Titanic effort lands Coal Ridge state 4×200 relay gold
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
LAKEWOOD, Colorado – Samuel Diedrich put the baton in Cody Walls’ hand and just prayed his 4×200-meter relay teammate would take care of the rest.
Walls did just that, zipping to the front of the pack and into the Coal Ridge High School record books.
With Walls handling the anchor leg, the Titans earned the young school’s first state title of any kind, winning Class 3A’s 4×200 at the state track and field meet in Lakewood on Friday.
“This is what we’ve been wanting all year,” Walls said. “This is what we’ve been working for.”
“I feel like Usain Bolt right now,” proclaimed a grinning Diedrich.
Walls and Diedrich teamed up with Raul Oyarzabal and Chris Contreras to bring home gold in 1 minute, 29.94 seconds.
“This is something we’ve been working hard for,” Contreras relayed. “We’ve had some rough patches during the season, but it’s good to know all that effort led to this.”
The triumphant quartet entered the afternoon on the heels of a blistering preliminary time of 1:29.49 on Thursday. Coal Ridge entered the finals as the top seed.
“It gave us a lot of motivation,” said Walls, the relay squad’s sole senior. “We got nervous coming in. Everyone’s gunning for you, and we’ve never had that feeling before in track. We’ve always been chasing people. It feels good to be on top.”
Contreras, a sophomore, knew they had a title in them.
“We knew we had the talent to do something,” he said. “That first prelim set the tone. We decided we’re fighting for it. We got our fastest time yesterday.”
Friday’s title didn’t come easily.
Diedrich said he thought he was in third when he passed the baton off to Walls. Walls thought he took over with his team in the second spot.
“I wasn’t gaining anywhere,” said Diedrich, a sophomore. “I gave it to Cody and then I was just praying that he’d get it.”
He did, and Coal Ridge got its first state title as a result. The school, which is nestled between New Castle and Silt, opened in 2005.
“It’s something we’ll all remember,” said Oyarzabal, a junior.
“I knew they could do it,” Titans coach Ben Kirk said. “It was nice to see them do what we knew they could. That second handoff was scary, but Cody ran a great anchor leg. There’s a lot of emotion right now. It’s unbelievable. We’ve talked about this, dreamed about it, for six years. Every year has been a step and a step and a step.”
And that final step, the one Walls took as he crossed the finish line, won’t soon be forgotten.
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