Almonte and Kiehl take seventh and 13th for Huskies in 1,600-meter run on final day of 4A state meet |

Almonte and Kiehl take seventh and 13th for Huskies in 1,600-meter run on final day of 4A state meet

Summit's Ella Hagen took the individual win in 4:54.35

Ella Hagen (green, right) settles in during the first lap of the 4A girls 1600. Battle Mountain's Milaina Almonte and Lindsey Kiehl can be seen in the middle of the pack.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

Milaina Almonte might not have all the shiny state title accolades, but her trademark consistency and wide-ranging abilities were on full display all three days of the 4A girls state track meet at Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood.

The Santa Clara University commit closed out her final day of prep competition with a four-second best in the 1,600-meter run (5:02.86) on Saturday, claiming seventh place there before returning for a leg on Battle Mountain’s fourth-place 4×400-meter relay squad a couple hours later. Her teammate, junior Lindsey Kiehl, did the same, running 5:09.66 to take 13th in the 1,600 before doubling back.

After 73 and 80-second opening laps, the entire field was in the race at halfway.

“After I saw the 800-meter split, I knew I could keep the pace instead of having a slower second half,” Almonte said. “So, I just said, I’m not going to settle at all on the third lap and I’m going to try and go around people because I knew it wasn’t as fast as some of the races I’ve done.”

Ella Hagen, who led 3,100 out of 3200-meters in her first event on Thursday, roared into the lead and never looked back, closing in a 2:19 second 800 to finish first in 4:54.35.

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“It feels amazing,” Hagen told the Summit Daily after dipping under five minutes for the first time in her career. “It is something that I have been chasing for a long, long time. I knew that I could do it. All season I have been right on the brink, so doing it on the final race, on the big day is amazing.”

Ella Hagen crosses the finish line to win the 4A state girls 1,600-meter run on Saturday at Jeffco Stadium.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

Almonte closed hard as well. After a 1:15.90 third revolution, Almonte clocked a 1:12.16 final lap — of the final race — of her remarkable career.

“This is it, your last chance, last individual race in this jersey,” she said of her backstretch acceleration meditations. “Just everything I have I should leave it out there and go for it.”

Lindsey Kiehl takes off at the start of the 4A girls 1,600-meter run on Saturday.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

She picked off two opponents and finished in a time that trails only Liz (4:58.49) and Naomi (5:00.38) Harding and Elliot Pribramsky (5:02.26) on Battle Mountain’s all-time list. Coach Rob Parish said that to his knowledge, she is just the sixth Battle Mountain girl to reach the podium in four events at state (3,200, 1,600, 4×800 and 4×400) — with both Harding and Calabrese (Izze and Sofia) sisters and Val Constien being the others.

Almonte, who will join Lindsey Whitton in competing on the USATF U20 team heading to Innsbruck, Austria, for the 2nd World Mountain and Trail Running Championships on June 10, was pleased with her three-day effort.

“I feel good,” she said. “I was excited with my PRs; I definitely wish I could have maybe shot for higher places, but the competition was just really good. Everyone was in good shape and it was fun to race everyone.”

Milaina Almonte crosses the finish line of the 4A girls 1,600-meter run in seventh place on Saturday at Jeffco Stadium.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

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