Coal Ridge sweeps team titles in home invitational
After moving the home track and field invitational up one day due to weather, the Coal Ridge Titans boys and girls track and field teams never missed a beat with the adjusted schedule, rolling to two impressive team wins in the 14-team invitational Thursday in New Castle.
The Titan boys racked up 141 points on the day, pulling away from Cedaredge (89 points) and Rifle (88 points) in second and third place, while the Titan girls accumulated 129 points, topping Cedaredge (104 points) and Rifle 92 points, capping off a terrific day for the Titans, under the direction of head coach Ben Kirk.
“I thought we had a really good day,” Kirk said following the invitational sweep. “We had a lot of young kids, and inexperienced kids in spots today that we threw them in there, so that we could put some of our top athletes in individual events. I think the biggest difference for us today was those young kids stepping up, and having huge days. Our top-end kids had really good days too.”
The Roaring Fork boys placed 10th with 32 points, while the Roaring Fork girls placed 12th with 14 points. Basalt’s boys and girls turned in seventh-place finishes, as the boys scored 38 team points, and the girls racked up 47.
The Titans dominated in relay events, as the boys’ 4×100 relay team of Raul Ramirez, Brandon Herrera, Ezequiel Vazquez and Moises Contreras won the event with a time of 45.40 seconds, topping Basalt (Kyle Hofferbert, Noah Williams, Nathan Rivera and Justin Henderson, 45.49 seconds), and Rifle (Bryce Schanche, Tanner Vines, Tanner Cotner and Joel Lopez, 45.54 seconds), while the Titans girls’ 4×100 relay team of Emily Wright, Kara Morgan, Jaycelyn Kreuger and Raeanna Nelson won the event with a time of 51.77 seconds, finishing ahead of Rifle (Delaney Phillips, Halie Holmes, Maddy Valencia and Hope Kehr, 52.59 seconds) and West Grand.
The Coal Ridge boys’ 4×200 relay team placed second in the event, while the girls won their second straight relay event, as Wright, Morgan, Nelson and Maren Hough clocked in with a time of 1.50:58, finishing ahead of Rifle’s team of Phillips, Holmes, Maddy Valencia and Ashley Manera with a time of 1.52:01.
In the 4×400 relay, the Coal Ridge boys placed second, continuing a strong day in relays for the Titans, while the girls won the 4×800 relay, as Denise Zuniga, Paige Harlow, Madelyn Ellison and Hough topped Cedaredge with a time of 10:58.10, winning by just three one-hundredths of a second.
As Coal Ridge got off to a fast start in relays, senior Ezequiel Contreras took over in individual events, putting together a breakout performance at the Titans’ home meet, starting off the day by placing third in the 100 meter dash with a time of 11.35 seconds, before placing third in the 200 meter dash, clocking a time of 23.76 seconds.
The senior then recorded his first individual win of the day, as he rolled to a first-place finish in the 400 meter dash, crossing the line with a time of 52.68 seconds, placing nearly half a second ahead of Cedaredge’s Drew Markley in second.
“Ezequiel, for three years now, has been an absolute workhorse for us,” Kirk said. “Not just during the season, but away from track as well. That kid just lives in the weight room for us. I’ve kept telling him that it’s going to pay off. Today was really cool to see it pay off for him at our home meet. He’s earned every bit of it. Not that other athletes don’t earn it, but he’s worked super hard. He ran super well today, and is going to be huge for us down the stretch run here.”
Aside from Contreras, senior jumper Connor Detlefsen had a strong day, placing third in the high jump with a height of 6-00.05, while placing third in the triple jump with a distance of 40-00.00.
Senior hurdler Dylan Allen continued his consistent performance on the season, placing second in the 110 meter hurdles with a time of 15.95 seconds, while placing third in the 300 meter hurdles with a time of 42.31 seconds.
Rifle junior Joel Lopez swept both hurdling events for the Bears, clocking in with a time of 15.59 seconds in the 110 meter hurdles, and a time of 41.40 seconds in the 300 meter hurdles.
Lopez also won the long jump with a distance of 19-08.75, while Herrera placed second in the event for the Titans with a mark of 19-03.00.
Kreuger matched Contreras’ individual performance for the girls, as the senior Titan placed third in the 100 meter dash, finishing with a time of 13.34 seconds, before winning the 200 meter dash with a time of 28.29 seconds.
Rifle’s Sarah Wagler, one of the top distance runners in the state, won the 1600 meter run with a time of 5:22.05, winning by nearly 22 seconds, while also winning the 3200 meter run with a time of 12:01.49, winning by 42 seconds.
In field events for the girls, Roaring Fork junior Gabriela Santana placed third in the high jump with a height of 4-08.50, while Rifle’s Manera placed third in the pole vault with a height of 8-01.00. Wright and freshman Hartleigh Porter placed second and third for the Titans in the triple jump with distances of 32-00.00 and 31-08.00, respectively.
Roaring Fork junior Ronald Clemente placed second in the 800 meter run with a time of 2:09.56, while Coal Ridge senior Jose Briceno placed third with a time of 2:11.66 in the event. Clemente also placed second in the 1600 meter run with a time of 4:49.07.
In the high jump, Roaring Fork senior Jasper Germain placed second with a height of 6-02.50, one week after jumping 6-07.00 at the Demon Invitational in Glenwood. Rifle senior Riley Ellsworth won the pole vault with a height of 12-01.00, while Coal Ridge sophomore Hitch Young placed second with a height of 11-07.00.
Coal Ridge senior Billet Porter won the triple jump for the Titans, recording a distance of 41-05.00, while Rifle junior Duke Brady capped off the day with a win for the Bears in the discus throw with a distance of 132-10.
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Down 14-7 with less than 11 minutes left in regulation, Rifle head coach Todd Casebier decided it was time to deviate from his ground-and-pound offense for a bit of an aerial attack.