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State track & field Day 2 notebook: Harper adds two more top-two finishes

May 18, 2018 Updated: May 18, 2018 at 9:11 pm
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Vista Ridge jumper Harper adds two top-two finishes Friday

Vista Ridge senior Raymon Harper added to his medal collection with a second gold and a silver during Friday’s state track and field action at Jefferson County Stadium.

Following Friday’s gold in the triple jump, Harper added another, as his personal-best long jump of 23 feet, 3 inches beat the field by more than a foot.

“It was only by a quarter inch, so not too much (of a PR), but still enough to get it done,” Harper said.

From there, he went to the high jump where he had a season best of 6-10. After he cleared 6-8 on his first try, the busy weekend seemed to catch up with Harper as he settled for second. Standley Lake’s Garrett Martin cleared 6-10 on his third attempt to win.

“It was an awesome weekend. I couldn’t be happier for the kid,” Vista Ridge coach Erik Stevens said. “Obviously, we’d like to have him go with that trifecta at the end, but I can’t be more happy for him.”

Harper said it was emotional ending his prep jumping career with a second-place finish, but he’s not done, as he signed with Division II Azusa Pacific for track and field earlier in the week.

“It was a great coaching staff when I went out there for a visit, so it seems like I’ll be a good fit there,” Harper said. “It’s a little further away from home, but I’m going to enjoy it out in Cali.”

Sierra senior Burns gets quite the surprise

Sierra triple jumper Alexandria Burns got quite the surprise at her final state track and field meet, as she prepared to take the podium for the Class 3A girls’ triple jump.

Burns was under the impression her jump of 36 feet, 5 inches was good for second place. It turns out there was some miscommunication among the competitors and officials, because when the top-placing triple jumpers gathered at the podium, Burns was informed she won the event.

“It was really cool, because I didn’t think I won at first, and then I found out I did,” Burns said.

Burns had medaled in the event in previous trips to state but never in the top three. She beat an Eaton jumper by nearly six inches.

“I’m happy I finally won after all these years,” she said.

Burns will wrap up her state meet in Saturday’s long jump.

Wilson wills Kadets girls into 4x400 finals

Air Academy sophomore Jaelyn Wilson took the baton for the final leg of the Class 4A girls’ 4x400 relay preliminaries with four teams ahead of her and the Kadets in jeopardy of missing the finals.

Wilson, a sophomore who ran the race at state as a freshman, passed a pair of runners by the time she finished the first curve of her lap to secure an automatic spot in Saturday’s finals with a third-place finish in the heat.

“Well, it’s kinda just like a team effort,” Wilson said. “Our goal is to pass one person.”

Wilson passed two, and the Kadets finished in 4 minutes, 0.26 seconds, breaking a school record.

“Pretty good,” Wilson said. “Actually, this is the fifth school record that we broke.”

Wilson’s hope is the Kadets, who will be seeded sixth Saturday, have one more record-breaking run in store.

Fountain-Fort Carson's Montoya talks about pressure

Fountain-Fort Carson coach Ben Montoya is 63. He’s won five state titles. He understands the ups, and downs, of being a favorite to rule the state in track. This season’s edition of the Trojans rank among the 5A team favorites.

“It’s good and bad,” Montoya said. “It has good points, like people expecting us to do the right thing and us expecting the kids to do the right thing and really step up and take charge of what we need to take charge of.”

He laughed.

“But bad, too, because it does put pressure on our younger kids who have never been here.”

Does Montoya feel any personal pressure?

“No. I don’t,” he answered. “We’re just going to do the best we possibly can. I don’t ever tell the kids we have to win the state championship. We just do what we can do. I don’t ever want to put pressure on them.”

Pikes Peak Christian's Harmon will slumber as favorite

Pikes Peak Christian’s Tommy Harmon is the favorite to win the 1A pole vault title, which is scheduled for Saturday. (Lightning and rain could change that schedule.)

 Harmon has cleared 14 feet this season, more than a foot higher than any other 1A vaulter.

“It’s got a little bit of pressure,” Harmon said of his role as favorite, “but mostly it’s fun.”

How will he sleep Friday night?

“Hopefully good,” he said, “but probably not great.”

Explanation of 'lightning' delays

It’s fairly common. A high school game or meet is delayed because of the threat of lightning,  even though no lightning is visible. On Friday, the state track meet was delayed for about an hour by unseen lightning. (And a later delay by lightning that was easy to see.)

CHSAA’s policy is to call a delay, which lasts at least 30 minutes, if lightning is detected within six miles of an athletic event. On Friday, skies were relatively clear when the first delay was announced, and those skies looked more threatening when the event was resumed.

Track events can be run in rain. They can’t be run in lightning.

Meet delayed twice for lightning

Update: The meet resumed after the second delay at 6:30 p.m.

While running through the waning events of Friday's Day 2, a second lightning delay was called at 5:15 p.m.

The boys' 2A 4x400 relays was the last event completed before the delay was called.

At 2:53 p.m. the high school state track and field meet was delayed for at least 30 minutes due to lightning.

A fast-moving storm with lightning is moving over Jefferson County Stadium from the west, but according to announcers, it is expected to last less than an hour. Rain was just beginning to fall as the lightning delay was called, but announcers said lightning was spotted within range.

Around 2:15 officials announced the procedure for severe weather, instructing fans to return to their vehicles. Athletes and coaches moved to a middle school east of the stadium to wait out the storm.

The event was on a rolling schedule through the morning and much of the afternoon in an attempt to beat the impending storm. The finals for 2A boys' triple jump, 3A girls' pole vault, and 4x800 relays were running when the first delay was called.

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