Prep notebook: State track meet concludes and baseball playoffs begin
Pennington, Shreeve and San Diego reach podium to pace Devils
Three Eagle Valley athletes stepped onto the podium on the final day of the Colorado state track meet Sunday in Lakewood, leading the valley’s local contingent at the three-day championships.
Zakia Shreeve placed sixth in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 46.58 seconds. Coming around the backstretch, Shreeve was in eighth place, but her strong homestretch run improved her position. The freshman also joined Hayley Bates, Sam Blair and Jordan Neifert on the 4×400-meter relay team to end the meet, running 4:10.59 to finish 14th.
Ian Pennington soared 13 feet, 9 inches — a personal best by seven inches — to finish tied for fifth place in the boys pole vault. Pennington cleared the last height on his third and final attempt. His teammate, Isaac San Diego, also had a personal best, going 13-3 in his final meet to place seventh.
Battle Mountain’s Patrick Friery finished 11th with a mark of 12-9.
On the track, Sullivan Middaugh and Milaina Almonte returned to race the 1600-meter run after sterling 3200-meter races Saturday. Middaugh found himself in a record-setting race for the second consecutive day. 3200-meter champion Connor McCormick of Longmont set another 4A meet record with his time of 4 minutes, 6.97 seconds. Niwot’s Zane Bergen also broke the old record, running 4:07.72 to place second.
Middaugh went out with the fast pace, running 61 seconds for the opening lap and coming through halfway in 2:08.01. After running a 4×800 leg and a 9:15.50 3200, the cumulative fatigue barely caught up with the senior, who wound up 12th in 4:20.04, just 0.07 seconds off of his own school record, set last week.
Almonte’s race also went out quick, and the junior hung with the lead pack through 400 meters. After splitting 2:31.9 at the 800, Almonte came home in 5:14.35 to place 14th. Almonte had perhaps the most demanding state schedule, dipping her toes in a 400 (4×400) and 800 (4×800) as part of relays in addition to her 1600 and 3200 individual races.
“It’s exciting; I’m definitely excited to do all four events this year,” the junior said after Saturday’s races.
“Definitely changing my mindset about track and enjoying it more.”
Augustine Hancock wrapped up her impressive senior campaign, placing fourth in the discus with a throw of 118 feet, her second podium of the weekend. Giavonna Meeks went 161-11 to win, with Sydney Flores (121-1) and Chloe Wooden (119-6) just sneaking in front of Hancock, who set the school record of 126-10 earlier this year.
Hancock’s younger sister Kiki was an integral part to Friday’s second-place 800-meter sprint medley relay, and the freshman hopped on the 4×400-meter relay team with Lindsey Kiehl, Almonte and Presley Smith to place third (4:01.45) on Sunday.
The Eagle Valley boys ran 3:29.52 in the 4×400, two seconds faster than their previous best, in the day’s final race. The team of Steven Manzo, Jake Drever, Brody Nielsen, and Roman Turner placed 14th.
Battle Mountain playoff baseball game moved to Monday
Battle Mountain’s first round game against Northfield in the 4A Region 3 tournament was moved to Monday at 1:00 p.m. due to the weekend snowstorm. The Huskies will be making their first postseason appearance ever.
“Overall, Battle Mountain baseball has grown tremendously this year,” stated head coach Harrison Stevens.
“Our players and coaches have embodied our core values of respect, commitment, family, focus and discipline. We speak with our players about the importance of demonstrating these values not only on the baseball field, but in their everyday life. I am proud of our players that have committed to being a part of our program, and for doing what it takes to be a part of something bigger than themselves.”
After falling to Summit 8-3 on May 4, Stevens expressed frustration over a lack of “game-like intensity” in practice.
“If we treat our practice reps with game-like intensity, then the game doesn’t speed up on us,” he said at the time.
“It’s not a switch that you can turn off and on.”
Since then, Stevens has been pleased with the intensity at practice.
“Our players have responded well, and have taken practice reps with game-like intensity,” he said in an email over the weekend.
“Now, they get to play loose and trust their preparation.”
After falling to the Tigers, the Huskies won four in a row before dropping a double-header to Rifle, setting up a must-win against Basalt to end the regular season.
“Cooper Irwin threw tremendously in our last regular season game against Basalt,” Stevens said of the 11-1 victory. Irwin struck out nine in five innings, allowing zero earned runs.
“That was a great team win in which many players contributed. In a win-or-go-home scenario, our guys stepped up!”
Historically, district winners advanced to the state tournament, something Battle Mountain hadn’t previously accomplished. The current format is a 32-team regional playoff. The No. 29-seeded Huskies will face No. 4 Northfield, with the winner facing either No. 13 Montrose or No. 20 Denver North.
Stevens believes Northfield will be “a solid team that is well rounded both offensively and defensively.”
“When you get to the playoffs, every team is going to be a tough opponent,” he stated.
“It will come down to who executes more consistently and wins pitch to pitch.”