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Devils stick 20-pronged pitchfork in state

Andrew Harley

The garnishes and centerpieces are being gathered to emphasize further one of the most prolific track seasons in Eagle Valley history.

The Devils boys team added a gigantic victory to its pile of accolades at the 3A Western Slope Regional Meet at Stocker Stadium on Saturday in Grand Junction.

The boys won the meet with 170 points, beating second-place Gunnison by three points. Roaring Fork took third with 81 points. The Eagle Valley girls took an impressive third at the meet with 137 points. The Gunnison girls won with 154 points, and Hotchkiss placed second with 152.



Ten girls and 10 boys earned spots at the 3A state meet in Pueblo next weekend.

“The performances were phenomenal by both the boys and the girls,” said Eagle Valley coach Jeff Schroll. “I’m proud of all of the kids. The other coaches are proud. The parents are proud and the school needs to be proud. They represented our region extremely well.”



The Lady Devils are taking every single relay team they have to state.

The Devils started off the day with a come-from-behind third place in the medley relay. Ellie Comerford, Katie Wick, Rachel Sandoval and Heather Mann set the tone for the day, according to Schroll. With 200 meters to go, Mann – the anchor – found herself 20 meters behind third place. She overcame the hurdle, and the Devils were off to a never-say-die day at the races.

Next, the Devils 3200 team – Jessica Medsker, Wick, Jessica Stiles and Kenzie Shreeve – set a new school record with a time of 10 minutes, 21.14 seconds.



Mann stepped up to the plate for her second of three 400s on the day. She took third with a 1:01.44 and heads to state in the open 400.

“She just had a heck of a day,” said Schroll.

The Lady Devils 400 relay team – Chelsea Craig, Wick, Comerford and Hattie Higgins – would have missed state if a baton had not been dropped by the third-place team. They ran their season’s best with a time of 53.41.

The Devils 800 relay team – Craig, Sandoval, Miranda Hicks and Higgins – took a solid third place with a 1:54.98.

Medsker pulled an upset in the mile, according to Schroll, to take third and qualify for state with a 5:56.18. Medsker will be competing in three events at state. Sandoval took third in the triple jump with a hop, skip and leap of 30 feet, 3 inches. The girls 1600 relay team – Shreeve, Comerford, Stiles and Mann – took second with a 4:21.05.

“I don’t know what to say about the girls. I want to give credit to the team captains, Katie Wick and Ellie Comerford. They’re my two seniors. They kept the team motivated and hungry,” said Schroll. “My ‘Iron Man’ award has to go to Heather Mann. So, that was a good, solid third-place finish for the girls.”

Among all of the Devils’ qualifiers, the team Schroll least expected to go to state was the boys 1600 relay. Aaron Cristando, Tyler Pack, Kyle Simonet and Alex Gamble took 13 seconds off of their season best to win the final event of the day in the heat, and the victory put the Devils boys into first place over Gunnison.

“It was probably the gutsiest performance I’ve ever seen out of a relay team,” said Schroll. “There was a lot of responsibility riding on their shoulders, and they were a lifesaver. We may not have won the meet without that third place.

“My gutsy anchor, Alex Gamble, ran a great leg to keep us in third.”

Wes Minett recorded the upset of the meet, according to Schroll, in the open 400. Minett broke the school record again with a 51.38.

Brad Gamble and Sean Matheson combined for 50 individual points – not including relays. Gamble won the 300 hurdles, the 110 hurdles and the long jump. Matheson won the 100 at 11.14, and he won the 200 with a 22.76.

“He’s smokin’ fast,” said Schroll.

The state’s fastest 400 relay team – Brad Gamble, Russell Allen, Minett and Matheson – won with a 44.08, but it was the Devils’ 800 relay team – Minett, Matheson, Allen and Alex Gamble – who stole the show by posting the state’s fastest time with a 1:31.98.

Jacob Rivera took second in the discus with a toss of 139 feet, 1 inch. Allen placed third in the 100 with a 11.68.

Of the 18 events at the regional meet, the Devils boys took first places in nine, seconds in three and thirds in three.

“It was the toughest, gutsiest performance our guys had all season. They wanted to win this. And, everyone showed us coaches things we did not drive down to Grand Junction expecting to see,” said Schroll.

The 3A state meet begins Friday morning at Dutch-Clark Stadium in Peublo.

Andrew Harley can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 610, or at aharley@vaildaily.com.


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