meet. It was only his second high school track meet. His first was on April 6, when he qualified for state at the Frank Woodburn Invitational meet in Grand Junction.
"Being able to play baseball all year and then just coming out one time and qualifying for both shot put and discus is pretty special," said Delta throwing coach Ben Johnson. But then, said Johnson, "He's a pretty special athlete."
Before this season, Lockhart competed in middle school track for a season. He tried it, he said, because older sister Lily Lockhart was a good thrower. Lily won a state title in shot put and a total of five state medals in throwing events. She recently completed her second year at Dartmouth College where she competes in shot, discus, hammer and weight toss.
"I was decent at it, but even (in middle school) I was focused on baseball," said Lockhart. He said it was Johnson, also head football coach at Delta, who urged him to give throwing another try.
At the state meet Lockhart made the finals in shot put, where he finished 10th, and placed 13th in state in discus after scratching on his first two attempts. He fell just shy of his state qualifying marks in both events. Because he rarely trains, "That's basically what I struggle with, consistency, because I don't have many reps."
Lockhart said he'd like to try throwing again next year, so long as it fits in with his senior baseball schedule. "If I find another opportunity to do it again, for sure. It was a good experience," he said at the state meet before heading back to Delta for Friday afternoon's baseball practice. Better than good, "It was awesome."