Titans sweep relays to earn 3A silver
Post Independent Sports Editor
LAKEWOOD — Jorge Hernandez had glassy eyes from all of the tears he’d cried on Saturday.
And all of them, mind you, were good tears.
“This is how I dreamed about how our day would go,” the Coal Ridge High senior said. “I never thought it could be possible until now.”
There were plenty of unbelievable performances that came from the Coal Ridge boys on the final day of the Class 3A State Track and Field Championships on Saturday at Jefferson County Stadium. Hernandez won the title in the 200 meters by the slimmest of margins, and the Titans’ clean sweep of the relays helped earn them a second-place finish in the team standings.
“We didn’t expect this, but that was our goal,” added Hernandez, who also anchored the Titans’ winning 4×100-, 4×200- and 4×400-meter relays. “Our goal for the meet was 70 points, and as it turned out some unfortunate things ended up happening. But we stuck with the goal, and this still happened.”
The Classical Academy came away with the team title with 91 points. Coal Ridge, thanks to the winning time of 3:23.05 in the 4×400 by Edgar Enriquez, Chris Contreras, Raul Oyarzabal and Hernandez, scored the 10 points it needed to reach the 57.5 it needed to beat third-place Eaton (56).
Couple that with the 4×400 relay title scored by the Coal Ridge girls just before the boys’ race, and the victories capped a banner day for Coal Ridge.
“You can’t describe the feeling of when you get here,” said Amanda Wenzel, who joined Paige Ryan, Alicia Hampton and Amber Bowles in winning the school’s first girls state championship in 4:01.98. “You just can’t explain how good of a feeling this is in words.”
The Coal Ridge boys had a wide range of emotions from start to finish on Saturday. The Titans’ top hurdler, Andy Bowles, went down with a hamstring injury early in the 110-meter hurdle finals. Though the one point he scored for walking the 300 hurdles final didn’t make a total difference in the team scoring, the 4.5 he scored from tying for fourth place in the high jump might have.
“Walking that race,” Coal Ridge coach Ben Kirk said, “Was totally his decision.”
Not to be outdone, the Titans won the boys 4×100 in 43.33 seconds. Hernandez’s winning time of 22.18 just nipped Miguel Molas of James Irwin, who finished second in 22.19. It was the first individual state championship in the school’s short history.
“As soon as I saw my name up there on the board, I couldn’t believe it,” Hernandez said.
Coal Ridge got plenty of other good finishes, too.
The Titans’ Brittini Allen finished third in the shot put with a final mark of 37 feet, 8 inches. Also managing a top-three finish was Coal Ridge’s girls 4×100 relay team, which finished third in 50.57. Amber Bowles managed a fourth-place finish in the 100 hurdles, clocking in at 15.82 and finishing fourth by just .01 second.
Rocio Roman of Grand Valley managed a ninth-place finish in the 100 hurdles in 16.99, then rebounded with a fourth-place finish in the 300 hurdles.
Taila Howe of Roaring Fork finished ninth in the 100 meters in 13.36, and her jump of 16-5 1/4 in the long-jump preliminaries was good enough for eighth place.
“I’ve only gotten to compete in four meets this year since I’ve been hurt,” Howe said. “I know I can turn around and do better than this next year.”
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