DENVER — Michelle, ma belle.
Eagle Valley’s Michelle Carbajal is the 4A state champion in the triple jump.
These are, indeed, words that go together well.
Carbajal was the headliner on Day 1 of the state meet for Eagle Valley, leading a bunch of Devils onto the podium as well as qualifying performances in preliminaries.
Carbajal is Eagle Valley’s first state champion since Ashley Rohweder in 2007 — the 300-meter hurdles.
“It’s amazing,” Carbajal said. “It’s crazy it happened on that last jump.”
Carbajal is no stranger to the state meet. In fact, she’s been the top seed in the triple jump the past two years, but missed the brass ring.
“I think it helped,” the senior said of not being No. 1 entering this year’s meet. “I wasn’t as nervous as I was in previous years.”
Nonetheless, Carbajal was sitting in fourth going into her final jump. The key was “punching her hips” in the third phase of her jump for maximum distance. And that led to a leap of 36 feet, 10.75 inches, 2.5 inches ahead of Longmont’s Sydney Wetterstrom.
“When I jump my farthest jumps, I don’t think anything,” Carbajal said. “I’m just trying to lengthen every one. When I had my last one, I knew I had it.”
And that triggered a celebration by the jumping pit as Eagle Valley’s state athletes were there rooting for her. Carbajal had a celebratory cry with jumping coaches Katie Rivera (nee Wick) and Jen Sewall.
Devils head coach Jeff Shroll joked that Carbajal “pulled a John Elway,” although the senior competes in the 400 relay preliminaries today.
“It’s a great way to end my senior year,” Carbajal said. “I finished school yesterday, and today I finished with a gold medal.”
The Eagle Valley 3,200 squad of Gino Giovagnoli, Nathan Maddox, Luis Chavez and Dominic Patterson took silver with a time of 7 minutes, 59.75 seconds, behind only Broomfield (7:55.49).
That’s the second time this season the Devils broke the 8-minute mark, a stunning feat.
“Gino ran a season-best 1:57,” Shroll said. “Nathan and Luis were 2:02s, which is right where we needed to be. Dom had incredible closing speed in the last 200 (meters) to get us over the hump.”
Riley Rowles blew out the baffles in the triple jump. He went 44-8 for bronze. That was quite the surprise since he’d never been past 43 feet.
“We thought he jumped off the wrong board,” Shroll joked.
Continuing the happy jumping theme, McKenzie Sisson is a bronze medalist in the high jump. And she actually got the medal. (We’ll explain).
First off, Sisson went 5-1 without missing, which was the theme of the day in 4A high jump. That put her in a three-way tie for third. But Sisson actually won the coin flip for who got to take home the actual medal. (CHSAA only brought one medal each. The others will get theirs in the mail.)
After Day 1, the Eagle Valley girls are second with Mountain View at 16 points behind Thompson Valley and Longmont (17). The boys are leading with 15, one point up on Broomfield.
First, it’s nice for Devils fans to see their school’s name up there with the best in the state. Second, it’s early.
But on the other hand, the Devils ladies are in a position to add to their total after Thursday’s preliminaries. Carly Volkmer was fourth in the 400 open and on her way to the finals. Megan Asmussen punched her ticket in the 100 with ninth. The girls medley is sitting pretty after finishing second. That’s Sisson, Asmussen, Roxy Trotter and Volkmer. Take out Trotter and put in Lauren Thorpe, and that’s the 800 relay which finished fifth on Thursday.
“The girls’ side is set up really nicely,” Shroll said. “We’re expecting good things in both 4-by-4s and we’re looking forward to Riley in the long jump.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.