Linder, Vlaar get big points for Saints |

Linder, Vlaar get big points for Saints

Ian Cropp
Vail, CO Colorado

GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado ” When you prequalify for the state track meet, you can theoretically take it easy in the meets leading up to the big show.

Don’t tell that to Vail Christian’s Jessica Linder.

Linder, who had already earned a pass to state in the 1,600 and 3,200, set some personal marks this weekend at regionals while piling on the points for her team.

In the 1,600, Linder came in third at 5 minutes, 30.76.

“That was her personal best by two seconds,” said Vail Christian coach Amy Flamming.

Before her 3,200 race, Linder had her best career performance in the 800, taking fourth at 2:28.26.

“She ran a great race,” Flamming said. “It was a really close race for second, third and fourth.”

A little after running the 800, Linder took to the track for the two-mile, where she had enough gas left in the tank to overtake Paonia’s Johanna Reed 100 meters from the finish to grab second at 12:11.31.

“It was pretty awesome,” Flamming said. “That was her best 3,200 by 8 seconds.”

Lettie Fickling, meanwhile, entered the 3,200 for the first time this season and pulled out a sixth-place finish at 12:54.43, a good half-minute better than her best performance from last season. Fickling cracked the six-minute mark in the 1,600 to take seventh (5:57.47).

“Those points helped,” Flamming said.

Fresh off a great soccer season, Elizabeth Shearon blasted her way into the finals for the 100, 200 and 400. Shearing took sixth in the 200 at 28.91 and eighth in both the 100 (14.42) and 400 (1:09.89).

Earlier this week, Flamming assembled a girls 800 relay team of Hannah Vancuren, Rachel Burnett, Fickling and Shearon, and the girls showed promise for next year, taking sixth at 1:59.15.

“It was just for fun, and they did great,” Flamming said.

If Vail Christian’s young 3,200 relay squad of Eric Gallagher, Ian Hamina, Chris Purse and Ryan Vlaar keep improving at the current rate, the Saints may want to hold off on writing their time in record books, which may not be for a while. The underclass team (two sophomores, a freshman and a junior) came in at 8:53.83, good for second place and their best mark by 10 seconds.

“They’ve got plenty of room to grow,” Flamming said of the state-bound squad.

Vlaar assured himself another 800 meters on the track next week at state in Pueblo with a third-place finish Saturday at regionals in the open 800 (2:07.49 ” a two-second personal record).

Jason Propp had his best career high jump, leaping 5 feet, 8 inches, good for eighth.

“We had a great peaking meet, and almost everyone had p.r.’s,” Flamming said.

Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or

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