State title is Weller’s next hurdle
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Memories of the championship final of the 300-meter hurdles race at last year’s Class 4A State Championships are still pretty vivid for Glenwood Springs High School senior Kaden Weller.
He remembers nearly every step that he took from the start line to the finish line during that race, where he finished second to Canon City’s Trenton Stringari. He also remembers how he felt afterward, vowing, among other things, to put himself back in position to win a state championship in that event.
He’s done just that, coming into the state track and field meet with the second-fastest time in not only Class 4A, but in all of Colorado. It’s a sure bet that the 300 hurdles will be one of the more popular races to watch when the all-classification state meet takes place Thursday through Saturday at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.
“We’re there for the competition, and we’re there to push each other,” Weller said. “We can both be cocky to each other and we can both tease each other, but we’re definitely there for each other.
“We’re the two fastest there by quite a bit, so we’re definitely there to push each other to see what we can do before college. It’ll be fun.”
Weller isn’t the only Glenwood runner who’ll be at the annual event in the Denver suburb. In total, the Demons will send 15 athletes, including relay alternates, to the state meet. The Demons will compete in three girls relays and two boys relays, along with six individual events, during the meet.
The event many will be watching at the meet, however, will be the 300 hurdles. Preliminaries take place at 11:20 a.m. Friday, with finals scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
In it, Weller, a senior, has a season-best time of 38.39 seconds from the April 18 Dakota Ridge Invitational that, until recently, was Colorado’s best time in the event. That was until this past Saturday, when Stringari popped off a winning time of 37.56 at the Class 4A/5A Colorado Springs Metro League meet — a time that beat his previous personal-best time by nearly a full second.
That time raised the eyebrows of longtime Glenwood coach Blake Risner, and not just because of the time itself.
“That’s a significant improvement, and he did it in wet and cold conditions,” said Risner, referring to the rain and snow that covered many parts of Colorado’s Front Range this past weekend. “Even so, we’ve seen that big improvements can be done and state championships can be won from Lane 8.”
What Risner is referring to is the run two years ago by now-graduated Glenwood hurdler Auston Tribble, who posted a state-preliminary time of 38.98 prior to winning the state final in 37.74.
It still stands as Glenwood’s only 300 hurdles state championship. Weller, who finished eighth in that race as a sophomore, hopes to win the school its second.
“I still don’t feel like I’ve run my best race yet,” he said.
Weller, who will also run individually in the 100 meters, represents Glenwood’s best chance at a state title, but there are plenty of other athletes who will have a chance at a podium spot.
Among them is senior Evrett Marr, who will compete in the triple jump with the ninth-best mark in Class 4A at 43 feet, 10 inches. Before this year, Marr had never done the triple jump.
Setting a school record in the boys 4×200 relay was Tim Batchelder, Marr, Garrett Goodstein and Weller in 1:29.91, marking the first time a Glenwood 4×200 relay team has gone less than 1:30. That team broke the previous mark of 1:30.04 set by Travis Alderson, Tribble, Cole Adams and Weller two years ago.
Glenwood’s 4×400 relay team also qualified, with its winning time of 3:28.89 coming from the season-opening Rifle Invitational on March 13. For Glenwood’s girls, the 4×100, 4×200 and 4×400 relay teams all qualified, with senior Carly Setterberg qualifying in both hurdles events and Lexi Montoya joining her in the 300 hurdles.
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The Glenwood Springs Demons boys swim team won 11 of 12 events and swept the top-3 positions in four of the events to score a dominating team win at the Southwest Conference Championships on Friday.