Devils, Finley shine at Eagle Valley Invitational
Vail, CO Colorado
GYPSUM, Colorado ” There’s no doubt the Eagle Valley track team is a gracious host, but that doesn’t mean the Devils like to share.
The same could be said for Buena Vista’s Mason Finley.
The Devils won the boys’ title at the Eagle Valley Invitational with 190.5 points, easily topping Buena Vista’s 106 points. Glenwood Springs took home top honors on the girls’ side with 154 points, barely edging Eagle Valley’s 152.
All Finley did was set a new Colorado state record in the shot put with a toss of 67 feet, 0.25 inches. In the discus, Finley recorded the longest throw in the United States in high school this year with a throw of 217-feet.
“It’s awesome,” Finley said. “I keep progressing. I have higher goals, but this is great.”
The UCLA-bound Finley flashed his skills by launching the discus and shot put well past his competitors. The crowd couldn’t help but admire his talent. Finley, a senior, owns the state records in both events.
“This is the first meet with great weather,” he said. “I had to relax and not let the adrenaline take over. It’s all about technique.”
Finely’s heroics aside, the meet belonged to Eagle Valley. The Devils started their day in the 4-by-800 meter relay with a first-place finish in the boys’ race. Andrew Hill, Griffin Turnipseed, Uvaldo Trujillo and Joe Trujillo sprinted to the title with a time of 8 minutes, 41.09 seconds.
It was just the start of a strong day for Eagle Valley in the relays.
“The relays are good,” Eagle Valley coach Jeff Shroll said. “We have some super-strong kids.”
The Devils recorded another first in the 4-by-100. This time, Angela Phillips, Emily Kingston, Shaylynn Nielson and Sierra Pickslay crossed the finish line in 52.65 for the crown. Nichole Harvey, Kendra Clements, Elizabeth Schwagert and Pickslay combined for a time of 1:56.48 for second place in the 800 relay. Pickslay, Nielson, Schwagert and Kingston also finished second in the 800 medley.
The Battle Mountain boys ran strong in the 4-by-100. Reidsel Mendoza, Chris Libertini, Jake Robertson and Reeve Sanders finished third in 47.06.
The Devils also racked up points in the individual events. Phillips claimed first in the 100 hurdles with a time of 16.71. In the pole vault, Phillips took second with by clearing 7-6. Couple those finishes with her performances in the relays, and it was a good day for Phillips.
“Angela is an amazing athlete,” Shroll said. “She works really hard in practice.”
Vail Christian’s Jessica Linder notched a victory for the Saints. In the 800, Linder edged Battle Mountain’s Amelia Ortiz with a time of 2:34.28 for first place. Linder also took fifth in the 1600. Vail Christian’s Ashlyn Gruber also did well with a third-place finish in the long jump.
In the girls’ 200, Pickslay scored eight more points for Eagle Valley with a second-place finish.
On the boys’ side, Eagle Valley’s depth helped in its big victory. In the triple jump, Chris Brubeck and Willie Madgziuk finished first and second. Brubeck won with a leap of 40-02.
Harrison Neal added a first-place finish for the Devils in the 400 with a time of 52.85. He also took second in the 200. Eagle Valley’s Jalen Aquino took fifth in the event, while Battle Mountain’s Parke Robbins finished eighth.
The points kept coming for the Devils in the 110 hurdles and 800. Eric Kline claimed second in the hurdles with a time of 16.66. James Jagger added a fourth-place finish. In the 800, Eagle Valley’s Joe Trujillo finished second in 2:02.09.
The impressive day in the track events ended with the Devils sweeping the 3,200. Mario Gonzalez took first in the boys’ race with a time of 10:35.30. His smooth stride easily allowed him to pull away from the field.
“The first six laps, I always try to be in second place,” Gonzalez said. “The last two laps, I turn it on. I try to just focus on the race and not think about the pain.”
Eagle Valley freshman Kelly Cassidy won the girls’ 3,200 with a time of 13:33.34.
“Mario and Kelly are the cross country connection,” Shroll said. “Kelly being a freshman and Mario being a junior, they are fun to watch.”
The field events were also strong for the Devils. In the girls’ discus. Kacey Bair and sister Jamie Bair claimed first and second place. Kacey edged her sister with a winning throw of 113-05. Battle Mountain’s Piper McMillin was fourth in the event.
“I just busted it out,” Kacey Bair said. “I’m glad (we finished 1-2). Me and my sister always compete against each other. It’s a good competition.”
Finley’s performance may have stole the show in the boys’ field events, but there were a number of other strong performances. Eagle Valley’s Zak Thrall and Pollo Almanza finished second and fifth, respectively, in the discus. Thrall added a fourth-place finish in the shot put with a toss of 48-05.
In the boys’ pole vault, Robertson finished in third for Battle Mountain after clearing 11 feet. The Devils’ Austin Woodworth took fifth.
Eagle Valley, Battle Mountain and Vail Christian are all back in action on Saturday at the Demon Invitational in Glenwood Springs.
Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.