Local athletes shine at multi-league meet
Inside a packed stadium on a sun-soaked day, multiple local athletes throughout the valley came through with big performances at Stocker Stadium on Friday during the multi-league Western Slope League track meet.
Glenwood, Rifle, Roaring Fork, Coal Ridge and Grand Valley all made the trek west for the big weekend event in hopes of having athletes and relay teams qualify for state meet in two weeks in Denver.
On the first day of the league meet, Rifle’s Sarah Wagler got off to a strong start for the Bears, winning the 3A 3200m run with a time of 11:42.96, finishing just ahead of Grand Valley freshman Jordyn Pittman, who placed second in her first league championship meet with a time of 12:29.60.
“It would have been nice to get a personal record [11:41], but it was a good race,” Wagler said. “I didn’t know what to expect, because I was ranked number one with 40 seconds on the second girl. I just laid back the first couple of laps and took off from the pack on the third lap.”
Wagler also competed in the 800m run, placing fifth in the event with a time of 2:33.26. The senior will compete in the 1,600m event this afternoon.
In the 3A boy’s 3200m run, Rifle’s Jack Rubalcave turned in a third-place performance with a time of 10:28.10, while Coal Ridge’s Justin Allen placed fourth with a time of 10:35.64.
Rubalcave later went on to win the 3A 800m run with a time of 2:10.66, finishing nearly three seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. Roaring Fork’s Ronald Clemente placed third in the event with a time of 2:04.23.
For Roaring Fork, junior Justin Thompson placed first in the 3A triple jump with a distance of 42-07.75.
Thompson hadn’t competed in the triple jump all season, so he was pretty pleased to turn in a great performance at the league championship meet.
“Last year I was one spot off from qualifying at 40-7, so I thought I’d try it again,” Thompson said. “It felt pretty good, and I’m just happy I didn’t do worse than last year and didn’t get hurt.”
Back problems last year hampered his performance, so the junior is looking to come up big in his premier event — the long jump — coming up today.
“It’s been a little bit rough this year with the cold weather the last few meets, but it’s warm now so we’ll see how it goes.”
In the 3A girl’s pole vault finals, Rifle and Coal Ridge swept the podium at the event.
Rifle’s Ashley Manera won the event with a vault of 8-06 feet, while teammate Emilee Demann placed second with a vault of 8-00.
Coal Ridge’s Cipriana Dacuma placed third in the event with a vault of 8-00, while teammate Samantha Dunn placed fourth with a vault of 7-06.
In the 3A boy’s pole vault finals, Coal Ridge’s Jacx Power won the event with an impressive vault, clearing 11-06.00 for the win, while Rifle’s Riley Ellsworth (11-0.00) and Brian De La Rosa (11-0.00) placed third and fourth for the Bears.
For Glenwood, Benny Smith turned in a second-place performance in the 1,600m run, finishing with a time of 4:38.21, while teammate Gavin Hardin placed third with a time of 4:42.87, giving Glenwood a 2-3 finish on the podium.
In the 3A boy’s shot put, Roaring Fork’s Kade Kennedy placed third in the event with a distance of 39-11.50, while Coal Ridge’s Couy Harrington placed fourth with a distance of 38-7.00.
Grand Valley’s Baylee Perkins turned in a third-place finish in the 3A girl’s shot put, recording a distance of 24-02.00.
Teammate Kylyn Rigsby won the 3A girl’s high jump with a leap of 5-03.00, finishing just ahead of Basalt’s Morgan Ash, who set a new school record with a leap of 5-01.00.
Basalt’s Kaylin Williams placed third in the high jump, while Roaring Fork’s Gabrielle Santana turned in a fourth-place performance in the high jump with a leap of 4-09.00. Coal Ridge’s Kaitlyn Harlow placed fifth with a leap of 4-09.00.
In the 4A boy’s long jump, Glenwood’s trio of Alex Cutright (20-01.75), AJ Crowley (20-01.00) and Luke Gair (19-07.00) placed second, third and fifth, respectively, in the event. Grand Valley’s Shaya Chenoweth (16-02.25) placed second in the 3A girl’s long jump, while Coal Ridge’s trio of Kara Morgan (15-09.50), Faith Wood (15-06.50) and Harlow (15-02.00) placed third, fourth and fifth in the event.
Wrapping things up on Day One, Glenwood’s Payten Spencer placed second in the 4A girl’s pole vault with a height of 8-06.00.
Day Two of the meet kicks off this morning with the relay finals and short races serving as the marquee events at Stocker Stadium.
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After bowing out of the 3A state soccer playoffs in the quarterfinals and semifinals the past two seasons, the Roaring Fork Rams finally get their shot at a state title on Saturday.