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Area athletes make bid for 4A State

Post Independent Photo/Jim Noelker Rife's Savannah Beecraft runs the 4x400-meter relay during Saturday's Class 4A Regional track meet in Grand Junction.
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GRAND JUNCTION – There was a lot to feel good about for area 4A track teams at this weekend’s regional meet at Stocker Stadium.

By Phil Sandoval



Post Independent Staff



GRAND JUNCTION – There was a lot to feel good about for area 4A track teams at this weekend’s regional meet at Stocker Stadium.

Overall, Glenwood Springs and Rifle had six individual champions and won four relay events.

And most importantly, both squads will be well represented at next week’s state meet in Lakewood.

Glenwood Springs’ Amber Sutherland renewed her title as the best girls thrower on the Western Slope by easily winning the shot put and discus titles.

Sutherland, the defending 4A state discus champ, won the regional title with a 117-10 toss, six feet farther than Palisade’s Whitney Gilbert. Earlier, she wrapped up the shot put title with a mark of 38-11.

And as an exclamation point to her last high school meet on the Western Slope, Sutherland made some history on the track as well.

As a member of Glenwood’s 4×100 and 4×200 relay teams, Sutherland and teammates Leah Hinkey, Andrea Vincent and Nicole Wagner won both events, advanced to next weekend’s state prelims in Lakewood and set new school records.

“We expected the relay teams to win,” said Glenwood head coach Blake Risner. “But, they displayed the mark of a champion by going beyond and running their best.”

The foursome’s 50.60-second 4×100 relay time, broke the school’s year-old mark of 50.77 and bettered runner-up Steamboat Springs by almost two seconds.

4A: see page 17

In the 4×200, the Demon girls 1:46.50 time shattered the school previous-best time, set in 1999, by four-tenths of a second and was three seconds faster than Palisade on Saturday.

Hinkey also finished second in the girls 100 meters and will compete in the state meet in that event as well.

Ryan Erickson’s discus throw was the highlight of the Demons boys meet. The hard-working senior capped his high school career to date with a second-place throw of 145-101Ú3 inches. The mark earned Erickson his first trip to the state meet.

“That’s the feel-good story of the season,” Risner said. “This was something that I had hoped for. Ryan’s the classic story of a kid who works hard for four years and it finally pays off at the end.”

But the meet was not, by any stretch, just Glenwood’s party.

Rifle’s girls, in a three-way battle for the regional team title, fell 10.5 points short of their goal to Steamboat Springs. The Sailors took the team championship with 129.5 points to the Bears’ 119. Glenwood was third with 90 points.

Rifle earned a pair of relay wins on the boys side and earned four regional titles.

Junior Andrew Stone racked up his first regional shot put championship with a 49-11Ú2 toss on Friday, then completed the weekend by finishing third in the discus.

Sprinters Brian Hileman and Ali Little buzzed to regional wins in the 100-meter dash. Both will also run in the 200 in their respective prelims next week in Lakewood.

In the girls 300 intermediate hurdles, Rifle’s Heather Anderson posted a 48.32 winning time at Saturday’s finals and will have teammate Jessica Martinez at her side next week after Martinez took third place in 49.81.

Senior Savannah Beecraft will run in the 800. Freshman Elisabeth Strouse will line up for the first time at state in the 1,600. Both finished third in their respective events at regionals.

Rifle’s boys relay wins came in the sprint events.

The 4×100 squad came in at 44.71 and the 4×200 team clocked a 1:31.86 time for the gold medal over Montrose.

Other top-three marks by the Bear boys include Jordan Robinson’s second-place finish in the boys 400 meters, triple jumper John Alderson’s runner-up mark of 44-0 and two third-place marks by freshman Tyler Gose in the hurdle events.Other top-three marks by the Bear boys include Jordan Robinson’s second-place finish in the boys 400 meters, triple jumper John Alderson’s runner-up mark of 44-0 and two third-place marks by freshman Tyler Gose in the hurdle events.


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