When Skye Ciccarelli arrived at Woodland Park High School from Japan four years ago, his main goal was to learn enough English to feel comfortable communicating with his classmates and teachers.
Today, he is a two-time state high jump champion and might be the greatest all-around athlete in the long history of the school.
“This has been a great experience,” Ciccarelli said Saturday, shortly after winning his event in dominating fashion at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood. “Coming from Japan, I never counted on this.
“It was always basketball. It was never track.”
Ciccarelli went over the high bar at 6 feet, 6 inches to claim the top prize in Class 3A. He bested the second-place finishers (there were four of them tied at 6-3) by three inches.
A strong Woodland Park contingent roared with approval when it was declared that Ciccarelli was the champion for a second consecutive year.
“I heard everybody cheering and making noise, so I joined in,” said Ciccarelli, who is the school record-holder for career basketball points with 1,566. “But I still had more jumps in me.”
Ciccarelli, who will jump for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs next year, was aiming to break the school record of 6-7, which he shares. After he cleared 6-6 with ease, he and Woodland Park co-head coaches Sara and Jesse Martinez asked CHSAA officials to have the bar raised to 6-7 ½.
“Skye easily got over, but he caught the bar with his foot,” Sara Martinez said.
Ciccarelli was a three-time state qualifier in high jump. He finished fifth as a sophomore.
He also qualified in the 200 at this year’s meet, finishing 14th.
The state track meet was a rousing success for Woodland Park. All nine of the Panthers who competed earned spots on the podium. The top nine in each event medal.
Senior Emily Arseneau — a three-time state qualifier and the lone Woodland Park girl to advance to state — won two medals. She finished second in the shot put (40-6) and fourth in the discus (115-8).
“I accomplished what I wanted,” said Arseneau, who will compete for Concordia University in Irvine, Calif., next year. “I would have liked to have won both events, but I’m happy with where I finished.”
Arseneau added that she is looking forward to competing at the next level. She plans on adding the hammer and weight throw to her arsenal.
“I’m ready for the next chapter,” she said.
Panther pole vaulters Chase Graves, a senior, and Davey Schoenberger, a junior, finished seventh and eighth, respectively.
“I was happy to clear my height today,” said Graves, a three-time state qualifier who went over the bar at 12-6. “I was a little more nervous than I thought I would be. The last track meet of your life gets in your head a little bit.”
Added Schoenberger, who cleared the bar at 12-0: “Coming in I was ranked 17th and I wound up on the podium. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
Panthers’ junior Vaughn Rea finished 9th in the high jump. He also qualified for state in the long jump, but did not place.
The Woodland Park 4x800 relay team of Oliver Lampton, Cameron Howard, Jaeger Rokey and Joshua Higgins made the podium with a seventh-place finish.