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TCA sweeps 3,200 relays to get 3A state meet off to strong start
LAKEWOOD - The Classical Academy got off to the best of starts in its quest to regain the state 3A championship by winning both the girls' and boys' 3,200-meter relays – the girls setting a meet record in the process – at the state track and field championships Friday at Jeffco Stadium.
The TCA girls covered the distance in 9 minutes, 24.95 seconds. That crushed the record set by TCA in 1999, by 4.26 seconds.
“Getting a state record, I don't think that was in any of our minds,” said Shelby Stableford, who ran the third leg. “We knew we wanted to come out here and run our best and set the tone for the rest of our team. Getting a state record is amazing.”
What's more amazing than that was that the TCA team of Brianne Hoglin, Lauren Hamilton, Stableford and Regan Mullen was running together for just the second time. Their first time was at the league championships a week ago when they set their best-in-3A seed time.
After Hoglin got TCA out to a lead in the first leg, Hamilton blew it open in the second.
“On the second lap I thought, “Oh my gosh, my legs are killing me,'” Hamilton said. “I knew this was my last time to run with my favorite teammates, so I just pushed and felt this new power come into me.”
For the Titans, who won the state team title in 2009 and 2010 before settling for second last year, going all out from the start was part of the plan.
“Girls-wise, we were more conservative last year and I feel like it hurt us a little bit psychologically,” TCA coach Timothy Daggett said. “We wanted to come out a little stronger this year and set the tone.”
“We talked about setting the tone with the 4 X 8s,” TCA distance coach Alan Versaw said. “They were determined – they were going to set the tone. Both of them did; we knocked them out of the park.”
That home run for the Titans' boys had some unexpected assistance. Colorado Springs Christian came in seeded eighth but with the lofty goal of knocking off top-seeded TCA. They nearly did with a time of 8:03.05, more than 6 seconds better than the CSCS school record.
“We came in with the idea to stick on their tails the whole way around,” CSCS senior Sam Marsh said. “We got second but we're still proud of our time.”
By coming in almost 10 seconds better than the best previous mark in Class 3A, CSCS provided the push needed to spur the TCA quartet of Nathan Wilson, Jake Purvis, Jonathan Isaac and Adam Avischious to a 7:59.85, smashing the Titans' school record of 8:03.29.
“CSCS gave us a lot more of a push than we were planning for and our guys responded,” Versaw said. “We didn't know that call was coming but the guys answered it.”
While pleased with the result, Daggett hopes that starting out so strong won't cost his team later in the form of fatigue in future events.
“Every decision you make as a coach, those are all gambles,” he said. “They ran a great race and they have a lot of racing ahead of them. We like the momentum that we've created.”