‘Unbelievable’ Gamble leads boys to second place
GRAND JUNCTION – Pick a superlative, any superlative.Amazing. Unbelievable. Incredible.Devils coach Jeff Shroll used all three while describing senior Brad Gamble’s performance in the 110-meter and 300 hurdles at Saturday’s regional at Stocker Stadium.The Devils finished second overall with 135 points, 20 points behind regional champ, Rifle. There was no one equal to Gamble, however.The senior shredded his own school record of 14.17 seconds to win the 110, and possibly broke into the Colorado state record books with a 37.39 while winning the 300.The stadium went dead, Shroll said, during both finals. All eyes turned to Gamble to watch him chew up hurdles and chew up his own personal bests.
“This kid may be the best hurdler in the state,” Shroll said. “In the 300 hurdles, we may have witnessed one of the top-10, maybe top-five, fastest 300 hurdles race of all time in this entire state. We’re going to have to do some research into that.”Shroll continued.”He’s toying with 13 seconds in the 110 and 36 in the 300. You can’t run that. You shouldn’t run that. Kids can’t run that. It’s just unbelievable. His race, it was an absolute thing of beauty.”Gamble’s mark in the 300 is faster than the all-time state meet record. If he is to run the same time next Saturday in Denver he will have the state meet record, though it’s unsure if his time Saturday eclispes the all-time state best. The Colorado High School Activities Association doesn’t list all-time state bests on its website – only state meet bests – and the Denver office was closed Saturday night.Gamble, as Shroll said, was incredible Saturday but he was hardly a one-man show.
Speedsters Sean Matheson and Wes Minett competed in the two most exciting finals of the afternoon in the 100 and 200 – both of which were decided by photo finishes.In the 100, Matheson was edged out of first place by Rifle’s Jordan Robinson. Officials said Robinson finished in 11:17; Matheson in 11:18.”You could stare at the photo all day long and not figure out who won the race,” Shroll said. “It was just that close.”Minett just missed the state cut, finishing fourth with an 11:37.The same fate wouldn’t befall him in the 200. There was another photo finish for first, but this time the runners in question were Matheson and Minett.Matheson was given the win, clocking in at 22.74. Minett was right behind in 22.75. The 1-2 finish was a huge upset over the favored Robinson.”He got us in the 100, but we came back and got him in the 200,” Shroll said. “It was a great performance by both of them.”
With Matheson, Minett and both Alex and Brad Gamble running the 400 relay, a win was a sure bet. The team blew past Rifle with a 43.55.They foursome will be one of the favorites to win the state title.The 800 relay of Matheson, Mike Smith, Mike Medkser and Alex Gamble also earned a trip to state with a third-place time of 1:33.47. The 3,200 team didn’t qualify for state, but scored crucial points with a sixth-place time of 8:45.65.Gabriel soars
Junior John Gabriel came due Saturday. The junior, who has posted some superb results in the triple jump and high jump in practice this season, finally put it all together in the two regional finals.Gabriel finished third in the high jump by beating teammate Mike Smith in a jump off. Both jumpers cleared the bar at 6 feet, but Gabriel earned the trip to state because he did it in fewer jumps.In the triple jump, Gabriel recorded a personal best of 43-11. The mark surpassed the state-qualifying distance, but it didn’t matter since he finished third anyway.Smith finished sixth with a 39-4.25. Jake Rivera also qualified for state in the shot put, after his huge upset win in the discus Friday. Rivera threw a 46-1.75 to finish second.
Ready for stateShroll said he doesn’t expect his boys team to win the 4A state title in Denver next Saturday after being crowned 3A champs last season. He did say a strong showing is likely after finishing second to Rifle Saturday.”It’s not the same as it was last year,” Shroll said. “These 4A boys are bigger, better, tougher, stronger. But, we’ll have a showing. I mean we won’t roll over. We didn’t roll over today. We’ve got a good bunch of kids heading to state. This will be a new experience for coaches and kids alike, walking into the big 4A and 5A meet at Legacy Stadium.”Staff Writer Nate Peterson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 608, or via e-mail at email@example.com.
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