Constien, Trotter in photo finish |

Constien, Trotter in photo finish

Special to the DailyBattle Mountain's Val Constien runs to fourth place Friday during the 800 meters at the state meet Friday.

DENVER – Talk about a photo finish.

OK, Thompson Valley’s Karina Ernst won the 4A girls 800 meters Friday at state, going away with a time of 2 minutes, 10.36 seconds, and Alison Deitsch of Palmer Ridge took second in 2:16.45.

And then there was a blur at 2:18. Seven runners finished within 84-hundredths of a second, including Battle Mountain’s Val Constien (fourth, 2:18.26) and Eagle Valley’s Roxy Trotter (eighth, 2:18.92).

“I literally didn’t know whether Roxy was sixth or 11th,” Devils coach Jeff Shroll said. “I’m not making that up. All of us had no clue.”

“Unbelievable race,” Huskies coach Rob Parish said. “Seven girls finishing at 2:18?”

One can start fights arguing whether the 800 or the 400 is the most demanding race in track. One cannot argue that Eagle County is well-stocked with superb 800 runners in Vail Christian’s Ashlyn Gruber, as well as Constien and Trotter.

And when it comes to the latter two, they are both sophomores, so look for this duo to keep battling it out for the next pair of years.

In the meantime, both are getting their fill of state experience, an invaluable asset, especially for athletes from the Western Slope. Constien finished third in the triple jump Thursday and was part of 3,200 relay squad that finished ninth.

Trotter also showed no stage fright.

“The competition is intense,” Shroll said. “For a sophomore who started working out just after Christmas with a group of 12-15 other kids to be a second-and-a-half off the school record is impressive. The first thing she said afterward was that she couldn’t wait for next year. Those are not the regular first words after an 800.”

Trotter is about 1.5 seconds off Kim Smith’s 800 mark, and if you’re in the neighborhood of the Smith or Gamble families in Eagle Valley circles, you’re headed in the right direction.

Oh, Mandy …

And speaking of pretty well-known families, Battle Mountain’s Mandy Ortiz took seventh place in the 3,200 Friday with an 11:37 in her first state appearance in the open two-mile.

“It was a good race,” Ortiz said. “I was nervous but I ended up placing seventh. I’m happy with how I did. It was a really good experience.”

“The result and the reward for Mandy and Val were born a year ago,” Parish said. “So many people want to do well, but they prepared for these days by taking the necessary steps beforehand. I’m impressed, but not surprised.”

The Huskies had a few unpleasant surprises Friday. The girls 1,600 relay of Isabelle Courtois, Constien, Katia Lopez and LaRose Currie ran a 4:02, a school record, and still did not qualify for today’s finals.

The same thing happened to Courtois in the 300 hurdles with her 46.96. That broke her old Battle Mountain record, but still didn’t put her through.

Eagle Valley is done with the state meet, but will stay down in Denver to soak up the experience. Meanwhile, Battle Mountain has Ortiz in the 1,600 as well as its pole-vaulting trio of Molly Childers, Bailey Garton and Zach Guida today.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or