Athletes set sights on state |

Athletes set sights on state

Post Independent Writer
Post independent File Photo/Jim Noelker Glenwood Springs senior Amber Sutherland prepares to compete in the shot put at the Demon Invitational earlier this spring. Sutherland won the Class 4A discus state title and was second shot last year. She enters the 2004 Class 4A State Track and Field Championships as a favorite in both events.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Where to go and who to see might be the toughest choice for area track fans at this weekend’s state championship meets.

By Phil Sandoval

Post Independent Staff

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Where to go and who to see might be the toughest choice for area track fans at this weekend’s state championship meets.

The Class 4A and 5A meet, featuring athletes from Glenwood Springs and Rifle high schools, will take place at Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood. The Class 2A and 3A championships, with state qualifiers from Basalt, Grand Valley and Roaring Fork, is at Pueblo’s Dutch Clark Stadium.

Both meets are scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. today.

After making the choice of which venue to attend, the question arises as to whom to focus on.

This year, the problem is compounded with strong area representation and athletes in the state medal hunt both in the throwing pit and on the running track.

A highlight of the 4A meet will be Amber Sutherland’s try at capturing gold medals in the girls shot put and discus. According to pre-meet information, the Glenwood Springs senior is among the top throwers in both competitions.

In the shot, Sutherland – the 2003 4A state champ – has recorded a state-best mark of 40 feet, 10 inches – three inches better than her closest rival, Tiffany Dykstra of Pueblo Centennial.

Sutherland’s just as good in the discus. At the Clint Wells Invitational in Craig, the soon-to-be University of Colorado volleyball player had a season-best 125-81Ú2 throw.

Her competition in the event will be Jennifer Giggy of Alameda, the 4A girls state leader with a 138-5 toss. Other contenders include Palisade’s Krysten Hayes and Loveland Mountain View’s Norma Holgren.

A showdown of equal proportions will be on display at the 3A meet.

Basalt’s Hank Kindall is among the state’s leaders in boys shot and discus.

At Pueblo, Kindall, who won the regional shot put title with a 46-0 toss, will be in a field with three 50-foot-plus throwers – T.J. Hogle of D’Evelyn, Chadd Dykhoff of Manitou Springs and La Junta’s Patrick Burgin.

Dykhoff holds the state’s best 3A boys discus mark of the season at 155-5, followed by Patrick Burg at 147-7. Kindall’s next at 144-7. Another contender will be Bayfield’s Joey Cusenza, who has thrown a best of 144-3.

Likewise, Rifle’s Andrew Stone hooks up in a two-event medal hunt at the 4A meet. Stone, a junior, has a 50-3 best in the shot, along with a 143-51Ú2 discus mark.

He will be challenged by Pueblo West’s Matt Gersick and Fountain, Fort Carson’s Phil Loadholt in both events, and square off against Glenwood’s Ryan Erickson, the 4A regional runner-up in the discus.

Other intriguing battles shape up in the 3A boys high jump, long jump and triple jump, where Roaring Fork’s Tommy Joiner, Lloyd Tucker and James Leonard have posted marks that rank them as contenders in those events.

Rifle’s John Alderson and Glenwood’s Chris Benson will represent local athletes in the boys 4A triple jump. Tarn Udall will be among the competitors in the 3A girls long jump.

Like running instead? There’s plenty of area athletes to watch there as well.

Qualifiers in the 4A boys and girls 100 and 200 meters, Rifle sprinters Brian Hileman and Ali Little compete in from today’s preliminary heats. The top two finishers from each of the event’s three heats, along with the next three fastest times, advance to Saturday’s finals.

The same challenge awaits Bear hurdlers Tyler Gose (4A boys 100 and 300) and Heather Anderson (4A girls 300), Glenwood’s Leah Hinkey (4A girls 100) and Grand Valley freshman Sam McKinley (2A boys 100).

Area athletes hoping to advance to the finals in the 3A meet include Basalt’s Frank Howard in the boys 400, and Longhorns Emily Gustafson and Haley Stumpus, qualifiers in the girls 200 and 100 hurdles, respectively.

Distance runners, however, don’t have the luxury of a preliminary heat.

Two Rifle athletes – Savannah Beecraft and Elisabeth Strouse – run in the 4A girls 800 and 1,600.

Roaring Fork’s Alex Tiernan competes in the 3A boys 1,600 and 3,200. Tucker also qualified in the 800. Basalt freshman Amy Lund will compete in the girls 3,200.

Each of the area’s 3A and 4A schools has also qualified in a relay event.

Rifle will field relay teams in the 4A girls 4×200, 4×400 and 4×800. Glenwood competes in the girls 4×100 and 4×200.

The Demon girls relay teams set new school records while the winning the regional title in both events. Glenwood’s times are among the state’s best.

The team of Sutherland, Hinkey, Andrea Vincent and Nicole Wagner ran a 50.60-second 4×100 relay time in Grand Junction, then raced to a 1:46.60 mark in the 4×200.

They will be challenged by Colorado Springs Harrison and Fountain-Fort Carson in both events.

Rifle’s boys compete in the 4×100 and 4×200 relays.

Basalt has entries in the 3A girls 4×100, 4×200 and 4×800 relays and the boys 4×400. Roaring Fork has qualified in the boys 4×800 relay.

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