Saints smash regional record
GRAND JUNCTION – It seems like every meet, Vail Christian track and field sets a new school record.Granted, some of the records are when a relay team runs an event for the first time, but Saints’ coach Bob Isbell knows when a new record is something to celebrate.At Saturday’s 2A region 5 meet in Grand Junction, the Vail Christian girls 3,200 relay team likely broke many other school’s records.The team of Katie Russ, Molly McGee, Liz Bowles and Jessica Linder came in at 10 minutes, 12.41 seconds for first place.”They set the regional record by eight seconds,” Isbell said. “We’ve got some talented young ladies. That was really exciting. It was the first race of the day, so it got things off to a good beat.”In addition to the regional record, the 3,200 team bested the school mark by 12 seconds. The team’s time on Saturday puts them in the top four in the state, Isbell said. Russ and McGee showed their versatility, running legs in the 400 relay team that took second and set a new school record at 52.93. Russ handed to McGee, while Elizabeth Shearon and Molly Brooks ran the final two legs.”They did a nice job because we changed their handoffs a bit to be more conservative and wanted to make sure we got it around track to go to state,” Isbell said.In the 800 relay, which was run by the same group as the 400 in the same order, Vail Christian took third at 1:52.92.All three relays will compete this Friday and Saturday at the state meet in Pueblo.McGee had a great open 400, coming in fourth at 1:04.61. In the 1,600, Linder clocked in at 5:40.60, good for fifth and her top time of the year. Lettie Fickling also had a personal best in the 1,600.Brooks went 14 feet, 6 1/4 inches in the long jump, setting a new school record. The jump was good for fourth, and was 1/4 inch out of third place.The speedy Shearon was sixth in the 100 (13.51) and fifth in the 200 (28.12).Vail Christian girls finished tied for fourth.Try itIt doesn’t take much to break a school record if you are Caleb Pearson. Already prequalified for the state meet in the high jump, Pearson decided it was time to try a new event this weekend – the triple jump.”I’ve been trying to talk him into it for a couple years,” Isbell said. “You can tell right away he’s going to be good at it.”Pearson went 40-6 1/4 for fourth place and a school record. In his first time competing in the event, Pearson was only 1/2 inch away from qualifying for the state meet.”He’s pretty incredible,” Isbell said.The boys 3,200 relay took fifth, clocking in at 9:13.97. “That’s about 12 seconds better than they’ve run before,” Isbell said. With three freshman – Eric Gallagher, Ian Hamina and Steven Cheesman – along with sophomore Ryan Vlaar, the 3,200 relay team should be solid for years to come.The 1,600 relay, the same as the 3,200, with Travis Whitley replacing Hamina, finished ninth at 3:54.01.”It’s really neat because we’ve had Caleb (a senior) and some juniors that have been out and done a good job, and also sophomore and six freshmen that have done a wonderful job,” Isbell said.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.