Vail Valley teams run strong at state |

Vail Valley teams run strong at state

Ian Smith
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyVail Christian's Jessica Linder competes in the 800 at regionals last weekend. On Friday, Linder ran in the event at the state track meet in Denver.

DENVER, Colorado ” It wasn’t quite Groundhog Day for the Eagle Valley track team, but the Devils kept seeing the same place next to their name at the state track meet.

Eagle Valley took home a number of 15th-place finishes, but more importantly it set a few personal bests in Denver. Vail Christian and Battle Mountain also did well, both setting personal records.

The action started on Thursday with the Devils’ Sierra Pickslay running in three races in less than an hour. The senior took 15th in the 200 meter dash, 400 and 4-by-100. In the 400 relay, Pickslay helped the team of Emily Kingston, Shaylynn Nielsen and Angela run a season best time of 51.49.

“That was a loaded day for Sierra,” Eagle Valley coach Jeff Shroll said. “I’m really proud her. She really stepped up.”

On the boys’ side, Eagle Valley sprinted to a 13th-place finish in the 3,200 relay with a time of 8 minutes, 16 seconds. Joe Trujillo, Mario Gonzalez, Griffin Turnipseed and Andrew Hill ran for the Devils.

“It was a pretty tough field,” Shroll said. “Their eyes were pretty wide.”

Trujillo stayed busy on Friday in the open 800. The senior claimed 16th after running a time of 2:01.00. The time would have been faster, but another runner fell right in front of Trujillo, costing him a couple of seconds, at least.

In the field events, Ryan McClintock took home Eagle Valley’s best finish of the day in the long jump. McClintock leaped 20-feet, 9.5 inches for fifth place.

In the shot put, Jamie Bair finished in 15th after a toss of 35-0.

Vail Christian finishes strong

The Vail Christian track team finished its season strong at state. Freshman Kylie Alexander cleared 7-6 in the pole vault for seventh place.

“She had a big grin on her face,” Vail Christian coach Chris Gamble said. “The best part about it is when she got done vaulting, she was excited to work on it in the summer.”

Jessica Linder wrapped up her career with the Saints by claiming 10th in the 800.

“The 800 is a tough race,” Gamble said. “At state, there are so many kids running in such a small space. It almost becomes more like strategic race than running fast.”

On Friday, Elizabeth Sharon set a new personal best for the Saints in the 100 meter dash. Ashlyn Gruber also set a personal record in the 200 for Vail Christian.

“It was great way for her to end the day,” Gamble said.

In the 800 medley, the Saints set a school record and finished 12th. Gruber, Meghan Jacobs, Sharon and Linder competed for Vail Christian in the race.

The boys’ 4-by-800 team could barely wipe the smiles off their faces after collecting medals for their sixth-place finish. The team of Ian Hamina, Ryan Vlaar, Eric Gallagher and Chris Purse ran in the event.

Tedstrom, Ortiz do well

The Battle Mountain track team didn’t get left out of the fun on Friday. The Huskies’ Connor Tedstrom and Amelia Ortiz both ran strong in their final races this season.

Tedstrom, a veteran of last season’s 4-by-800 state title team, sprinted to a personal best time of 2:00.7 ” good enough for 11th place.

“The thing I really liked about how he did is I think it made him more hungry for next year,” Battle Mountain coach Laurie Kleisinger said. “He ran a super-smart race.”

Ortiz wasn’t thrilled with her 12:07.9 time in the 3,200, but only a sophomore, she’ll likely be back to state a couple of more times.

“Everything she did, you can just tell, she’s a special one coming up,” Kleisinger said. “She has two more years to go to state.”

Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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