Eagle Valley’s Blair takes gold in state 1,600
LAKEWOOD — Eagle Valley’s Joslin Blair is the queen of the mile. Bring her all the ice cream in the land.
Blair capped a superb state meet in the ultimate fashion on Saturday, May 19, at Lakewood’s Jeffco Stadium, winning the Class 4A 1,600 meters in 5 minutes, 6.22 seconds.
And to celebrate, Miss Blair?
“Definitely some strawberry cheesecake ice cream,” she said.
And were this a basketball game, Devils fans would be chanting, “She’s a sophomore.”
That, ladies and germs, is a staggering thought given that the sophomore leaves Jeffco with three state medals — bronze in the 3,200, fifth in the 800 and the really shiny one in the 1,600.
Blair is the Eagle Valley state champion since Michelle Carbajal climbed to the top step in the triple jump back in 2014.
“It’s a whole season’s worth of training,” said Devils coach Jeff Shroll said. “She’s had excellent coaching from (long-distance) coach (Charlie) Janssen. She’s done such a good job of listening to him and taking his strategies to the track. It was all the things we dream about as coaches and worked out great today.”
And, thus Blair ended up on top of the nine-step podium with a gold medal draped around her neck.
“It’s definitely super cool,” Blair said. “It’s pretty high.”
‘Go hard and don’t stop’
About the only thing Blair didn’t do on Saturday was break her own school record in the 1,600. She had a run a 5:01 at the Fairview Invitational on April 19, earning her the top time in the state during the regular season.
As often happens in the distance ranks, Blair found herself among familiar company in Saturday’s, 1,600. She went out with Discovery Canyon’s Liberty Ricca and Valor Christian’s Taylor Whitfield, who had topped her in the 3,200 on Friday, May 18.
The strategy was a lot different, though, than Friday’s race. In sum, it was essentially, “Go, get ’em, Joslin.”
“Go out hard and don’t stop,” Shroll said. “Keep the pressure on. We know she’s strong enough in those 400s to take everyone’s ability and outkick them at the end.”
Blair took out the first of her four laps in a blistering 1:10, or 1:10.004, if you’re counting at home.
“That first lap, the adrenaline got me,” Blair said. “I was going a little too fast.”
By 800 meters, Blair had roughly 7-tenths of a second on Whitfield and held that through the third lap. It should be noted that these split times were being relayed to Blair. While that’s all well and good, Blair said she couldn’t hear Shroll, Janssen or any of her teammates yelling those out because of the din at Jeffco Stadium. She only saw her times when she saw the scoreboard, and figured she was OK.
The only thing that was like Friday’s 3,200 is that Miss Blair can kick in the bell lap. That final 400 was a 1:13.40. Blair held off a charge from Ricca and ended up taking Whitfield by 1.02 seconds.
After bursting through the tape — about the greatest feeling in track — she bent over hands on her knees to catch her breath, while Devils Nation went nuts.
The much-ballyhooed Eagle County Showdown never materialized as Battle Mountain’s 1,600 runners Grace Johnson finished seventh; Lizzy Harding 11th and Naomi Harding 15th.
In just two years, Blair has finished 14th and seventh in the fall in the state cross-country meet and now has three state medals. While this season has just ended, the future appears very bright for Blair.
“It’s definitely motivated me for cross-country and track, to try to get on that podium again,” she said.
In other Eagle Valley action, Harrison Trotter finished fifth in the 110 hurdles, setting a new personal best for himself at 15.02 seconds. Cassie Jaramillo went 96 feet, 4 inches in the discus, but did not make the finals.
In Vault-a-Palooza 2018, a majority of the podium was from Eagle County. The Devils’ Joe White finished fourth in 13-9, followed by Battle Mountain’s Wyatt Nelson in fifth, also at 13-9. Ties are broken by the number of attempts to make a height. Accordingly, Eagle Valley’s Holden Daniels was sixth, followed by teammates Ethan Daubs and Oliver White, all at 13-3.
Huskies’ 1,600 third at state
Battle Mountain’s girls brought down the curtain on state with a third place finish in the 1,600-meter relay on the final day of state.
Sofia Piliero, Gabby Trueblood, Naomi Raichart and Alex Raichart finished in 4:01.75.
With the completion of the mile relay, the Huskies were sitting in fourth place at the meet behind Valor Christian, Niwot and Discovery Canyon. That is easily the best showing by a Huskies girls’ track and field team at the 4A meet since the school moved up to that classification.
As previously noted, Eagle Valley’s Blair won the open 1,600. Coach Rob Parish was pleased with Grace Johnson’s 5:12.57 in the race, good for seventh. Lizzy and Naomi Harding had tough days, which are certainly allowed.
“They just had an off day,” Parish said. “They’ve done a lot of winning. They were running 5:02 just a week ago. You can’t them all. You can’t hit it out of the park every time.”
The Huskies’ Max Christenberry took eighth in the discus on Saturday, while freshman Emma Reeder made the finals in the pole vault.
And lest anyone forget, the Huskies leave Jeffco Stadium with their second consecutive girls’ 3,200 relay title.