Gamble heats up in 110 hurdles
AURORA – Brad Gamble shot a glance right, then left, before coasting across the finish line with an easy win Friday in his 300-meter hurdles heat.The Eagle Valley senior, observing that he had his race easily won, slowed down in the final 20 meters to save energy for today’s final at the 4A state track meet at Legacy Stadium in Aurora. He’ll need it. The 300, in which Gamble ran a third-best 39.82 seconds, was the third event Friday in which he qualified for a final today and the fourth event in which he competed. He ran a personal-best 14.06 in the 110 hurdles to grab the No. 1 ranking heading into today’s final. He then ran a searing anchor leg in the 400 relay, earning a final appearance with teammates Wes Minett, Sean Matheson and twin brother Alex.The unit’s time of 42.89 was just six-hundredths of a second slower than first-place qualifier Mountain View. Longmont was second in 42.84 and Mullen was third in 42.87.If the running wasn’t enough, Brad Gamble took fifth overall in the long jump final. He barely scratched on a jump of 23 feet, 7 inches – which would have given him state gold – before settling for fourth with a leap of 22-11.5.”I accomplished all the goals I set out to do,” Gamble said. “In the 300, I just wanted to win my heat. I’ll win the finals (today). My goal is to get under 14 in the 110, and under 37 in the 300. I got my goal in long jump by jumping 22 feet.”
Eagle Valley coach Jeff Shroll backed his senior star up on his hurdles predictions, saying, “You heard it here first.””I know he’ll get it,” Shroll said. “I know he will break into the 13s. I really do. He won’t get 36s (Friday), but he’ll get it (today).”Despite unrelenting temperatures, which hung in the 90s for nearly the entire day, Gamble said he felt fine physically after his four-part role in Friday’s action. OK, there was one concern.”The only problem is my feet,” Gamble said. “I think I have blisters. They hurt like crazy.”Rivera is runner-upJunior thrower Jake Rivera also had a memorable debut at the 4A state meet. In the discus, he threw a personal-best 153 feet, 6 inches to finish second behind Evergreen’s Jeremiah Giamfartolomei.”It felt good when I let it go,” Rivera said of his toss. “It could have been higher, but it felt good.”
Rivera’s only disappointment was that he didn’t break the school record of 160 feet. He’s got one more year to accomplish that task. Plus, he said, he now has to worry about today’s shot put final.The junior also earned the distinction of being the one local athlete at the 4A state meet Friday who said the scorching heat was beneficial. “I think it helps because it gets your muscles all loose,” he said. “I like it.”Sprinters don’t advanceWhile Gamble has another busy day ahead of him today, his teammates on the 400 relay will have more downtime than expected. Matheson, who won the 3A 100-meter crown last season, finished second in his 100 heat Friday, but failed to advance to today’s final. His time of 11.45 was 11th overall. Had he shaved three-hundredths off, he would have earned a lane assignment. The junior said he was nervous when he got into the blocks, and that a bad start was what cost him. He said he was still pleased with his result.
“I’m kind of tight,” he said. “I ran out of the start and I stood right up. That probably took off some valuable time. I was really nervous. I didn’t expect to do this good, so I’m pretty happy with it.”Matheson also won state 3A gold in the 200 last year, but failed to advance past prelims in his heat Friday. He and Minett finished 17th and 18th, respectively, with times of 23.41 and 23.53. The 800 relay team of Matheson, Mike Smith, Mike Medsker and Alex Gamble didn’t qualify for the final, either, finishing 14th overall in Friday’s prelims with a time of 1:33.41.Shroll said he was proud of his team’s performance, considering that Friday was Eagle Valley’s first foray into 4A state competition.”It’s a good measuring tool for what we have to contend with, for however long we’re going to be in 4A,” he said. “I’m proud of them. They’re stepping up. Everybody’s nervous. Again, they’re going up against kids with times that are just incredible. We’re going up against teams that are ranked nationally. We’re going up against individuals that are ranked nationally. Nobody’s heard of Eagle Valley. So, yeah, they’ve got a little bit of nerves to them.”Vail, ColoradoNate Peterson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 608, or via e-mail at email@example.com.
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