Grand Valley sending large squad to state meet |

Grand Valley sending large squad to state meet

Jeff CaspersenGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado – With so many Cardinals headed to the May 16-17 state meet in Pueblo, Grand Valley head track and field coach Sean Rice joked that his school might need to think big in terms of transportation.”I won’t even have to drive,” he quipped in the midst of Saturday’s Western Slope Regionals. “We might get a real bus this time.”Between its boys and girls teams, the Cardinals are sending five individuals to state in nine events and three relay teams.Not bad for the 2A school.”We’ve come really far this year,” said Rice, who’s in his first year coaching at Grand Valley. “I’m really proud of them all.”Rice’s team left him with plenty to brag about from the weekend regional meet.For starters, there was freshman distance phenom Brandi Krieg’s double regional titles in her first year of prep track.After winning the girls 1,600 on Friday – and a breaking her own school record in the process – Krieg took the 3,200 on Saturday, also in school-record fashion with a time of 11 minutes, 59.4 seconds.And then there was Kendall Babler, who after a two-year absence from track, roared back onto the scene by qualifying for state in two individual events. The speedy senior, known more for her work on the basketball court, won the girls 100 hurdles on Saturday after finishing third in the 100.All after reluctantly joining the team and running a part-time track schedule.”Some of the girls just said, ‘You should do track. It’s fun,'” said Babler, explaining how she landed on the team. “I just wanted to have fun my last year and, once I started running, I thought maybe I enjoy it more than I say I do. Everyone wants to go to state.”And that’s exactly where Babler is headed.Joining Babler at state from the Cardinals’ girls team are Erin Vanderpool, who finished third in the 100 hurdles and the second-place Grand Valley 4×100 and first-place 800 sprint medley relay teams. (Babler runs anchor on that 4×100 squad.)Colton Cowan paced a productive day for the Cardinal boys. He won the 110 high hurdles, took third in the 300 hurdles and ran third in the 100.Jared Tonder’s second-place run in the 300 hurdles landed him a spot at state and the Grand Valley 4×100 relay team ran second to advance.

Coal Ridge is sending five relay teams to the 3A state meet in Pueblo after an impressive weekend in Grand Junction.The Titans’ girls 4×100 and 4×200 relay teams accounted for two of those spots with second-place finishes. The Coal Ridge 4×100, 4×200 and 4×400 boys relay teams will join them with a second-place finish and two bronze runs, respectively, at Western Slope Regionals.Individually, the Titans will take Cheyln McCain to state in the girls 300 hurdles after a Saturday second-place run. Joining her on the boys side are Blake Rivers, who churned out a silver dash in the 100, and Bradey Gasaway, who grabbed third in the 300 hurdles.Roaring Fork’s tiny track and field will also have representation in Pueblo.Junior Tyler Thompson cleaned up in the field events for the Rams, winning the boys long jump and triple jump. He also took second in the high jump, which will make for a busy weekend at state.Thompson set a school record with a long jump try that covered 21 feet, 1 1/4 inches.Joining him is Roaring Fork thrower Jon Araujo, who qualified for state with a win in the boys shot put and a silver toss in the discus. The junior’s been to state in both events in the past, but is thrilled he’ll be competing in both this year.”It’ll be a good balance,” he said. “I just going to try to throw far, and hopefully beat the school record.”Nate Soucie rounded out the Rams’ state qualifiers, running to third in the 400.

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