Double duty pays off for Coal Ridge’s Bowles |

Double duty pays off for Coal Ridge’s Bowles

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Jeff Caspersen Post Independent

GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado – Even with soccer – yes, soccer – on the back of her mind, Ashlie Bowles still managed to have a heck of a meet.

The Coal Ridge junior, who will suit up for the Titans in today’s state playoff soccer game against Discovery Canyon, pushed all soccer anxiety aside in winning 3A Western Slope Regional track and field titles in both the long jump and triple jump.

Bowles jumped 17 feet, 1 1/4 inches in the long jump and covered 34-4 1/2 in the triple jump.

Juggling soccer and track is no easy task.

“I think emotionally it’s harder than it is physically,” Bowles said after prevailing in Friday’s triple jump competition at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction. “Physically, it’s just the tiredness, but as long as I get my sleep, I’m OK.”

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Bowles isn’t the only Titan juggling soccer and track. So too is Kelsey Fauser, who along with Bowles hurried off to soccer practice back at Coal Ridge after finishing up at track on Friday.

“It’s a long day, but it’s worth it,” Bowles said with a smile. “I want to be there because it’s pre-game. [Coach Brian Blair] says if I’m not there, it’s OK, but I want to be there. I want to know everything that goes on. Soccer always comes first to me.”

By virtue of Bowles’ first-place finishes, she qualified for the May 20-22 state meet in Lakewood. Whether or not she competes hinges on the success of her soccer team.

“I’m hoping for conflicts, but it would make it hard for making decisions,” said Bowles, who also runs on state-bound 4×100- and 4×200-meter relay teams. “But I know my [track and field] teammates will do amazing, so I’m not worried.”

If Bowles does go to state, she’ll have plenty of company.

Other Coal Ridge girls qualifying at regionals were Cheyln McCain (100 hurdles, first, 15.56 seconds; 300 hurdles, first, 47.11) and Kayla Hinkey (800, third, 2:27.87).

The Titans’ 4×100 (first, 51.43), 4×200 (first, 1:48.71), 4×400 (second, 4:19.8), 4×800 (second, 10:36.58) and 800 sprint medley (first, 1:54.49) relay teams all qualified as well.

In Class 3A, top-three regional finishes net state-meet berths.

Making it for the boys were Colby Fauser (200, first, 22.78), Eliel Ruiz (800, second, 2:01.78) and Brandon Schlegel (triple jump, first, 41-5 1/4).

Coal Ridge’s boys also qualified in the 4×200 (third, 1:33.39), 4×400 (first, 3:29.61) and 4×800 relays (second, 8:23.84).

The Titans’ 4×100 boys relay team already pre-qualified for state.

Sam Whelan has long sought a region title. On Thursday, he finally got one.

Clocking in at a personal-best 10:21.37, Whelan won the 3,200 at regionals.

“It’s something I never thought was in reach,” said Whelan, who credits time spent training over the past two summers with helping him reach his long-held goal.

“It’s just mainly knowing how to train over the summer and getting stronger,” he said. “And it’s my senior year. I had a little bit more of a drive to do well.”

And now he’s headed to state, where he’ll also compete in the 1,600 by virtue of a second-place regional finish (4:47.24).

Whelan will have plenty of teammates in Lakewood with him.

Isaiah Martinez finished just behind Whelan in the 3,200. He crossed in 10:38.4 for third.

Brandi Krieg took second for the girls in three different events – the 400 (1:00.96), the 800 (2:22.86) and the 1,600 (5:18.71). Additionally, Krieg’s already pre-qualified in the 3,200.

Jordan Steinke is bound for state in both the girls 200 (second, 28.14) and the long jump (15-8 1/4), while Caitlin Brady took second in the girls shot put (34-4 3/4) and Tanner Neil nabbed third in the boys discus (121-4).

Taylor Browning paced Roaring Fork at the 3A Western Slope Regional, finishing third in both the 100 and 200. He clocked in at 11.54 in the former and at 22.84 in the latter to hammer down state berths.

Having pre-qualified, Browning is also eligible to compete in the 400 at state.

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