Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

David Ramsey: A look at Colorado's weird, wonderful (and endangered) girls sprint track medley

May 17, 2018 Updated: May 17, 2018 at 10:20 pm
0
photo - The Classical Academy's Kelsey Eichelberger crosses the finish line in the 3A girls' 800 sprint medley relay at the 2018 Colorado State Track & Field Championships at Jefferson County Stadium on Thursday, May 17, 2018. (Lindsey Smith, The Gazette)
The Classical Academy's Kelsey Eichelberger crosses the finish line in the 3A girls' 800 sprint medley relay at the 2018 Colorado State Track & Field Championships at Jefferson County Stadium on Thursday, May 17, 2018. (Lindsey Smith, The Gazette) 

LAKEWOOD - The 800 sprint medley relay is, well, different.

Let’s allow The Classical Academy senior sprinter Kelsey Eichelberger to describe the event. She’s an expert on the subject. She will anchor the Titans team and carry their hopes to the finish line in Friday’s final, scheduled for 12:15 p.m. at Jeffco Stadium.

“We all contribute equally,” Eichelberger says of the Titans’ four relay runners, “but because it’s a sprint medley and everyone is running different races everyone is contributing in different ways and it’s weird.”

Weird, she says, in a really good way.

Most track fans are familiar with the 4 x 100 or the 4 x 400 and so on. The girls 800-meter sprint medley is a happy hodgepodge. It begins with two 100 sprints, followed by a 200 sprint and ends with a 400 sprint.

Make sense to you?

Me, neither.

But it’s a fun, unpredictable and surprisingly controversial event. Only Iowa and Colorado offer the event at their state meets. In Colorado, the sprint medley was introduced a quarter-century ago to balance the number of boys and girls events. After Colorado added the girls pole vault, girls had more one more event than the boys, leaving the girls sprint medley endangered.

TCA coach Tim Daggett has a strong chance to rule the state in the sprint medley Friday, but he’s not a big fan of the event. He says the layout of the race means the team with the outside lane has to run as many as four meters more than other teams.

And he says critics see the event as too heavily weighted toward the team with the best 400-meter anchor. A talented 400-meter runner, he says, can almost always wipe out even a big lead by another team.

“I don’t like it,” he says of the medley.

Darwin Horan, coach of defending 3A champ Parker Lutheran, disagrees.

“It’s a little bit of a mix of all the relays and I think it shows the strength of your team,” he says. “It’s great for everybody. I wish they would add a boys sprint medley. I wish they would do more relays, because the high school kids love relays. So why not have more relays?”

Horan has heard from track purists who despise the event. The sprint medley is almost never part of the college track scene and it’s not an Olympic event, the purists say, so why bother with the medley in high school?

“Well,” Horan says, “this isn’t college and this isn’t the Olympics. Make it fun for the kids. The more relays, the better.”

On Friday, Brooke Hoglin will run the 200 before handing the baton to Eichelberger, her teammate and good friend.

Before the season, it looked as if this handoff might never happen. Track coaches were bickering about the sprint medley. Most big high schools wanted the event banished. Most small schools wanted to keep the medley breathing.

The small schools won, which means TCA has a chance to rule Colorado in this wonderfully weird race.

“We all have this bond,” Hoglin says of her medley teammates, “not because we’re running the same thing but because we’re all running a different piece of the same race.”

She laughs.

“And it’s different.”

Yes, it is.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

or
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 
This is your last FREE article for the month
This is your last FREE article for the month

Subscribe now and enjoy Unlimited Digital Access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
You have reached your article limit for the month
You have reached your article limit for the month

We hope that you've enjoyed your complimentary access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 

Exclusive Subscriber Content

You read The Gazette because you care about your community and the local stories you can't find anywhere else.

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber? Get Access | Already a digital subscriber? Log In
 
articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.