Soaring to silver |

Soaring to silver

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

LAKEWOOD, Colorado – A couple years back, Chelyn McCain decided to really dedicate herself to the hurdles. That may well have been the shrewdest decision of her sports life, as the Coal Ridge senior now has a pair of shiny silver medals to show for it.

Finishing behind only Colorado Springs Christian’s Tiffany Kenney, McCain placed second in Friday’s Class 3A 100-meter hurdles final at the state track and field tournament in Lakewood. McCain clocked in at 15.4 seconds. Kenney crossed in 15.05.

It was McCain’s second hurdles silver. She took second in the 300 last year.

“I like it a lot,” said McCain, who finished fourth in the 100 hurdles last year. “Not a lot of people can hurdle, so just that makes me want to do it more, to prove to people I can do it.”

McCain’s devotion to the event has paid off. After narrowly missing out on state in the 100 her sophomore year, she upped her game.

“I guess I was just more determined,” she said. “I realized it was something I really wanted to do. I really wanted to get a scholarship in it, so I decided to work hard.”

McCain will likely be running in college. She’s pretty sure she’s headed to Mount Olive College in North Carolina. There, she’ll participate in both track and cross country.

“It’s a little school,” she said. “It’s one of the few I really liked. It’s little and friendly and homey.”

McCain still has some track left in her high school career, though. With her sights set on another medal, she’ll compete in today’s 300 hurdles at Jefferson County Stadium. It’ll be her third time running the 300 at state.

“I’m hoping to get top two,” she said as she shuffled off toward the podium for what she hoped wasn’t the last time.

McCain had more than hurdles on her mind on Friday. She also helped the Titans’ 4×200 and 800 sprint medley relay teams to high finishes.

The medley team, which along with McCain featured Lyndee Zelenka, Kathleen Maldonado and Rachel Becker, took sixth (1:53.3). The same four made up the 4×200 relay team, which finished eighth (1:49.19).

Zelenka and Maldonado had more on their mind than their finish, though. The juniors raved about their senior relay teammates.

Maldonado had a message for them: “I just want to say that we’re going to miss you guys.”

“They bring out inspiration,” Zelenka said. “They’re like the leaders of the team.”

Colby Fauser’s goal was simple enough. He just wanted to make it to the finals of the 200. Once he finally got there, he made the most of it.

Crossing the line in 22.87, Fauser claimed fifth place in Friday’s final.

Fauser, a senior who next year will play football and compete in track and field at William Jewell College in Missouri, still has one more event to go at state – the 4×400 relay.

Roaring Fork’s Taylor Browning also ran the 200 finals on Friday. One of only two junior finalists, Browning clocked in at 23.34.

“Even though my time was bad, I was just talking to everyone here a second ago and he’s the only [other] junior,” said Browning, pointing to Faith Christian’s Evan Marshall. “That’s pretty good.”

Coal Ridge junior Ashlie Bowles took sixth in Friday’s triple jump. Bowles, who only yesterday competed in the 3A girls soccer state quarterfinals, topped out at 34 feet, 11 1/2 inches. She’ll compete in the long jump this morning.

Coal Ridge junior Eliel Ruiz had to be talked into going out for track this spring. He’s glad he did.

Ruiz ran to 11th in Friday’s 800 final, finishing up with a time of 2:01.32.

“It’s my first time ever running track,” he said. “My coach is like, ‘You should run track.’ I said, ‘Sure. Bring me the papers and I’ll do it.’ He called my bluff. It’s fun, it’s real hard, but it’s rewarding.”

Ruiz’s Titan teammate, Kayla Hinkley, matched his finish in the girls version of the 800. Her time of 2:25.23 netted her 11th.

Grand Valley’s Brandi Krieg took 18th (2:37.21).

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