Sutherland shines at Palisade |

Sutherland shines at Palisade

GRAND JUNCTION ” Amber Sutherland made up for some lost time on Saturday.

Competing in just her second track meet of the 2004 season, the Glenwood Springs High School senior won the girls shot put by more than two feet and qualified for next month’s Class 4A state championships in two events.

“In the shot things were really clicking,” Sutherland said.

The senior ” who was second in the state in the shot last season and won the discus state title ” threw a season-best 38-foot, 21⁄2-inch winning toss, well ahead of the 35-1 mark of runner-up Jill Lloyd of Fruita Monument.

And while they didn’t count in the final placing, Sutherland also had the second and third-best throws in the event ” both over 37 feet.

“Her 38-plus shot put broke the meet record and it’s farther than she was throwing at this time last year,” Glenwood head coach Blake Risner said.

Sutherland wasn’t as sharp in the discus, but her third-place toss of 112-2 bettered the 4A state qualifying standard by two inches.

“The discus is the more technical of the two (events),” Risner said. “So it’s going to take some time for Amber to get the big throws in the 120s and 130s.”

Due to a malfunction of the automatic timing devices that didn’t allow for timed events to be counted as prequalifiers, Sutherland was the only area athlete to reach a state prequalifying mark in the 22-team Palisade Invitational at Stocker Stadium.

But it failed to dampen the spirits of Glenwood coach Risner or his Rifle counterpart Matt Peterson for their teams’ efforts.

“We had numerous personal records and kids dropping time off,” said Peterson, adding that the Bears are where he wants them to be right now.

Risner was equally pleased.

“Starting with last week’s Eagle Valley Invitational, we’ve started to show tremendous improvement,” he said. “The results of (the team’s) training is starting to show.”

Rifle had a better finish in the team standings. The Bears were third in the girls meet with 81 points. The boys took fourth.

Glenwood, paced by Sutherland’s double-victory, had three gold medalists in Saturday’s meet.

Sophomore Chris Benson, with a 6-0 best in the high jump, was the lone area boys event winner. He also earned third place in the triple jump.

Individually, Rifle’s John Alderson and Andrew Stone were runners-up in the triple jump and shot put, respectively.

Alderson flew in at 42-13⁄4 for second ahead of Benson’s 40-61⁄2 mark in the long jump. Stone, who had qualified for the state meet earlier this season, and hurled a 47-51⁄2 toss on Saturday, lost the boys shot put to Grand Junction Central’s Maurice Manley by an inch and a-quarter.

The Bears had better success in the relays.

The girls 4×100-meter relay team of Lindsey Bowen, Savannah Beecraft, Heather Andersen and Ali Little captured the event in 4 minutes, 14.85 seconds, barely edging Fruita Monument’s 4:14.88 time.

The Rifle boys 4×100 and 4×200 relay teams finished second, posting times of 44.85 and 1:33.37, respectively. In the 800-meter medley relay, the Bear girls took third place.

Roaring Fork’s James Leonard had the best performance among area Class 3A athletes. The Ram senior took fourth place in the boys long jump at 19-11 and was fifth in the triple jump.

Basalt recorded two fifth-place finishes, both in the boys meet, by shot putter Hank Kindall (46-2) and sprinter Frank Howard (24.02, 200 meters). Grand Valley took eighth place in the boys 4×800 relay.

All five area teams are scheduled to compete in next Saturday’s annual Demon Invitational at Glenwood High’s Stubler Memorial Field.

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