Rifle boys team second in Class 3A
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
LAKEWOOD, Colorado – The Classical Academy derailed Rifle’s bid for a second consecutive Class 3A boys team title at the state track and field meet in Lakewood, but the Bears are keeping it all in perspective.
“If you ask the kids, they’d say they didn’t perform as well as they liked to,” said Rifle coach Josh Keppeler, whose squad finished second. “For not performing as well as we liked to and still getting second place, that’s pretty good.”
Saturday, the third and final day of the state meet at Jefferson County Stadium, certainly didn’t play out as the Bears hoped. Still, they managed a number of high finishes.
Ryan Moeller placed third in the 100-meter dash (11.19 seconds), fifth in the 200 (22.94) and seventh in the long jump (22 feet, 8 inches), making for a busy day for the junior.
“My legs are tired,” said Moeller, who’s battling an ankle injury. “They’re pretty spent.”
Rest isn’t coming any time soon for Moeller, who flew out to California Saturday night for a Nike football training camp in Oakland.
Moeller’s teammate, senior Andrew Proebstle, finished seventh in the 200 (23.15) and fifth in the 400 (51.11).
Proebstle, Rifle’s valedictorian, is headed to Brown University in Providence, R.I., next school year. He’ll compete in track and field at the Ivy League school.
Junior Aaron Wagler placed eighth for the Bears in the 400 (52.10) and senior Taylor Webb took fifth in the long jump (6-0), sixth in the 110 hurdles (15.67) and ninth in the 300 hurdles (43.42). Parker Peterson took 14th in the high jump (5-8).
Kellin Leigh, Lee Harrison, Brandon Kittle and Webb teamed up on a fifth-place finish in the 4×100 relay (44.20) and Cody Rice, Tanner Rust, Wagler and Proebstle took sixth in the 4×400 relay (3:27.10).
“We really, really wanted to beat Classical,” Proebstle said. “We had a lot of races go not the way we wanted to, but sometimes it’s really just hard to put in perspective how tough it is to beat a team like Classical. They have all the guys, all the resources. They’ve got a team that’s been very well developed and hung together by a pretty constant coaching staff the last couple years.”
Last year, Rifle won its first state track and field title since 1963.
A day after its 4×200 relay squad brought home the school’s first state title of any kind, Coal Ridge’s 4×100 relay delivered quite the encore on Saturday.
Brent Hazzard, Tyler Guettler, Chris Contreras and Cody Walls sped to third place with a time of 43.81.
“It means a ton to us,” Hazzard said. “I don’t know how we pulled that out.”
For Guettler, the second top-three finish in as many days proved the Titans are a force on the track.
“It’s just a proving point for our team,” he said. “We know we are able to come out here and compete with all the private schools and the Front Range schools. We just needed to prove that, and that’s exactly what we did.”
As for Contreras, a sophomore paired with three seniors, he was just happy to have raced with Hazzard, Guettler and Walls.
“I’m blessed to be racing with these seniors that are graduating,” he said. “I love them to death and I knew we did what we could. We came out here and proved ourselves.”
Coal Ridge’s 4×400 relay squad of Raul Oyarzabal, Samuel Diedrich, Contreras and Walls followed up by placing fifth in the state meet’s final event on the track. The Titans timed in at 3:25.86 in that one.
Sophomore Andy Bowles delivered a strong performance in the 110 hurdles for the Titans, placing fifth in 15.64. After not making the finals at state last year, Bowles upped his game in 2012.
“I worked on my form a little bit,” he said. “I also took a whole step out of my start this year.”
In the high jump, Bowles placed 14th, clearing 5-8.
Andy’s father, Lonnie, was a track and field athlete at Rifle High School and then briefly at Colorado School of Mines.
Guettler finished eighth in the 100 (11.30) and 15th in the long jump (19-7). Walls nabbed seventh in the 400 (52.07).
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