Fresh down the stretch
PEACH VALLEY — Considering the wear and tear that a spring sports season can take on someone’s body, Coal Ridge High School’s girls track and field team looked extraordinarily energetic earlier this week.
That’s partially because many members of the team — 11, to be exact — were also participating on the school’s highly successful girls soccer team. Those Titans, however, were eliminated in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs with a 2-1 loss to Sterling this past Friday.
So now, instead of potentially having to run from the state meet straight to another soccer game, or vice-versa, those girls will only have track to focus on this weekend when the Titans join the gamut of teams competing in the Class 3A State Championships at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.
“It’s amazing how fresh the girls’ legs look right now, even with the season winding down,” Coal Ridge coach Ben Kirk said. “And to think that all of the times they come into the state meet with were the result of them still playing soccer at the same time. I’m real excited to see what they can do.”
Even with many of its athletes coming into the meet with fresh legs, Kirk readily admitted it would take something substantial to happen for the Titans to win the team championship even though they have athletes in 15 of the meet’s 18 events. But thanks to that depth and some extra energy the time away from the soccer field has given them, he feels that putting someone up on the podium in each event they participate in is a reasonable goal.
“I think that’s totally realistic,” he said.
Kirk also readily said that in order for a team to win a state championship, it has to score big with not only numbers, but a lot of top-three finishes as well. That said, Coal Ridge will be loading up its relay teams with its best athletes knowing that other team-title contenders like Lutheran, Eaton and Moffat County will compete with many of their top athletes in individual events. A prime example is Coal Ridge senior Mariela Martinez, who qualified for state in the 100, 200 and 400 meters but, instead, opted to run only in the 200 and also run with the Titans’ 4×100, 4×200 and 4×400 relay teams.
They also have some individuals who could score big.
One is junior Amber Bowles, who comes into the 3A state meet with the third-best time in the 100 hurdles and could also contend for a podium spot in the 300 hurdles.
Another is Kaitlyn Detlefsen, a junior whose jump of 17 feet, 3 1/2 in the long jump at the 3A Western Slope League meet in Grand Junction earlier this month was not only a two-foot personal record, but is currently ranked second in 3A behind Kylie Chavez of Sterling (17-5 1/2).
Coal Ridge’s boys, who finished second in the team standings for the past two years, won’t be able to compete for the team title like they did in those previous two years. The Titans’ best shot at getting to the top of the podium will be in the relays, especially in the 4×200 and 4×800 events.
Among the Coal Ridge individuals, Roman Plano’s top high jump of 5 feet, 10 1/2 inches puts him in position for a podium finish.
Roaring Fork has two individuals going to the state meet, with one of them holding the best time in his event. Jose Lopez popped off the classification’s best time in the 110 hurdles at this past weekend’s Tiger Invitational, crossing the finish line in 14.97 seconds. He’s the only Class 3A hurdler who has gone lower than 15 seconds this year — Matt Hansen of Lutheran is seeded second with a 15.25. Lopez is also in the high jump, with his season-best mark of 6-1 1/2 ranking third among the 3A boys field.
Lyle Luckett of Roaring Fork broke into the state field with his time of 4:39.20 in the 1,600 at the league meet in Grand Junction. He currently has the 16th-best time in the 18-runner field.
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