State title a Stone’s throw away |

State title a Stone’s throw away

Grand Junction Free Press photo/Dane Stickney Rifle's Andrew Stone competes in the discus during the Class 4A Region 1 track meet in Grand Junction on May 13. Stone qualified for the state meet in the discus and shot put. The meet begins Friday in Denver.

Along with picking up his diploma, Andrew Stone has two goals left on his agenda before graduating from Rifle High School. Both will be achieved if he climbs the top step of the awards platform as the Class 4A boys shot put and discus champion at this weekend’s state track meet at Legacy Stadium in Aurora.Stone has the marks to pull off the double win. The most important part, he said, “is just stay relaxed.” “There’s a little bit more pressure on me this year,” he said. “Last year, it was easier because I had nothing to lose.”In the 2004 state meet, Stone medaled in both events with a third-place shot put finish and sixth in the discus.This season, Stone has established himself as one of the state’s best throwers. His 52-foot, 914-inch toss in the shot is the longest to date in 4A, according to Rocky Preps. Switching to the discus, Stone’s 151-9 mark, set at the Raptor Invitational, held at Legacy, is among the event’s top throws.

When it comes to approaching competitions, Stone doesn’t think about whom he’s throwing against. What concerns him most is his technique.”I have to keep my feet under control, then explode,” Stone said of the shot put. Control is just as important for Stone in the discus, but it involves another body part.”I have to hold on to the discus,” he said, which he had problems with at last week’s regional meet in Grand Junction.”The discus slipped through my hands,” Stone said at regionals. The mistake, he noted, cost Stone a second regional individual title. Starting with Friday’s discus prelims, Stone can atone for the error. The field opens with 19 competitors, and the top eight advance to the finals later in the day. The shot put preliminaries start at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.While Stone pursues his quest in the throwing area, a number of teammates will be pursuing state medals of their own.Rifle’s John Alderson and Jordan Robinson are scheduled to compete in three individual events. Alderson will be involved in the boys long jump and triple jump and 100 meters.

Robinson will be in the starting blocks in the 100, 200 and 400. The two Bears are also scheduled to team up as half of Rifle’s 4×100 relay team with Tyler Gose and Josh Cordova.Kyle Allee also has a busy day Friday. He and Gose are part of the initial field of 300-meter hurdlers and are also members of Rifle’s 4×400 relay team. Allee, additionally, has qualified for the 110-meter hurdles.Hazen Moss is the only area athlete to qualify for state in a distance event. He will line up with 24 other runners in the 1,600 finals on Saturday. Prior to that race, Moss runs in the 4×400 relay.Other Rifle athletes who have qualified for the boys meet are Kyle McElroy (4×400 relay) and Kyle Sanderson (long jump).On the girls side, Kendall Babler and Jessica Martinez both qualified in the 100 hurdles.The Bears also have two relay teams entered in the girls meet. Katie Buchanon and Nicole Bendetti run in both the 4×100 and 800-meter sprint medley relays. They will be joined by Lindsay Bowen and Babler in the 4×100. Ashlee Hazzard and Layce Kruckeberg are part of the medley relay team.

Demons’ six-pack ready to rollGlenwood Springs qualified for state in six events. The Demon boys see action in four events. Abbey Walters and Andrea Vincent represent the Demons in separate events.Junior Chris Benson competes in the high jump and triple jump and is slotted to run a leg in the 4×100 relay with teammates Joe Schiavone, Dustin Braeger and Justin Montover. Benson has season-best marks of 6-3 and 44-0 in the high jump and long jump, respectively. Both came at the Rifle Invite last month.Schiavone, Braeger, Jake Greer and Benson run in the second heat of the 4×200 relay prelims Friday. The top times from each heat, along with the next seven fastest times from both heat, advance to Saturday’s finals. Walters runs in the 19-runner 800 finals Friday afternoon. Vincent participates in the second heat of the 300 hurdles preliminaries, where the fastest runner from each of three heats and the next six combined fastest times move to Saturday’s finals.

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