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State track and field notes: Pine Creek, Manitou dominate sprint relays

By: Kevin Carmody and Brent New,
May 17, 2014 Updated: May 18, 2014 at 12:10 am
Caption +
Pine Creek 4x400 relay members Kaleigh Kroeker and Heide Baron, left, and Mackenzie Howie and Madelyn Baron, right, hug after winning the 5A relay with a time of 3:49.30. Students from across the state competed in the final day of events at the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jefferson County Stadium in Denver, Colo. Saturday, May 17, 2014. Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette

Pine Creek, Manitou Springs dominate sprint relays 

Not long after Pine Creek had been mathematically eliminated from 5A girls’ title contention late Saturday, the Eagles made quite the statement in the day’s last race, the 1,600-meter relay. 

The Eagles wrapped a bow on the major sprint relays, winning the finale as junior Heide Barron rallied in the homestretch to give her team a day-closing victory. Pine Creek ended the state meet only four points behind overall champion Fort Collins, 84-80. 

Pine Creek’s team bested Grandview by a mere 0.12 seconds. 

“The Grandview runner really pushed me,” said Barron, who entered the anchor leg in second place. “I didn’t know it was in me, but I knew I could make it. I’m glad we won the 4 by 4. We’re all satisfied with how we finished. Fort Collins is such a great team.” 

Earlier in the meet, Pine Creek set a state and 5A meet record in the 800 relay, and nearly set a state mark in the 400, missing by 0.04 seconds. 

The area relay success wasn’t limited to the Pine Creek girls; the Manitou Springs boys’ team took first in the 400, 800 and 1,600 relays, all on Saturday.


Discovery Canyon’s Spalding defends double title

Discovery Canyon senior Jackson Spalding completed his defense of both throwing events by winning the discus Saturday. He claimed the shot put title Friday. … Peyton senior Chris Epps defended his 2A high jump crown, winning with a leap of 6 feet, 6 inches. He earlier this season cleared 6-8 but missed on three attempts at 6-9. … Trenton Stringari won the 300 hurdles, giving Cañon City an individual running title for the third straight season. Zac McCoy won the 400 in 2012 and the 200 and 400 last May. … Harrison’s sprint medley team set a 4A girls’ meet record, then later followed that up with a victory in the 400 relay.


Nolan and Gerstle-Goodman win 110 hurdles

Widefield’s Kyree Gerstle-Goodman saw Palmer Ridge’s Evan Malin beside him and could sense Cañon City’s Stringari and Vista Ridge’s Joseph Saling a half-step behind him in the 4A 110 hurdles.

One good thing to know about the Gladiators’ senior: he despises losing. So Gerstle-Goodman, who finally rose among the state’s best this season, held off the competition to take gold in 14.33 seconds.

Malin, who fell in last year’s event and finished 15th, improved and finished second in 14.54 thanks to a more relaxed approach, followed by Stringari (14.742) and Saling (14.749).

In the girls’ hurdles, Discovery Canyon sophomore Ashlyn Nolan set a personal best of 14.61 to edge Sand Creek’s Rebecca Harris (15.09). 


Rainsberger should be new 4A best next season

Air Academy sophomore Katie Rainsberger has never made one public complaint about facing elite runner Elise Cranny of Niwot over the past two years. 

Rainsberger, who split time between soccer and track this season, runs right with the future Stanford runner, but it always ends the same. Cranny has cost Rainsberger multiple state titles in the past (cross country and track), and cost her another one Saturday.

Lightning struck once again for Rainsberger. And again in agonizing fashion, the Kadets runner was caught near the end of a race by Cranny. 

In Saturday’s 1,600 meters, Rainsberger led late, but couldn’t withstand a late charge by Cranny, who hit the finish line just 1.3 seconds before the Kadets sophomore. 

After coming up less than a second short in the 800 Friday, Rainsberger stuck with Cranny in the Class 4A 1,600 as both runners demolished the state-meet record at Jefferson County Stadium. 

Cranny’s team, the Cougars, finished first with 70 points, of which Cranny contributed 32.

With a time of 4:48.84, Rainsberger would have won the 5A race by nearly 9 seconds. 

Rainsberger also had a last-second setback at the 2013 state cross country meet.


Vanguard wins 800-meter relay

The Vanguard School boys' relay teams had a pretty good weekend. The Coursers finished in the top two places in all four relays.

The Coursers 800-meter relay team of Robert Huthoefer, Jonathan Jerry, Tyler Williams and Caleb Simon won with a time of 1:31.09. 

The Coursers also would have set 2A meet records in the 3,200 relay and the 1,600 relay. But Vanguard finished second in both races.

They also took second in the 400 relay.

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