Leap of Faith: Grand Valley’s Coleman confident about chances in long, triple jump
Citizen Telegram Sports Editor
Ben Coleman’s personal-best mark in the triple jump came a long time ago. Two years ago, in fact.
The Grand Valley High School senior popped off his top mark of 42 feet, 5 1/2 inches on his way to winning the event at a meet in Gunnison during his sophomore year. That came not long after he had raised some eyebrows at the annual Demon Invitational with a 42-1.
Going into the last track meet of his high school career this week — the Class 3A State Championships at Jefferson County Stadium in Denver — Coleman still hasn’t gotten back to that mark. That doesn’t mean he’s lost hope that he can get back there.
“You always feel your best when you go to state, especially with the way that we taper down,” Coleman said. “The fastest I’ve been all season on my approach was last week [at the Tiger Invitational in Grand Junction]. if I can bring that to state and I can bring some explosiveness in each phase of my jump, I think that I can go 43 or even 44.”
Has he gone that far at any time?
“Well, no,” he continued. “But I’ve seen glimpses of that, and I am bigger, faster and stronger than I was during my sophomore year.”
The triple jump isn’t the only event that Coleman will be participating in. He’s also one of the top runners in the 110-meter hurdles and is one of the top competitors in the long jump.
Two other Grand Valley athletes will compete in the state track meet this week: Kylyn Rigsby, a sophomore and the regional champion in the 300 hurdles who also qualified in that event, the 100 hurdles and the high jump; and Kyra Chenoweth, who was one of the top 18 competitors in the long jump.
Coleman’s season-best jump in the triple jump is 41-3 1/2. He also has Class 3A’s seventh-best mark in the long jump at 20-9, and he’s got one of the best times in the 110 hurdles at 15.47.
The season has been challenging for Coleman since the school’s jumps coach left in the middle of the season. Still, Coleman said he heads into the meet confident after adding a double-arm thrust to his jumps and a league-championship performance to his prep-track resume. His best performance came at the Clint Wells Invitational in Grand Junction on April 24, where his winning time of 15.47 is the fifth best in Class 3A.
He attributed his improvement in the hurdles to some of the winter track and field events he took part in, which included the Simplot Games in Pocatello, Idaho, in February. And thanks to that extra work, he’s made a simple goal of reaching the final in each of his three events and an ultimate goal of breaking the triple jump school record of 43-3.
“We’ll see what happens,” he said.
Rifle has a pair of state qualifiers who are looking to find the podium this week. Among them is Brenden Wagler, a Rifle senior who will run in the finals of the 3,200 meters and the 1,600 meters. Wagler not only has a chance to reach the podium when the 3,200 finals take place this morning, but he also has a chance to break the school-record time of 9:49.55. Wagler, at the Class 4A Western Slope League meet, posted a winning time of 9:49.86, which ranks him ninth among runners in the 4A meet.
In the 1,600, which takes place on Saturday, his season-best time of 4:30.39 ranks 11th in the classification.
Also competing for Rifle is Deleny Aguirre, a Rifle senior who qualified in the discuss with a top mark of 113-1. Her event will start at 11 a.m. today.
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