Vail Christian in the hunt after Day 2
DENVER — Look out, people. Here come the Saints.
Vail Christian track and field is starting to make some noise. The ladies in blue and silver are tied for second place with Heritage Christian at 33 points behind only Shining Mountain (36) after Day 2 of the 1A state meet down at Denver’s Jeffco Stadium. The boys are fourth place with 27 points, just three points off the pace of South Baca (30).
This could be a photo finish.
The Saints gents might be better positioned during today’s finale because they have more guys in more events. Cole Caynoski runs in the sprints (100, 200 and 400 meters), while Ethan Pence is in the mile. Vail Christian’s boys also trot out two relay teams (the 400 and 1,600) and have their ace in the hole — pole vaulting.
Nick Boyne and Cooper Daniels are the top-two vaulters in 1A, going into today’s events.
There are a lot of points out there today, but don’t tell coach Tim Pierson that.
“Tomorrow’s a busy day,” the coach said. “I’m more worried about the kids running from 8:30 to 5:30. I’m pleased with how the kids have taken care of themselves this week. We’ll go out and see how the points go. Track is a goofy thing. You don’t know until they add up all the points.”
The girls, who finished third last year, have the idea in the back of their minds, but only in the back.
“Yeah, we’ve been keeping an eye on the team score,” said Celia Smith who captured the seventh and eighth medals of her career at state on Friday. “Last year, we were really close and we had only four or five girls.”
The Vail Christian ladies have Taylor Alexander in the 100 and 200 today, as well as the 400 and 1,600 relays.
Smith will not be able to get on a plane anytime soon. She’d set off the metal detector. She took home silver in the high jump with career-best leap of 5 feet, 2.5 inches on Thursday. Smith was second only to Cheyenne Wells’ Megan Howard, who set the 1A state-meet record at 5-3.5.
“It was a lot of fun,” Smith said. “I’ve never had that much adrenaline going, maybe for a volleyball match. I thought I was going to win. I barley missed that last jump. That’s frustrating. It was a (personal record) and a school record, so I’m still happy about it. I’m just really competitive.”
And that would be the point of the exercise.
Smith was also part of a bronze medal in the 800 relay with Coco Spangler, Bella McCormick and Kristen Currey.
That’s eight state medals for Smith, which puts her in the company of the school’s greats like Rachel McCoy, Ashlyn Grubber and the Alexander family, which is still at it.
Pence ran in only one event on Friday. He’s definitely slacking. He won his second bronze of the meet in the 800. He’s already got a medal for the 3,200 and has the mile and the mile relay today,
The Saints boys had a bit of heartbreak in the 800 relay. Vail Christian’s Boyne, Mason and Cooper Daniels and Caynoski finished second, just 19-hundredths behind McClave. (No, Lurch does not run for the Cardinals. He graduated last year.)
Meanwhile, Branden Currey busted his old discus record (123-4) with a chuck of 131-2. For him, it’s doubtless refreshing getting to throw something without having most of Soroco or West Grand trying to kill him.
“I didn’t do anything different,” Currey said. “Coach (Pat) Phelan has been working with me to keep it consistent. We’re working on form and not trying too hard and overthrowing.”
The Saints spent the evening at an Outback Steakhouse.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.