LAKEWOOD – As one of the newest additions to the 363 member schools of the Colorado High School Activities Association, Banning Lewis wasted no time on its introduction to the state track and field championships.
The Stallions turned heads on the final day of the state championships, winning two individual titles and brought home the Class 2A second-place girls’ team trophy.
The girls’ team accumulated 53 team points with just five competitors, and the boys placed sixth with 36 points and nine competitors as the Stallions focus on quality over quantity in the school’s first official year as a CHSAA-sanctioned program.
“It’s our time now,” said Banning Lewis coach Gary Kurtz. “This is something that the team has been waiting for a while. We’ve been that small school in the corner of Colorado Springs that nobody knew about. We weren’t CHSAA certified, we didn’t even have all four years in our school; and here we are now."
Senior Makayla Hutchison has been known to be a trailblazer at Banning Lewis. She became the first athlete to sign a national letter of intent, committing to Western Colorado earlier this year. She is a member of the first graduating class, and Saturday, Hutchison wrote her name in Banning Lewis history again, winning her school’s first state championship with a title in the 2A 100-meter dash.
Hutchison was undefeated in the 100 entering the state meet and aimed to keep her perfect record to cap off her senior year.
And she retained that undefeated record with a winning time of 12.53 seconds.
“Being able to come here and prove all the people that told me I couldn’t do it that I just did it, it feels really good,” Hutchison said. “It’s a very proud moment for me and my coaches.”
Hutchison left her first and only high school state meet with four state medals. A gold in the 100, two silvers in the 200 and 300 hurdles, and a third-place finish in the 100 hurdles.
“I’m always hungry I'm never done eating and this is just another pit stop on the way to what I want to do, which is eventually Olympic trials,” Hutchison said.
Moments after Hutchison crossed the finish line in the 100, Nate Early won the second state championship for Banning Lewis in the high jump.
Early began his day clearing 5 feet, 8 inches, and 5-10 before leaving to compete in the 110 hurdles, where he placed fifth. He returned to the high jump pit to clear each of his next jumps on the first attempt before claiming the state championship with a leap of 6-1.
Early, a junior, lifted Hutchison into a bear hug following both of their championships.
“It’s been amazing to be around her,” said Early, a junior. “This is my first year in track with her and she is one of the biggest role models I’ve had."
Early is a trailblazer in his own right, earning an all-state football nod, leading the state in interceptions with seven in his team’s inaugural CHSAA season.
“Having 15-16 people coming out knowing we are a smaller team and trying to build our name, it’s just amazing to have that culture around me and we’ve carried the culture throughout everything that we do and it’s just going to go up from here,” Early said.
Jaysa Even placed fourth in the long jump and the high jump. She hit 16-3.75 in the long, cleared 4-11 in the high and placed fifth in the triple jump with a leap of 34-4.75.
Madison Cook placed seventh in the 400 in 1:02.25 and Emelia Falcon completed the 1,600 in 6:09.09.
On the boys’ side, Rickey Fletcher placed ninth in the 100 with a 11.79 and Jonathan Wiggins placed seventh in the 1,600 (4:42.20) and 800 (2:02.45).
“We had such a good team culture this year and the culture we developed on the team being there for each other, we need to keep that going for years to come,” Kurtz said.