Eagle Valley Devils, Battle Mountain Huskies eye titles at state track meet
We have not forgotten the Vail Christian track and field team. We just wanted to give the Saints their own preview. Please look for it in Thursday, May 17’s edition.
Were the 4A state track meet, which starts on Thursday, May 17, at Jeffco Stadium to be a boxing card, it would do boffo pay-per-view business.
That’s because for Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley, the three days at Jeffco Stadium make up a whopper of a lineup with several events having Huskies and Devils at the top of the state rankings.
In the girls’ 1,600 meters, the top three athletes in 4A are from Eagle County. In boys’ pole vault, the top four are locals.
It is not hard to see athletes from either 4A squad bringing home a lot of medals this weekend.
Blair vs. Battle Mountain?
Looking at the heat sheets for the meet, it does look like Eagle Valley’s Joslin Blair is taking on the Battle Mountain Huskies.
Take the open, 3,200 meters on Friday. Blair is ranked fifth, while the Huskies’ Lizzy Harding is No. 2; Elizabeth Constien No. 7 and Grace Johnson No. 9.
“We coaches know the rivalries are there,” Devils coach Jeff Shroll said. “But by this time of year, we all want the Western Slope to best the eastern Slope. Each of us want our kid to come out on top, of course, but it’s cool to see our county on the state level.”
When American ski-racer Bode Miller was at the top of his game during the mid-2000s, there were rumors about the Austrians deploying an “Anybody but Bode” squad to try to derail his chances of a World Cup championship. The idea was to enter specialists in each discipline to deny Miller of wins and points throughout the season — Bode won the overall globes in 2005 and 2008.
This is a way of saying that the Huskies do not approach state as a competition against Blair.
“We have a strategy for each of our kids for each race,” Battle Mountain coach Rob Parish said. “Taking nothing away from Joslin, who is fantastic, we have strategies for what our kids do best in competition.”
That said, Friday’s 3,200 is just one of three races with Blair competing against a pack of Huskies. Later on Friday, Blair is the No. 3 seed in the 800 with Naomi Harding at No. 5; Raichart at 12; Trueblood at 13 and Constien at 17.
And the headliner has got to be the 1,600 on Saturday, May 19. Blair is the top-ranked miler at 5 minutes, 1 second, with Lizzy and Naomi Harding in second and third, respectively, having recorded times of 5:02 last weekend.
The short answer is yes.
The most obvious candidate is the Huskies girls’ 3,200 relay. Battle Mountain is the defending champion — Sofia Piliero, Raichart, Lizzy and Naomi Harding won in 9:24 last year.
Trueblood goes in for Piliero and the rest is the same in 2018.
Palmer Ridge has the top 4-by-8 time at 9:35.51 this spring, with Battle Mountain No. 2 at 9:36.29. Keep in mind that times drop like a rock at state with tapering and, certainly in Parish’s case, finding the “perfect” foursome, a season-long quest.
“We’re going to have to be faster than last year,” Parish said.
Blair has to be in the mix in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200. As a sophomore, she’s No. 1 in the 1,600, No. 3 in the 800 and No. 5 in the 3,200.
“I really think she has a true, legitimate shot in all three events,” Shroll said. “I’ve watched her compete in the fall (cross-country) and the spring, and she’s just full of confidence.”
The same could be said of the Huskies girls in the same events. Battle Mountain has three each in the in the 1,600 and 3,200 and four in the 800.
“I 100 percent think there should be girls on our team competing for a state win,” Parish said. “In distance, some days are good days and bad days. The best day is when you get a good day on race day, such as Elizabeth Constien in the fall when she hit it out the park (at the 4A state cross-country meet, winning the individual state title).
And abundance of riches
With all Blair-Battle Mountain talk, the boys’ pole-vaulting scene is rather staggering. Battle Mountain’s Wyatt Nelson took over the top spot with a leap of 14 feet, 3 inches. The previous No. 1 was Eagle Valley’s Ethan Daubs. Now No. 2, Daubs leads the Devils with Joseph White in third, and Holden Daniels in fourth. Oliver White gives the Devils four in that event.
Eagle Valley’s Cassie Jaramillo is in the hunt in both throwing events, though shot put is probably her best opportunity for gold. Her official distance for state qualification is 38-0.5. Roosevelt’s Logan Derock — a great name for shot put — leads the pack at 40-8.
Shroll likes her chances.
“There’s nothing out there that we haven’t seen Cassie do in practice,” he said.
News and notes
• Yes, the forecast has rain in it for Friday and Saturday. CHSAA announced on its website on Tuesday, May 15, that it does not anticipate compressing the three-day meet into two, like it had to do last year for snow.
• While Parish generally talks modestly about his state teams and individuals, he was particularly upbeat about his girls’ 1,600 team and James Moran in the open 800. That’s simply worth noting.
• Eagle Valley’s last individual track and field champion was Michelle Carbajal in the triple jump in 2014.
Local state meet schedule
Thursday, May 17
4A girls —Medley — Eagle Valley (10), Battle Mountain (12), prelim, 8:45 a.m.
4A girls —100 hurdles — Tristin Book, Eagle Valley (15), prelim, 10:35 a.m.
4A boys — 100 hurdles — Harrison Trotter (8), Eagle Valley, prelims, 10:45 a.m.
4A girls — 3,200 relay — Battle Mountain (2), Eagle Valley (16), 12:05 p.m.
4A girls — Shot put — Cassie Jaramillo, Eagle Valley (4), 11:30 a.m.
4A boys — 3,200 relay — Battle Mountain (12), 12:20 p.m.
4A girls — 200 — Sabrina Sutter, Battle Mountain (17), 1 p.m.
2A boys — 100 — P.G. Nkalang’ango, Vail Christian (T15), prelim, 2:40 p.m.
2A girls — 800 relay — Vail Christian (3), prelim, Thursday, 3:25 p.m.
2A boys — 800 relay — Vail Christian (4), prelim, Thursday, 3:35 p.m.
2A boys — 3,200 relay — Vail Christian (10), 5 p.m.
2A boys — 200 — Harry Jaffe, Vail Christian (11), prelim, 6:05 p.m.
2A girls — 400 — Kendelle Smith, Vail Christian (8), Mariana Engleby, Vail Christian (16), prelims, 7:05 p.m.
2A boys — 400 — Quinn Mitchell, Vail Christian (15). Hayden Sticksel, Vail Christian (14), prelim, 7:13 p.m.
Friday, May 18
4A girls — 3,200 — Lizzy Harding, Battle Mountain (2), Joslin Blair, Eagle Valley (5), Elizabeth Constien, Battle Mountain (7), Grace Johnson, Battle Mountain (9), 8:20 a.m.
2A boys — Pole vault — P.G. Nkalang’ango, Vail Christian (T14), 8:30 a.m.
2A girls — 400 relay — Vail Christian (10), prelim, 9:15 a.m.
2A boys — 400 relay — Vail Christian (9), prelim, 9:23 a.m.
4A girls — 300 hurdles — Emma Reader, Battle Mountain (15), 10:50 a.m.
2A girls — Pole vault — Blake Layman, Vail Christian (10), 11 a.m.
4A boys — 300 hurdles — Harrison Trotter, Eagle Valley, prelims, 11:15 a.m. (6)
4A girls 800 — Joslin Blair, Eagle Valley (3), Naomi Harding, Battle Mountain, (5), Alex Raichart, Battle Mountain (12), Gabby Trueblood, Battle Mountain (13), Elizabeth Constien, Battle Mountain (17), 12:55 p.m.
4A boys — 800 — James Moran, Battle Mountain, 1 p.m. (5)
4A boys — High jump — Matthew Turner (T18), Eagle Valley and Harrison Trotter (T10), Eagle Valley, Friday, 1:30 p.m.
4A girls — Long jump — Sabrina Sutter, Battle Mountain (10), 2 p.m.
4A girls — 1,600 relay — Battle Mountain (3), prelim, 3:15 p.m.
4A boys — 1,600 relay — Eagle Valley, prelims, 3:28 p.m., (9)
2A girls — 1,600 relay — Vail Christian (3) prelim, 3:40 p.m.
2A boys — 1,600 relay — Vail Christian (4), prelim, 3:53 p.m.
Saturday, May 19
4A boys — Pole vault — Wyatt Nelson, Battle Mountain (1), Ethan Daubs, Eagle Valley (2), Joseph White, Eagle Valley (3), Holden Daniels, Eagle Valley (4), Oliver White, Eagle Valley (13), 11 a.m.
4A boys — Discus — Max Christenberry, Battle Mountain (T8), 11 a.m.
4A girls — 1,600 — Joslin Blair, Eagle Valley (1), Lizzy Harding, Battle Mountain (2), Naomi Harding, Battle Mountain (3), Grace Johnson (12), 11:10 a.m.
4A girls — Pole vault — Emma Reeder, Battle Mountain (15), 1:30 p.m.
4A girls — Discus — Cassie Jaramillo, Eagle Valley (10), 1:30 p.m.