Four more league titles for local teams
GRAND JUNCTION – There aren’t many finals on the first day of a major track meet, but Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley and Vail Christian snagged four individual Slope titles and smashed a bunch of records Thursday at the league meet down in Grand Junction.
One can only imagine the fireworks when the majority of finals take place today.
Vail Christian’s Mack Cooper won the long jump at 1A, while Eagle Valley’s Michelle Carbajal reigned supreme in the triple jump, even by her lofty standards. Battle Mountain’s girls 3,200-meter relay team is a league champ as well as the Huskies’ Logan Carlson in the high jump.
For the sake of variety, we go in reverse alphabetical order by school.
Mack Cooper is a busy guy. The Vail Christian junior is qualifying for state in a bunch of events, but he won’t be going to Denver next week.
He won the pole-vault title for the “small” schools Wednesday. Thursday, he went 19 feet, 8 inches for a win the long jump. His distances in both events would send him to state, but, instead, he’s off to Monterey, Mexico, next week for his school’s mission trip.
“It’s been a great progression through the season,” Cooper said. “It just makes me want to do this much better next year. I want to be the front-runner in the pole vault and the long jump next year.”
Cooper also qualified for today’s finals in the 100 meters. He’s going to be a scratch for that because he’ll be taking his AP U.S. history exam.
“It’s really exciting,” Saints coach Tim Pierson said. “He’s a hard-working young man who does so many things. Mack applies himself the same way with everything – academics, speech, debate and athletics.”
Vail Christian senior Ashlyn Gruber isn’t too bad herself. She broke Molly Brooks’ school mark in the 100 preliminaries Thursday. She’s in the finals in the 100, the 200, the 400 and will also do the 800 today.
“I think the 3,200 is out her range,” Pierson joked.
It wasn’t like there was much drama to Michelle Carbajal making the state triple jump, but she iced her berth Thursday.
Carbajal was third in the state rankings coming in, but went 37-3 Thursday. She’s back into the No. 1 slot in the state and also broke a long-standing Eagle Valley record, held by Yoko Biegelow.
“She P.R.-ed her best by almost a foot,” Devils coach Jeff Shroll said of the sophomore’s personal record. “She did it on her first jump.”
The Eagle Valley 3,200 relay teams had heartbreak last year, finishing 19th in the state, one spot out of a state invite last year. There will be no such drama for the ladies this year.
Katie Hill, Roxie Trotter, Kelly Cassidy and Carly Volkmer laid down a time of 9 minutes, 50.85 seconds Thursday, finishing second to Battle Mountain. That’s a school record, and puts the quartet in sixth place in the state, well within the coveted 18.
Hunter Burnham, Andre Eisenmann, Luis Chavez and Dominic Patterson ran an 8:24, which still puts them on the bubble in 16th. Nonetheless, 8:24 is new school record.
The Devils’ Justin Bukovich hit 5 feet in the high jump. That puts her in a 10-way tie for 13th in Colorado. In the case of ties, everyone at the height goes to state, so she’s a happy camper.
Megan Osteen, who is also in that tie, went, 4-10, for fifth, and Kenzie Sisson was eighth at 4-8.
In the 1,600, Hunter Burnham was fifth for the boys and Nikki Cunning seventh for the ladies.
“I’m so proud of the kids who place, who moved onto the finals and even those whoiii didn’t place,” Shroll said. “Everyone was putting up P.R.s. We broke two school records and there may be more tomorrow.”
Quiet optimism is the tone of Battle Mountain’s camp.
The Huskies ladies are the defending league champs and they seem to be in a good position to repeat in the final day today.
Battle Mountain had placers in all four finals Thursday, and swept the pole vault Wednesday. So far, the squad’s depth is showing.
“We’re right on pace,” Huskies coach Rob Parish said. “In a track meet, there are so many different events, and anything can happen. Everyone performed well and there were no mishaps. We’re well-positioned.”
Tesha Olsen, Christina Shearon, Mandy Ortiz and Val Constien blitzed the 4-by-8 relay. They clocked a school-record 9:48.83. That’s a league title and a school record.
The Huskies had a nice contingent in the open 1,600 with Ortiz third, Christina Shearon fourth and Bridget Courtois fifth.
Logan Carlson win the high jump with a 5-1, and is definitely state-bound. Brooke White was fourth and Sophia Calabrese sixth. In the triple jump, Constien hopped into second with White seventh. Constien went 34-6.75, which ties her for ninth on the state list.
The guys’ 3,200 relay of Irvin Rodriguez, Daniel Ortiz, Ricardo Arreola and Gabrial Aude was sixth, and Jose Marin-Garcia took fifth in the discus.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.