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Region's athletes will try to stay on top or bust out at state track and field
Many individuals, teams shined in 2011
3A: Nathan Weeks, sr., TCA (49.78)
5A: Tyler Zito, sr., Doherty (14.66)
300 hurdles 5A: Ryne Chavez, sr., Doherty (37.91)
4A: Harrison (41.96)
4A: Vista Ridge (1:27.29)
3A: TCA (8:13.97)
4A: Andrew Dubiel, sr., Vista Ridge (174-3.5)
4A: Colt Sessions, soph., Cheyenne Mountain; (6-7)
3A: Collin Scheer, jr., TCA (6-7)
4A: Tony Carodine, sr., Widefield (23-4.5)
3A: Allison Kropkowski, sr., TCA (57.15)
3A: Regan Mullen, sr., TCA (2:14.28)
4A: Heather Bates, jr., Discovery Canyon (4:58.74)
3A: Regan Mullen, sr., TCA (5:03.71)
3,200 meters 4A: Heather Bates, jr., Discovery Canyon (10:51.19)
3A: Shelby Stableford, sr., TCA (11:14.42)
3A: Alexa Chacon, jr., TCA (14.62)
4A: Sand Creek (1:43.76)
3A: TCA (9:33.87)
Rachael Jackson, sr., Mesa Ridge (18-9)
The overarching theme from last year's state track meet was breakout performances for athletes from the Pikes Peak region.
Now, some of those same athletes will try an equally daunting task -- staying on top when the state's best track and field athletes gather for three days of competition starting Thursday at Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood.
Fountain-Fort Carson's Markesh Woodson will have his work cut out for him as he tries to repeat as 100- and 200-meter champ in 5A, as a hamstring injury kept him out of action for most of the season.
“His hamstring is fine, but he just hasn’t run a whole lot this season,” said Fountain-Fort Carson coach Ben Montoya, who is sending 10 athletes in hopes of a third consecutive team title. “He’ll show what he has left, and hopefully he can get in the finals in both events and do well. But you never know, because his competition will be the best in the state.”
Fort Collins High School senior Raymond Bozmans will be Woodson’s biggest hurdle to repeating as champion. Bozmans has the state’s top times in the 100 (10.27 seconds) and the 200 (20.87) this year.
Another returning state champion who emerged at least year's meet – 5A high jump champ Ryan Cook of Rampart – has also been bitten by the injury bug. Cook, who won his title with a jump of 6 feet, 10 inches last year, pulled his right groin moving furniture a month ago and is not 100 percent heading into the weekend.
“There’s a lot better competition this year, so even if I was fully healthy, it’d be a challenge to repeat,” said Cook, who will attend Drake on a track and field scholarship this fall. “State’s a whole different game than our regular meets. You have adrenaline from a bunch of people watching, and you’re going against the best 18 jumpers in the state and that makes you want to go even higher.”
Tony Carodine, the reigning 4A triple jump state champ from Widefield, has been on point all season, holding the state’s best long jump (23-4.5) and the second-best triple jump (49-2). Elizabeth’s Scott Carter, who has the longest triple jump (49-5.75) and a top-10 long jump, should be Carodine’s top challenger.
On the girls' side, Discovery Canyon's Heather Bates seems primed to not only defend her 4A 3,200 title, but add a win in the 1,600 as well. The junior carries the state's best times in both events at 4:58.74 in the 1,600 and 10:51.10 in the 3,200.
Teams will also look to fend off challengers, with Cheyenne Mountain (4A boys'), Fountain-Fort Carson (5A boys') and TCA (3A girls') taking the uncomfortable position as front-runner.
Still, the meet could again be about breakout stars, as the area has plenty of contenders.
Mesa Ridge’s Chris Cutcher, who won the 110 hurdles and finished second in the 300 hurdles at the CSML meet, Coronado hurdler Andre Young and Vista Ridge sprinter Brandon Cartagena in 4A and Doherty hurdlers Tyler Zito and Ryne Chavez in 5A could challenge for titles.
TCA's Alexa Chacon could sweep the hurdles in 3A. Fountain-Fort Carson sprinter Chelsie Horton should contend in the 200 and 400 in 5A, with Mesa Ridge’s Rachael Jackson looking for titles in the 100, 200, 400 and long jump in 4A.
But perhaps the biggest story could be a freshman who wasn't on anyone's radar two months ago.
Pine Creek freshman sprinter Alleandra Watt has been making waves this season, securing top-five times in the 100 (12.09) and 200 (24.61) and helping the Eagles to the third-best 400 relay time this season. One of 18 Eagles to qualify for state, Watt will be a serious contender in every event.
“She’s a great kid,” Pine Creek coach Max Oliver said. “She’s just a freshman, but she’s not shy and doesn’t back away from anything. She loves to run, and she just has this perfect flowing form. Her running style is superb.”