Kings and queens of the Western Slope
GRAND JUNCTION — Could someone please explain why the Slope League track and field meet is held in Grand Junction?
OK, the weather is better, but the winners of the meet come from Eagle County. Next year, can we do this in Gypsum or Edwards?
All Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley and Vail Christian did this weekend was sweep the 4A titles, win 21 events and break or tie nine school records.
That’s a pretty darn good weekend people, and it says a lot about the world of track and field in Eagle County.
“I think track and field is alive and well, and I’m happy about that,” Devils coach Jeff Shroll said. “(Battle Mountain coach Rob) Parish has an amazing program. His girls are rock stars. It’s good to see how strong it is in our valley.”
“The Eagle Valley boys just stacked them in there,” Parish said. “I think that the quality of track in Eagle County is a reflection of the community, the result of a lot of community support. Honestly, you’ve got established programs and there’s a culture of hard work, big numbers and inclusion at all three schools.”
All of those qualities were on display Friday and Saturday in Stocker Stadium. The Eagle Valley boys won their first league title since 2004. Battle Mountain’s girls made it a three-peat. And Vail Christian’s girls team — all five of them — finished seventh out of 16 teams.
Want dominating? The Eagle Valley boys crushed the Slope in just about every way imaginable. The Devils put up 232 points. Their nearest competition, Palisade (109), could be seen with a telescope.
“It’d take two hours to list everyone who scored,” Shroll joked. “It was insane what we did there.”
We know, Coach. We typed it in.
This is Eagle Valley’s first turn on the top of roost since 2004, and that was Brad Gamble, Sean Matheson, Wes Minett and company. We don’t bring that up to get those guys’ names in the paper again, but to show what a quality squad the 2013 edition is. There are studs on the Eagle Valley boys team — Aaron Kline, Riley Rowles and Zeke Sandoval come to mind — but it’s the depth.
The Devils went 1-2-3 in the 200 meters. That was just one of six boys’ events in which Eagle Valley had three scorers. Not only do you win, but you rout people that way.
“I had a coach who came up to me and told me that he stopped scoring the meet after nine events,” Shroll said.
After Friday, the Devils had 73 points in just five events. If they had done nothing Saturday, then they still would have finished in the top five.
The girls weren’t too bad, either. They had 145 points, only behind Battle Mountain.
On the school-record front, congratulations go out to Kline (pole vault), Carly Volkmer (400) and the girls 800 and 1,600 teams.
This one was harder, and that makes it sweeter.
Battle Mountain girls track and field lost a lot of key athletes from its 2011 and 2012 title teams, but the Huskies just reloaded.
But when you have ladies like Mandy Ortiz, Val Constien, Sydney Gaylord, Tesha Olsen, Katia Lopez, Molly Childers and Jenai Denardo, that allows you to fix things on the fly.
Parish said that the above-listed helped other like Lilly McMurrain, Sofia and Isabelle Calabrese Taylor Anderson Kate Pittel jump right in.
“This group of girls, we asked them to do more than we had ever asked of any group,” Parish said. “We had girls doing four events, and some of them were out of the norm in different areas. They bought into it.”
Ortiz set a new school record in the 3,200, while Constien did the same in the 800. David Suarez also had an impressive double win in the 800 and 1,600.
This pole-vaulting thing really doesn’t seem too hard for Taylor Alexander.
The freshman won the 1A Slope title, going 10 feet, 3 inches, tying her with the previous record of Kylie what’s-her-name.
Life is even better when the second-place vaulter is teammate Celia Smith
Smith and Alexander scored in four different events for the Saints.
“We’ve only got five girls, but they score pretty well,” Vail Christian coach Tim Pierson said.
The Vail Daily will run a list of all official state qualifiers Wednesday after milesplit.com makes them official and coaches from around the state make their official entries.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.