DENVER — Class 1A track and field is not strictly the province of schools from the eastern plains or small Denver schools.
Vail Christian, that little school from the Western Slope, finished the state meet with a flourish Saturday, as the girls 400-meter relay team and Mack Cooper captured state titles. The Saints girls, all five of them, finished third in the state, behind only Shining Mountain Waldorf and Dove Creek. The Vail Christian boys were sixth.
“It’s awesome,” Cooper said. “I don’t know where we are (in the standings), but the we’re well-placed in every event.”
For Cooper, the big question was whether his hamstring would hold up. He posted his state-qualifying height back in March and hadn’t vaulted since the injury.
“That was the biggest worry,” Cooper said. “I was just hoping to vault and not have anything happen. I didn’t know how well I would do.”
The hammy was good and so was Cooper. He started at 10, feet, 8 inches, and had the state title at 12-4. But Cooper wanted the state record — 12-6, held by somebody named Gunnar Wilson in 2011.
Cooper finished up a 13-6, so he has bragging rights until Wilson brings up the fact that he was on a state-title soccer team and a third-place basketball team this year. (We’re just guessing here, people.)
Not to be outdone, the quartet of Isabella McCormick, Kristen Currey, Celia Smith and Taylor Alexander did what no Saints relay has done before — win state gold. The 400 relay set a 1A state-meet record with a time of 51.99 seconds.
That means Celia Smith leaves the state meet with four medals — silver in the pole vault, and bronze both in high jump and the 800 relay.
“Walking up to that podium after being third and second, it was nice to be on that top step,” Smith said. “I had been so close.”
Alexander also picked up four state medals. She already had gold in pole vault. She added 400 relay gold along with silver in both the open 100 and 200.
And the bad news for the state is that this Saints — both girls and boys — are young. Cooper is a senior, but the rest of the gang returns.
For the boys, it was really a matter of getting everyone in the same place at the same time. With mission trips, the school play college testing and advanced-placement exams, the gents really hadn’t been able to focus on track until the last few weeks. As it turns out, they know what they’re doing.
Ethan Pence was third in the mile. Cole Caynoski was third in the 200 and fifth in the 100. The boys 400 ran a 46.46, good for a silver medal. Cooper Daniels was fifth in the pole vault.
We didn’t have a lot of time to practice,” Caynoski said. “We don’t have a lot of guys running 100s and 200s in meets. We were working on handoffs in practice, and everyone really stepped it up.”
Battle Mountain’s girls 1,600 relay team cracked the four-minute mark for a school record and a third-place finish on the final day of state Saturday.
Katia Lopez, Val Constien, Lilly McMurrain and Sofia Calabrese clocked a 3:57. That’s fast, kids.
“Last year, they ran a 4:02 and were bummed that they didn’t make the finals,” Huskies coach Rob Parish said. “We lost Izzy Courtois and LaRose (Currie). Katia and Val have been the veterans and Lilly and Sofia have been great additions.”
Molly Childers finished fourth in the pole vault with a leap of 10-6.
Calabrese was seventh in the 300 hurdles and McMurrain ninth. McMurrain was in third place until she clipped the final hurdle and took a nasty spill. Nonetheless, she got herself up and finished the race. Both are sophomores, so they’ll likely get another shot.
David Suarez was 11th in the mile with a time of 4:29.
Austin Tafoya went 12 feet in the pole vault.
Set a record. Break a record.
That was the theme for Eagle Valley track and field Saturday at state.
OK, Aaron Kline “only” tied his school record. But when you go 14 feet and finish second in the state, you get a pass. Kline, a senior, was clean and efficient with his jumps, and that was key. Five vaulters all went 14 feet Saturday, but Kline made his jump on his first attempt, giving him the silver.
Sophomore Carly Volkmer was eighth in the 400 with a time of 58.11. That is four straight outings she’s broken her own record.
The girls 1,600 relay team is on the same sort of streak. Volkmer, Roxy Trotter, Haley Collier and Victoria Schwaiger ran a 4:03 for seventh. That four races and four new school records.
“The only way to describe this year was epic,” Devils coach Jeff Shroll said. “I think the Epic Pass should apple to Eagle Valley track. That’s the best way to describe this season.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.