Eagle Valley put to the test at Tiger Invitational
GRAND JUNCTION Eagle Valley coach Jeff Shroll was spouting Dickens after this weekend’s Tiger Invitational wrapped up in Grand Junction.”It was the best of times and the worst of times,” Shroll said. “We had a lot of personal bests, but it was a really tough meet. We saw some incredible competition. It was probably the toughest meet I’ve ever been to.”Bad newsThe bad news first: Junior Sean Matheson ran a state qualifying time of 11.13 seconds in 100-meter prelims Friday, only to have the time not count. Wind gauges showed that Matheson’s heat had a reading above the allowable limit for a back wind, so the result was voided. Matheson finished third in Saturday’s 100 final with a time of 11.56, but the time wasn’t good enough to qualify for state. He will have to qualify at regionals this week if he is to challenge for the 100 title in 4A – one of the two events in which he won individual gold last season in 3A.”It’s just the way it goes,” Shroll said. “There’s nothing we can do about it. It’s pretty rare when it happens. I was watching him, and it seemed fine to me, but that’s the way it goes.”Matheson’s teammate Wes Minett finished sixth in the 100 with an 11.92. Good newsThe good news: Mike Smith took first place in Friday’s high jump final by clearing 6 feet. Brad Gamble finished second in the long jump by soaring 21-5.5 and took first in the 110 hurdles with a 14.63. Gamble also won Saturday’s 300 hurdles final, after having already secured state qualifying times in both the 110 and 300. In Friday’s prelims, Gamble ran a personal-best 38.29.Jacob Rivera finished fourth in both the discus and the shot put, qualifying for state with his discus toss of 144-9. His shot put of 47-0.75 is still a few inches short of the state prequalifying mark.Jake Brock also ran a personal best in the 3200 with a 10.26 and Matheson and Minett were fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 200 with times of 23.27 and 23.33. The 200 final led to a photo finish for the first five runners across the line because the race was so tightly contested.The 400 and 800 relays also performed well. The foursome of Minett, Matheson and Alex and Brad Gamble finished third with a 43.78 in the 400. Matheson, Mike Medsker, Mike Smith and Alex Gamble were fourth in 1:34.25 in the 800.The Devils were in the lead for most of the day Saturday, Shroll said, but fell back a few spots after the 1600 final and the triple jump.Shroll said the team finished third or fourth among the field of 5A and 4A teams.”That’s what got us was the four-by-four and the triple jump,” he said. “There were a lot of teams that ate us up in those two. Early on, it showed that we could run with these guys and take the lead from them, which we did for a good part of the afternoon. We saw some absolutely incredible competition, so I’m happy.” Girls persevereThe Lady Devils didn’t arrive in Grand Junction fully loaded. With freshman speedster Jessie Rice sidelined by a knee injury and junior Rachel Sandoval and freshman Beckah Stough absent, the Lady Devils finished 10th overall.Shroll said he was pleased by his team’s gritty effort.The 1600 relay team of Jessica Medsker, Sasha Picksley, Jessica Stiles and Kenzie Shreeve took third with a time 10:31.41. Freshmen speed merchant Ashley Rohweder finished sixth in the 100 with a 13.69.Shroll said the 100 final featured some of the fastest runners in the state in 5A, and that Rohweder ran a faster time of 13.19 in prelims. Rohweder also recorded a third-place finish in the 300.”She had a little trouble getting out of the blocks today,” he said. “You could tell she was a little tired.”Shreeve finished third in the high jump after clearing 5-1. Heather Mann finished fourth in the 400 final.The Eagle Valley throwers were also impressive. Kayla Phillips had a personal best in the shot put with a 34-2.5 to finish eighth. Diana Baca was right behind Phillips with a shot put of 33-1.75.Shroll said, overall, the meet was a great opportunity to size up the 4A field heading into regionals. He was also encouraged by the way his team responded to a late night Friday, with the final event not getting over until around 10:45 p.m., and an early morning Saturday at 7 a.m.”We usually have a 10:30 curfew at regionals, so to be out there that late, then to try and get something to eat afterward before going to bed, it’s not a great training environment,” he said. “I think we learned a little bit as coaches. I think next year we’ll pack our lunches and make sure to eat a little better. You could see the grogginess of everybody. I think this adds experience for everybody, though, and it gave them a chance to see how tough everyone is going to be at regionals.” Nate Peterson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 608, or via e-mail at email@example.comVail, Colorado
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