Girl sprinters lead the charge with two visits to the podium
by Sydney Petersen
Early Thursday morning, 15 of 25 Titans track stars headed to Denver for the state meet after a super-successful regular season. Despite a few nagging injuries among the sprinting squad, head coach Dustin Simoens came into the meet hoping he could get the majority of the Titans to peak during the three days. “I wanted to get as many season bests as possible and get our relay teams to finals. Overall, I am really proud of the results,” explains Simoens.
Athletes from schools 1A through 5A have been battling for qualifying spots all season, and the competitive attitude definitely carried into the weekend. Many meet records were shattered throughout the three days, and three longstanding Colorado state records were also taken down in the girls and boys 800 meters and the girls 1,600 meters.
Although the Titans didn’t break any state records, they had lots of success in their own events. Almost every single athlete ran a personal best in at least one event. Malia Olson, Ericka Bremer, Jamey Spahn and Tara Mortell came together with an awesome race in the sprint medley, coming within half of a second of the school record with a time of 1:54:64 during prelims, earning themselves a spot in finals.
The same group of girls had similar luck in the 4×100 meter relay, racing a season best of 52.6 seconds in prelims, also qualifying for finals. Although neither relay ran quite the time they did in prelims, they earned a spot on the podium, finishing eighth in both races.
“I really didn’t expect anything less,” says sprint coach Ben Davis. “They know how to push themselves and are really competitive. The only thing I could see holding them back was injuries, but that didn’t seem to affect them at all. It was probably the highlight of my weekend.”
Ryan Carroll also joined Malia, Tara and Jamey for the 4×200 meter relay, which placed 12th overall in a time of 1:52.6.
In addition to the relays, Malia Olson also ran the 100 meter dash, tying her personal best of 13.56 and placing 12th. “I wasn’t exactly concerned about how she placed,” said Davis. “It is so special to qualify in an individual event as a freshman. I am really proud of her.”
The distance team also produced some impressive results. Petersen and Crossett raced together in the 3,200, both earning a personal best with times of 12:50.27 and 13:02.35. “They have both been really committed all season,” says Simoens. “They push each other during practice and always work well together during races. I don’t think either of them would have run the times they did this season without each other.”
Aiden Truettner came into the 3,200 ranked 15th and finished in 10th place with a personal best of 10:13.20. “Aiden always runs really well at state,” Simoens explains. “Last year he cut off almost 40 seconds for a personal best and did the same thing this year. I don’t know what he eats for breakfast the day of the state meet, but it obviously works for him.”
Truettner also joined Joe Hayes, Woody Martineau, and his brother Conrad in the 4×800 relay. The relay team had raced only four times together during the season, but put out a good time at every meet. “Each week, a new person would step up,” says Simoens. “This meet, Woody and Conrad both cut off substantial amounts of time, resulting in a new season best of 9:05:13.”
Earlier in the season, the boys team put out a strong 4×100 relay time. Unfortunately, the team lost star sprinter Shawnee Landry due to injury, and had to make some changes to the lineup. Freshman thrower Will Hoskin, who proved himself as a sprinter earlier in the season, joined Walker Carroll, and seniors Joe Hayes and Kaleb Shultz. The team ran a speedy time of 46.94, placing 15th in prelims. When asked about his thoughts on the race, Davis replied, “They totally exceeded my expectations. In fact, they almost beat their time from earlier in the season, which is pretty remarkable, considering their circumstances.”
While both coaches are thrilled with the results from this season, Simoens and Davis are already eagerly anticipating next year. “I see so much potential with the girls,” explains Davis. “We didn’t have any seniors in the sprint medley or the 4×100. I am so excited to see where that group is going to end up next year.”