Sutherland silver at state meet
By Phil Sandoval
Post Independent Staff
LAKEWOOD – This year, the deck was stacked against Western Slope track athletes at the 4A state meet.
Competing against a field which set eight new state records, area teams didn’t earn a state title, but did turn in some outstanding performances.
“We had Western Slope teams compete (at regionals) better than in recent memory,” said Glenwood Springs head coach Blake Risner. “Then we come over here and (Western Slope athletes) can’t contend with these schools like they’ve done in the past. That shows the 4A meet has stepped it up a notch.”
But Glenwood’s Amber Sutherland, who last year won the discus title and was second in the shot, had no problem competing at the higher level.
The Demon senior had the highest finishes among area athletes, capturing second place in both the girls discus and shot put.
Sutherland was leading Saturday’s discus competition at 124 feet, 8 inches going into the last round of three throws in the final as she watched Ashley Stephens of Colorado Springs Sierra jump ahead after ripping off a 126-8 toss.
With one throw left in her high school career, Sutherland unleashed her best toss of the day.
But her 126-2 effort came up six inches short.
“I’m really upset, but it just wasn’t my weekend,” said Sutherland, who won the discus with a throw of 130-7 in 2003. “I did the best that I could, but sometimes it’s not enough.”
Still, minutes after completing the discus, Sutherland was on the track for the 4×200 relay final.
The unit of Sutherland, Andrea Vincent, Leah Hinkey and Nicole Wagner finished seventh at 1 minute, 47.95 seconds.
Later, in the 4×100, the same foursome came in at 50.21, good for sixth place.
Sutherland came up just short of improving on last year’s second-place finish in the shot put.
Event-winner Tiffany Dkystra of Pueblo Central set the tone Friday when the junior uncorked a 37-101Ú4 heave in the first round of the finals. Sutherland, more than a foot behind heading into the third round, uncorked a 37-63Ú4 toss.
“Even though it wasn’t the top-two girls’ best performances, they had a pretty good battle,” Risner said. “They went back and forth at the 37-foot range. Amber finished second by four inches, but I was pretty happy for her.”
The shot put ring was also good for Rifle’s Andrew Stone.
Rebounding from a sub-50 foot performance at last week’s regional meet in Grand Junction, the Bear junior finished third in Saturday’s finals with a lifetime best of throw of 51-5. On Friday Stone finished sixth in the discus with a 149-1 effort.
State: see page 15
Rifle was the only area school to have a boys relay team advance from Friday’s preliminary heats to Saturday’s finals.
Running against the state’s best, the Bear boys 4×100 squad placed sixth while clocking a season-best time of 43.93.
On the girls side, senior Savannah Beecraft had a solid showing, finishing seventh in the 800 meters with a time of 2:22.38. Rifle freshman Elisabeth Strouse ran a 13th-place time of 5:36.14 in the girls 1,600 meters.
In other field event finals held on Saturday, two area boys triple jumpers – Rifle’s John Alderson and Glenwood’s Chris Benson – finished seventh and ninth with marks of 44-13Ú4 and 43-4, respectively.
Demon senior Ryan Erickson improved from last week’s personal best in the discus, hitting a 146-5 to score ninth place.
Area sprinters had a rough day in Friday’s prelims, as none finished in the top nine to advance to Saturday’s finals.
Rifle’s Brian Hileman and Ali Little posted the top marks with 12th place in the boys 100 and girls 200, respectively. Little was 17th in both the girls 100 and 400. Hinkey, also running in the 100, finished 14th.
Bear sophomore Tyler Gose, the lone area state-qualifier in the boys hurdles, finished 13th in the intermediates and took 14th place in the highs.
Senior Heather Anderson had the best time – 46.85 – among Rifle’s two 300 hurdlers. Anderson’s mark put her in 11th place, and teammate Jessica Martinez finished 18th.
The 10th-place Bear boys 4×200 Relay team clocked a season-best 1:31.79, but were edged out of the event finals by three-hundredths of a second by ninth-place Greeley Central.
Other competing area relay teams not moving on to the finals were Rifle’s girls Medley, 4×400 and 4×800 teams.
The top nine preliminary times in all events advanced to Saturday’s finals.
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The Coal Ridge High School volleyball team closed out the 3A Western Slope League season at home Thursday night with a three-game win over Aspen (25-20, 25-11, 25-14).