Grand Valley High School senior Rocio Roman worth watching at state
Citizen Telegram Sports Editor
PARACHUTE — Breaking school records in the hurdle events is nothing new to Rocio Roman.
The Grand Valley High School senior has set a new time standard in the 300-meter hurdles not just once, but twice this season. Add in that she has qualified for four events in the Class 3A State Track and Field meet, and it’s a pretty safe bet that she’ll be worth watching when the meet runs today through Saturday at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.
“I’d like to be able to look back and know I was a stud,” said Roman, when asked how she’d like to remember her last appearance in the state meet. “I’ve definitely improved a lot, especially since middle school, and I’d like to see how far I could take that in college. But right now, my focus is on this weekend.”
Roman has a lot of focus on this weekend. She has qualified in the 300 and 100 hurdles, 800 meters and high jump.
The hurdle events are what she’s best at, by far. Though she wasn’t extremely happy that she finished second in both hurdle events at the 3A Western Slope League Regional meet at Stoker Stadium in Grand Junction this past weekend, there was a pretty good consolation prize. Her time of 46.73 seconds in the 300 hurdles not only was a personal best time, but also broke the school record for the second time this season.
Roman also posted a time of 16.30 seconds in the 100 hurdles to finish second, but barely. In both the 100 and 300 hurdles, Coal Ridge freshman Amber Bowles finished first.
Roman almost broke into the top three in the 800, as her time of 2:30.55 was just .03 off the pace of third-place finisher Eryn Leonard of Moffat County. And even though she didn’t compete in the high jump this past weekend, her mark of 4 feet, 10 inches from a meet earlier this year was good enough to make the state cut.
The Colorado High School Activities Association compiles times and event distances over the course of the season. The top 18 times and marks from each event qualify for the state meet.
Of course, Roman isn’t the only Grand Valley athlete who will be at the state meet.
Ben Coleman, a sophomore, has qualified in both the triple jump and the 110 hurdles. His top mark of 42-5 1/2 is the fourth-best mark in 3A, with Sterling senior Brayden Nelson leading he way with a 44-0 1/2.
Grand Valley also will send its girls 4×800 relay to the state meet along with its boys 4×400 relay team.
Rifle’s best chance of winning an individual state championship will come today. Senior Joey Kuheim, who won the 4A WSL Regional meet title in the shot put and discus, will compete in the 4A state meet shot put finals at 11:30 a.m. today. She’ll also likely place high in the discus, with finals there taking place Saturday.
Kuheim’s best mark of 43-1 ranks behind only Mariah Walker of Sand Creek, whose put of 45-1 is setting the pace. Though Kuheim’s personal-best throw of 139-0 in the discus is ranked third in 4A, it’s nowhere near the 183-3 mark that Silver Creek’s Valerie Allman has reached.
Also headed to the state meet for the Bears will be Brayden Smith, whose first-place put of 48-0 in this past weekend’s regional meet was a personal record by more than two feet and earned him a place in the state meet. Also going to state is Aaron Wagler, who won the 400 meter title at last weekend’s regional and could manage a top-eight finish with his personal-best time of 50.02 in the event. He also owns one of the state’s best times in the 800, as his regional time of 1:58.48 was good for second place — barely — to David Suarez of Battle Mountain (1:58.47).
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Carnival rides, best beard competitions, live music and so much more kick-off in Rifle this weekend.