Eagle Valley eyeing podiums at state track meet
Vail, CO Colorado
GYPSUM, Colorado ” Sometimes, a track team relies on a single athlete or type of event to score most of its points.
Not Eagle Valley.
The Devils showed throughout the season they were capable of scoring points from anywhere. It paid off with a trip to state where Eagle Valley will compete in nine different events.
One of the strengths for the Devils this season was the field events. Sisters Kacey and Jamie Bair led the attack in the shot put and discus. The duo will compete in both events at state.
“It’s a good reliable place to get points,” Eagle Valley coach Jeff Shroll said. “They are reliable athletes in terms of how they throw and what they do.”
The close bond between Kacey and Jamie helps on the track. When something isn’t going well, Jamie said she can always look to her sister for advice.
“(Shot put and discus) take a lot of technique,” Jamie said. “Luckily, I have my sister there with me. We can help each other out and coach each other.”
Senior Zak Thrall will compete for Eagle Valley in the shot put. After battling mononucleosis for the past two weeks, Thrall is ready to go for state.
“He said, ‘I won’t miss this for anything,'” Shroll said. “He’s had a great year.”
Ryan McClintock rounds out the Devils in the field events in the long jump. At regionals, McClintock won the event with a jump of 21-feet, 5-75-inches.
“With him, he’s got every ability to be on the podium,” Shroll said. “Certainly he can do that. I think he’s capable of going 22 feet. He’s excited about it. He knows he can do it.”
On the track, the Devils were just as effective this season. Senior Sierra Pickslay sprinted into state in both the 200 meter dash and 400. Her busy Thursday also includes a leg in the 400 relay.
“To be able to do that in this format is really outstanding,” Shroll said. “I relied on her a lot more in just the leadership perspective. She’s been a great leader and a role model to the younger girls on the team.”
In the 4-by-100, Pickslay will be joined by teammates Shaylynn Nielsen, Emily Kingston and Angela Phillips. Shroll thinks the Devils are a threat to score points in the event if they execute their hand-offs.
In the boys’ events, Eagle Valley is led by Joe Trujillo. The senior punched his ticket to state in both the 800 and 3,200 relay. The 4A field in the open 800 is wide-open, Shroll said.
“I’m looking forward to that one,” Shroll said. “The 800 has always been one of my favorite races.”
The 4-by-800 was a strength for the Devils all season. Joining Trujillo will be Mario Gonzalez, Griffin Turnipseed and Andrew Hill.
“They all feel as I do as a coach ” they feel inspired by the great success Battle Mountain had in that race last year,” Shroll said. “Mario moving down has really made it a powerhouse team.”
Eagle Valley starts its state meet with a busy Thursday. The Devils will run in the 4-by-100, 400, 200 and 4-by-800.
Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.