Rohweder golden in 300 hurdles
DENVER – Eagle Valley’s Ashley Rohweder stood on top of the podium at the 4A state meet Saturday at Jeffco Stadium in Denver and didn’t pass out. “I was so tired. It was really hot,” the junior said. “I was thinking that I hope I don’t fall over and pass out because that would be dumb.”There was no way that was going to happen because Saturday was about as perfect a day as they come for the Devils junior. Rohweder entered the state meet as the favorite in the 300-meter hurdles and left no doubt winning the 4A title in a time of 44.11 seconds.And with that, Rohweder Nation, composed of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, celebrated.”They were going bezerk,” Rohweder said. “They were jumping up and down. It was a mess. They were all at the top of the stands. People were giving them some crazy looks. ‘What are you doing?’ It was awesome.””They were as fun to watch after the race as she was during the race,” Devils coach Jeff Shroll joked.With the win, Rohweder became the first female athlete from Eagle Valley since Kim Smith in 2003 to strike gold at the track meet. And Smith is very good company when it comes to Devils track. She three-peated in the 800 from 2001-03.
Rohweder is also the firstyoung lady to capture a 4A state title for the Devils.”It has not hit me at all yet,” Rohweder said. “Everybody was, ‘Why aren’t you jumping up and down?’ I said, ‘Don’t get me wrong. I’m excited.’ It hasn’t quite registered yet.”
Rohweder said she was surprisingly free of the pre-race jitters. Running in lane No. 4, she would have a good view of her competition. There was only one problem.”I hit the fifth or sixth hurdle at the corner and I thought, ‘Where is everyone? Why are they not on my tail right now,'” Rohweder said. “I turned the corner and into the straightway and said, ‘Let’s just go for it.'” By that point, Shroll knew Rohweder was in the clear.”They were probably even through the first four hurdles,” he said. “After that, you could see her hop hers first. If you’re going to catch Ashley, then you need to do it on the corner. If you don’t, nine times out of 10, it’s over. If she’s coming down the stretch, she ain’t going to lose.”Rohweder hit the tape ahead of Falcon’s Rachel Thomas by 73-hundredths of a second.”We had a big hug and a big cry,” Shroll said. “I’m very proud of her.”Smith’s time of 44.11 was just 5-tenths of a second off the state-meet record.”I like to say it’s sweeter every time,” said Shroll who’s coached some greats during his career at Eagle Valley. “It’s nice to drive away from track down there with all the hard work we’ve put in and you get a kid to the top. It’s a great feeling.”As a junior, Rohweder will have a chance to defend her title next May. But for Saturday night, she hit the Olive Garden, complete with a song from her family.”Someone today was like, ‘You get to defend it next year,'” Rohweder said. “I said, ‘I’ll tell you in 365 days.’ I’ve got a whole year ahead of me.”Technically, it’s 366 days, Ashley, as 2008 is a leap year.
Rohweder and company weren’t done Saturday. She anchored the 400 relay team, including Sierra Pickslay-Zamora, Shaylynn Nelson and Hattie Higgins, to sixth place in a time of 50.09. The Devils were just 1-hundredth of a second behind Fountain-Fort Carson. “One-hundredth, are you serious? If I leaned an inch more,” Rohweder said. “But we came in ranked eighth. Just getting sixth was great.”It was also another school record for this crew, this time by a half a second. The previous record lasted all of 24 hours after being set in Friday’s preliminaries. Having also set the school’s 800-meter relay mark Friday, the Devils sent off senior Higgins in style.
“I’m really happy for Hattie Higgins,” Shroll said. “She’s been such a workhorse for Eagle Valley track and she gets to leave with the school record in the 4-by-1 and 4-by-2.”Senior Amy Thompson finished her athletic career on a high note as well, taking fourth in the discus, throwing for 115 feet, 7 inches.”Fourth in the state in discus is awesome,” Shroll said. “She was out there throwing in the snow during football season and lifting weight. I didn’t get to see her fourth-place medal, but she earned the bling that she gets to wear.”Mike Smith earned his second medal in as many days, going 6-4 in the high jump, tying for sixth, despite a bad hamstring which nearly kept him out of the competition.”I’m proud of him. That’s just an amazing comeback,” Shroll said. “He cleared 6-4 today and he hasn’t practiced high jump in a month. What a kid and what an athlete.”Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.