Glenwood’s Ewer takes 4A 300m hurdles state title, Risner second
The ultimate goal for Glenwood Springs seniors Wyatt Ewer and Bryce Risner was to finish 1-2 in the 4A 300-meter hurdles at the state track and field championships. It didn’t matter what order they finished in, as long as they went 1-2.
Saturday, on the final day of the 2019 Colorado high school track and field championships, the senior duo accomplished that goal, hugging on top of the podium as the two stood in first and second.
A mere 4/100ths of a second swung emotions in different directions for the Demon teammates.
Coming up on the last hurdle, Ewer and Risner were even, but it was Ewer who crossed the line first in 39.40 seconds, edging Risner at 39.43 and Niwot’s Jensen Doulliard in 39.47.
The first-place finish gave Ewer, a three-sport Demon athlete, his first state championship in what would be his final 300m hurdles race at the high school level.
The close finish meant it would take nearly a full minute for the final results to be posted on the scoreboard at JeffCo Stadium, leaving the competing teammates in anticipation.
Finally, the times flashed on the board and an emotional Ewer crouched, covered his face, and took a moment to himself.
“Looking up at the board reminded me of last year here, where I was wondering if I made the finals,” said Ewer following the win. “This time, it turned out the way I wanted it to. It hasn’t hit me yet that I’m a state champion … I’m just speechless. I took a moment there to thank God. I pray to him before every event, and today I asked him to help me in this race, and he did.”
Ewer won Friday’s qualifying heat, giving him the best time heading into the final. After Friday’s preliminary race, the senior said it was all about chasing down his opponents. On Saturday, he chased once again, sprinting down the final 100 meters to narrowly edge Risner and Doulliard.
“I’m a competitor; I just hate to lose,” said Ewer. “I know sometimes it happens, I know that. But in my mind, I hate losing more than I like to win.”
While Ewer basked in the happy emotions, Risner — who from the age of 8 years old stated his goal was to be a Colorado state champion in track — came up excruciatingly short of accomplishing that goal.
The senior had the lead coming up on the second-to-last hurdle and looked to be in a great position to win the state championship. Following the race, the Risner said he just couldn’t find that extra gear after a long three days of competition.
“I always know I could have done something different during the race,” said Risner. “But at the same time, I know that both of us gave it our all and it was going to turn out one way or the other. When I got to that third-to-last hurdle, I knew I was in the lead. I just needed to have one more kick and I just couldn’t find it at the last hurdle.”
Earlier in the day, Risner and Ewer also made the podium in the 110m high hurdles, finishing seventh and eighth, respectively. And, they were part of the Demons’ sixth-place 4x400m relay team
Risner, who fell at the finish line, needed to get his hand wrapped due to a cut and shared an emotional moment in the trainer’s tent with his father, longtime Glenwood Springs track and field head coach Blake Risner, who has watched Bryce mature into the young student-athlete that he is today.
On one hand, Blake Risner was incredibly happy for Ewer, but on the other hand — as a father — he was hurting for Bryce.
“I was extremely emotional seeing them hug up on that podium; it brought me to tears because I was thrilled for them and what they accomplished, but five minutes before that I sat in the trainer’s room with my son sharing his tears,” said an emotional Blake Risner. “He was upset that he wasn’t able to get what he’s been working towards for the last 10 years. He’s dreamed about being a state champion for 10 years.
“It was super difficult because I want to be super happy for Wyatt because he’s one of the greatest kid’s I’ve ever coached; I’m super happy for him,” added Risner. “But I did want to see Bryce sit on top of the podium. I’m definitely going to take some time to reflect on this, but I do know in the long run I’m going to be one of the proudest coaches in the state.”
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