Rifle Bears set to go against the state’s best track and fielders
RIFLE, Colorado – This year’s Rifle track and field team is overflowing with young talent. More than a dozen Bear athletes qualified for this weekend’s Class 4A State Track and Field Meet in Lakewood, and only three are seniors.While the three in the 2008 class are some of Rifle’s strongest runners, Bears head coach Jerry Shafer sees a lot of promise in Rifle’s future – especially with the sophomore boys.
“Our sophomore guys are good. Our senior class last year was good, obviously, we won regionals, but this sophomore class will be better than them when they are seniors.”Three of those sophomores will be testing their skills against the state’s best on Friday and Saturday. James Martinez will see how high he can go in the pole vault – a new sport at Rifle this year. Tyler Rust will be looking for big marks in the high jump, and Adolfo Ruiz will be gunning to place in the 300-meter hurdles.Fellow Bears Kyle Zumbranen, a junior, and Tori Jorgensen, a sophomore, who were both regional pole vaulting champions, will join Martinez in the event. Shafer is very proud to have three state qualifiers in the inaugural season of pole vaulting at Rifle.”The pole vaulters are really excited to be going to state for the first time,” he said. “We’ve got some pretty good pole vaulters.”Then there are the Bear seniors – three boys who will look to end their prep careers on a high note. Speedy sprinter Hazen Moss, who is still nursing a hamstring injury, is aiming to recover not only for himself in the 400 dash but for the 4X200 and 4X400 relays he competes in.
“Hazen still isn’t 100 percent right now,” Shafer said. “He is seeded as one of the top runners in the 400, but I would say he is only 80 percent right now at the most.”Moss will be rehabbing his leg all week, hoping for improvement. Fellow senior Tyler Chapman will be going all out as he runs in all three of the boys state-qualifying relays. The third senior, Clayton Spillane, will compete in the 110 hurdles and also run legs in all three relays.Outside of pole vault, the Rifle girls also qualified for state in the 4X100 relay. Shafer has high hopes for the foursome of Natalie Whitmore, Jorgensen, Holly Keeper and Cami Castillo.”The girls could make it to the finals in the 4X400,” he said.
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