Good things are happening for the Woodland Park track-and-field team.
The Panthers’ boys’ team did well at the Salida Invitational on April 6, taking first with 134 team points, more than 50 ahead of second-place Centauri.
The Panthers have quite a few stars, though none more successful than the members of the 4x400 and 4x800 relay teams. The same four runners make up both teams: junior Oliver Lampton (leadoff), junior Jaeger Rokey (second leg), senior Josh Higgins (third leg) and senior Cameron Howard (anchor).
The 4x800 team is ranked fifth in the state with a time of 8 minutes, 39.43 seconds.
The same four runners went to the state meet last year.
“If we ran our (personal-record 8:21) from last year, we’d be ranked first in the state right now,” Lampton said. “We just haven’t put it all together yet. Since we went to state last year, we know what we have to do to improve our time.”
Rokey loves the camaraderie of the team.
“Oliver ... is running strong. It’s me and Josh that need to improve our times,” Rokey said. “I think we’re right on track to do anything we want to. I’m excited for it.”
Howard enjoys the pressure and thrill associated with running anchor.
“My main goal is to catch the kid in front of me,” Howard said. “By the time I run, everyone is spaced out.”
Woodland Park coach Sara Martinez sees the boys improving their times.
“I think they can do it,” Martinez said. “With their proven training, they can get better.”
University of Colorado at Colorado Springs-bound senior Skye Ciccarelli is enjoying another solid season. He is ranked first in the state in the high jump (6-4) and 20th in the 200-meter (23.98). His PR time in the 200 was set at Salida, where he finished second in the event.
The triple jump involves a hop, step and jump in succession. Junior Nick Nijkamp began doing the triple jump in middle school and is the top Panther in the event.
“In middle school, you try everything, and I tried the triple jump and I ended up being pretty good at it,” said Nijkamp, who qualified for state last year with a leap of 41-3. “I try to focus on extending the step as long as I can.”
At Salida, Nijkamp won the event with a leap of 41-2 1/4. It was more than a foot longer than his previous best mark this season. He is ranked 15th in the state.
“My goal is 43 (feet) this year,” Nijkamp said. “My goal by my senior year is to get upwards of 45 to 46 feet.”
Junior long jumper Vaughn Rea went 20-2 1/4 to win at Salida and set his PR for the season. He is ranked 13th in the state.
“The thing I’m concentrating the most on is technique,” Rea said. “Working with my arms more and make (sure) I’m leaning forward instead of backward.”
For the girls’ team, senior Emily Arseneau continues to impress in the discus and shot put. She set a personal record at Salida with a 115-9 to win the discus event. That vaulted her to third in the state.
She also won the shot put at Salida with a heave of 38-2 1/2. Her best throw this year is 39-0 1/2, which ranks her second in state.