Twice as nice
Post Independent Sports Editor
LAKEWOOD — Jorge Hernandez was pretty confident going into his leg of the 4×200-meter relay on Friday. And it showed.
The Coal Ridge High School senior, who ran the anchor leg of the finals, held off a late push at the finish line claim the school’s second consecutive state championship in the event in the Class 3A State Track and Field Championships at Jefferson County Stadium.
“I kept thinking about it,” Hernandez said. “I thought that if he caught up to me, that meant that he was pushing himself to catch up. So when I went around the corner, I knew I could get him there.”
He did, and he held on.
“That wasn’t an easy fight at all,” he said.
Hernandez, along with Michael Shaw, Raul Oyarzabal, and Chris Conteras, set a new personal-best time in the event by winning in 1 minute, 29.16 seconds. And Herrnandez’s ability to accelerate down the home stretch helped him hold off second-place Manitou Springs (1:29.22).
It was the second consecutive time the Coal Ridge boys have won the 4×200, and Oyarzabal and Contreras were on that team as well.
“It’s better this time because it’s with different guys,” Conteras said. “And to do it twice and include [Raul], it feels like it’s double the accomplishment.”
The Titans finished Friday with 12 team points — good for 12th in the team standings — but have multiple qualifiers in today’s running finals. Classical Academy also has quite a few finalists, however, and leads the team standings with 35 points. Colorado Springs Christian (27) is second, with Sterling and Trinidad following with 22 points.
The Coal Ridge girls also fared well in the 4×200, managing a third-place finish in 1:46.07. Classical Academy also leads the girls team race, with a point total of 59 leading the way. The Titans’ point total of 11 points was good for 13th through Friday’s events.
The Coal Ridge girls also earned chances to score big today. The Titans’ 4×400 relay of Becca Mitchell, Kelsey Fauser, Paige Ryan and Alicia Hampton qualified first in the 4×400 preliminaries by a wide margin, as the team’s time of 4:05.35 was better than Trinidad’s second-place time by more than two seconds.
Not everything ended on an up note for the Titans on Friday, however.
Edgar Enriquez, who was running in the finals of the 800 meters, was in second place and making a move toward first coming into the final straightaway of the race. But within moments, Enriquez was shaking off a crowd with his shoulders and had fallen well behind the pack. He failed to place in the event.
“A guy grabbed me right here from behind and pulled me back,” said a frustrated and exhausted Enriquez following the race. “I just tried to shake him off, but I couldn’t.”
Coal Ridge coach Ben Kirk said an official on the final turn raised a yellow flag to signal a violation. Kirk was also called into a conference with meet officials, where he filed a written appeal.
“But after they got together, they came back to me and said there was nothing they could do,” Kirk said. “The real shame of it is that the kid who did it is the kid who won the thing.”
Daniel Marsh, a junior at Colorado Springs Christian, won the state title with a winning time of 1:58.48.
Another 3A competitor who has a chance at a state place today is Grand Valley’s Rocio Roman. Although she didn’t place in the 800 final on Friday, the senior will compete in the 100 and 300 hurdles finals today. Also competing in both of those finals will be Coal Ridge freshman Amber Bowles.
In the 4A meet, Glenwood Springs set itself up for a possible strong finish on the boys side.
Glenwood’s 4×100 relay team, which has broken the school record in the event twice this season, qualified for the event final in 42.95 seconds as the fourth seed in the race. Qualifying as the sixth seed in the 300 hurdles — yet not far off the first-place time of Lorne Jenkins of Niwot (38.38) was Glenwood’s Auston Tribble in 38.98. The Demons’ 4×400 relay team qualified eighth in 3:25.20.
Aaron Wagler of Rifle, who was competing at the state meet with strep throat, just missed out on getting the Bears on the scoreboard. The senior finished with a time of 1:59.82, with was good enough for 10th place and just .09 seconds away from the ninth-place time of Jared Parker of Discovery Canyon.
He did, however, beat David Suarez of Battle Mountain, who nipped him in the Western Slope League Regional for second place in the 800 but finished 12th overall on Friday. Wagler also finished 10th in the 400 on Thursday.
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