While basketball spent the last weekend determining ten new state championship teams, track and field quietly opened its CHSAA-sanctioned season. Or, in a few cases, not so quietly. 

So, whether you were ready to join the conversation or not, the conversation is upon us. What’s happening in track and field around the state? If that’s anything close to the question on your mind, then you’ve come to the right place.

From now through the state meet in May, this will be the place where we immerse ourselves in the discussion of nearly all things track and field.

Without further fanfare, I’ll tell you this article is about what happened in girls’ track and field around the state, and what it means, this past weekend and Monday. Be sure, however, to read a few notes at the end of this article if you want to know more about the series of articles that is coming your way.




We’ll start with small schools. In this case, we’ll lump 1A and 2A together because, frankly, there isn’t much to be said about either—yet. Historically, the small schools take a slower start to their seasons than the larger schools. Assuredly, that has something—though perhaps not everything—to do with the fact that a very large number of the top track and field athletes in 1A and 2A were playing basketball through last weekend. Some down time is in order. 

For those schools that were in action, however, the place to be was the CSU-Pueblo Early Bird on Saturday, though Gilpin County rang up a few marks of their own at the Ralston Valley meet on Monday as well. I won’t tell you about every mark, but I will tell you about the ones that caught my eye and stand as signals of things to come. The list is, for this week, short. 

In 1A, Cheraw junior Abby Provost marked herself as one to watch in the throws with season-opening marks of 31-1 in the shot put and 89-9 in the discus. I don’t know for certain, but there’s a very good chance her discus mark was hampered some by a very slick ring (the way collegiate throwers like it, but not such a great choice for those athletes who are still on the steep part of the discus learning curve) at CSU-Pueblo. By the way, if you missed Cheraw’s more general showing in the throws in Pueblo on Saturday, you missed something important. 

Who’s coaching throws out at Cheraw these days, anyway? A raise might be in order.

The best of the season-opening 1A track mark appears to be a 1:06.24 400 from Gilpin County freshman Faith Ramsey. 

It’s way too early to make any projections, even very preliminary ones, about the 1A Girls team race.

Moving up to 2A, Swallows Charter Academy sophomore Kaitlyn Pearson came into the season as one of the more recognizable returning names in 2A Girls. She solidified that reputation with a wind-legal 13.00 100, a 1:01.08 400, and a wind-legal 15-7 long jump. Curiously, hurdles were not part of her opening-day shtick. Evidently, Ms. Pearson means to leave us guessing for a while longer.

Lyons, the designated 2A franchise (though not the designated whipping-boy) in the St. Vrain Valley School District, showed up in the district meet results from Saturday. Most notable of the Lions’ share was a winning throw of 106-0 for Gemma Powell in the discus. 

Peyton’s Eowyn Dalbec had easily the best 2A 3200 of the weekend with a 12:28, but we’ll be supremely disappointed if that mark stands for long, either for Dalbec or for 2A in general. 

When it comes down to picking a mark of the weekend, however, two stand out above all the rest. First, Colorado Springs Christian senior Isabel Case snared second in the Banana Belt Classic 800 with a 2:25.75 time. Not only is it a nice time, but it made undoubtedly made Pine Creek senior Madelyn Blazo sweat (or is it perspire?) a bit more than she planned. In addition to Case’s 800, there was the 5-2 high jump turned in by Clear Creek senior Annika McKown. That, too, is a very nice way to start the season.

It’s tough at this point to nail down anything with respect to team strength, but—if you were paying attention—you probably noted that Buena Vista showed a thing or two at the CSU-Pueblo meet. We’ll plan to keep an eye on the Demons.


At this level, it begins to make sense to start talking more about teams. And that makes me happy. I’m far more fascinated by the overall team races than by individual titles. If you’ve been around long enough to remember, you know I’m naïve enough to think of track and field as a team sport—at least at the high school level. And, if you don’t coach it as a team sport, you are exceedingly unlikely to ever win a state title.

If you had to pick a 3A Girls team that showed better than any other this past weekend (to include Monday), you would almost certainly land on Liberty Common. In fact, so impressive were the Eagles that I’ve heard (fanciful) rumors of a name change afoot. Might I suggest Liberty Uncommon? I’ll trust it’s not Liberty Elite. There is no more overused and abused word in youth track and field these days than elite.

“So, what does the abbreviated version of the Liberty Common highlight reel look like?” you ask.

Like this: Katie Wrona goes 11-6 to win the pole vault. Making an educated guess, Wrona runs legs on a 4×1 that goes 50.20 and a 4×2 that goes 1:46.18. Lily Morrison goes 26.74 in the 200 (NWI, but it was almost assuredly a negative wind). That was just their event winners, but allow me to assure you the Eagles also showed some depth.

LC did leave a question mark at Monday’s meet. Where was Isabel Allori? To answer that question, you’d have to page back through the Saturday results where she ran an 11:11 3200 at the Coyote/Panther Invitational on Saturday. Oh. 

So, you see, Liberty Common is casting a long, dark shadow this spring. Already.

But, LC isn’t the only team with a strong early start. Turn your attention for a moment, if you will, to the broader set of results from the Coyote/Panther Invitational in Lafayette. Those scorch marks you will find on Centaurus’s (relatively) new track were left by Tigers. Holy Family Tigers.

Early indicators are that Holy Family has a massive stable of sprinters this spring, the number of which might be unparalleled in the 3A universe. Unless injuries strike like a bandit, the Tigers are going to come rolling into state this year with some big options, and all of them figure to sting. The early read is that there is speed to spare. Tigers Isabella Rossi, Alexis Mendlik, Kenna Crookham, and Isabella Arroyo went 2-3-5-9 in the 100. Skylar Hawk, Mendlik, Arroyo, and Ava Busot went 1-4-6-9 in the 200. Some of those girls didn’t post state-qualifying kind of times on Saturday, but it’s not May yet, either.

Getting the picture yet? There’s more.

Hawk, Nicole Chavers, and Kate Villalobos went 1-3-6 in the 100 hurdles. The same three went 1-7-9 in the 300 hurdles. 

Between and around all that, Holy Family won the 4×100 and got third in the 4×200.

So far, we’re seeing a very strong representation from HF in the sprints, sprint relays, and hurdles. That could be enough to make them a serious player for a state title later this spring. Keep an eye on this team.

The Classical Academy opened well last weekend as well. The Titans were at the Banana Belt Classic in Pueblo. They left Dutch Clark Stadium with a 1-2 in the pole vault from Anna Willis and Grace Mueller, a dominating win in the 4×800, a narrow win in the 4×200, and a bundle of mid-range places in a mostly big-school meet. For good measure, Mueller missed a first place in the long jump on a tie-breaker. 

So, in the early going, we have at least three solid contenders for the 3A Girls state title. There will be other teams joining the fray, of course, but we already have the makings of an interesting contest. My take is that Liberty Common had the best showing on opening weekend, but there are several more weeks to the season. Stay tuned.

Alamosa is another 3A program that had a strong first-week showing. Sprints may be just a little thinned out for the Mean Moose from what they’ve been in recent years, but there are a couple of intriguing additions to the program to reckon with even so. If you’re counting Alamosa out at this point, you’re living dangerously.

Berthoud and Severance also emerge out of weekend #1 as teams worthy of longer looks. Severance gets one last fling with 3A this spring. They’ve had some excellent teams in other sports that came up a little short, so don’t try to tell me the idea of stealing a state title before they leave 3A hasn’t crossed their minds.

Elsewhere of note, Lamar looks to be shaping up for another excellent year of throws. They’ll need more than that to be in the state title hunt, but Lamar continues to be the showcase throws program in 3A.

And, finally, one more entry under the heading of noteworthy individual marks. Avery Marr (Prospect Ridge Academy) opened with a 2:18.60 800. Whether or not that got your attention, I assure you that it got mine.


I’ll say this once all year. Niwot is a prohibitive favorite to win it all in 4A Girls. Consequently, I’m not going to be looking for things to say about Niwot. Enough of those things will find me as it is. I will be looking for things to say about other programs that might otherwise go unnoticed.

For now, we’ll note that Niwot dominated the St. Vrain Valley School District meet. If you’re cherry-picking a best performance of Niwot’s day, you have a few options to choose from, but probably none rivals Eva Klingbeil’s 4:56 1600. Klingbeil’s world hasn’t been the same since she nabbed the state cross country crown. A 4:56 at this point in the season is other-worldly.

Aside from Niwot, the top 4A Girls team performance of the weekend assuredly belongs to Mesa Ridge. And, it’s nice to have an opportunity to throw a little spotlight in the Grizzlies’ direction. The headliner for MR, of course, was sprinter Janise Everett, who won the 100 in 12.41 and the 200 in 25.65, both wind-legal. On note, however, teammate Danaya Kinnard ran second in the 100 with a 12.96. It’s going to be tough to run away from the Grizzlies this spring.

It’s a fairly safe assumption that both Everett and Kinnard had a hand, or a leg, in a couple of very nice Grizzly relays, the 4×100 and 4×200. 

Elsewhere in 4A, we’re looking mostly at individual performances rather than team performances. Among the highest of the highlights would be a 58.80 for Lily Meskers in the 400, an 11:06 for Tristian Spence in the 3200, a 2:16 800 for Bethany Michalak, a 37-8.75 for Jacquelyn Mendoza in the spot put, and a 4:14.65 for Canon City in the 4×400. 

And please allow me take an extra second here to dwell on the Canon City 4×400 mark. I can’t recall the last time Canon City had a top-ranked 4×400 team, or anything close to that. It goes back at least a decade, and maybe longer. I’m pretty sure two of those legs belonged to Alissa Rall and Julia Nelson, but we may need to wait a little longer to uncover the identities of the other perpetrators. In any case, it’s nice to see the Tigers opening like that. It’s a good sign for the sport when new blood starts circulating at the top of an event.

Worth mentioning, Mullen’s girls were a no-show this past weekend, even though the Centennial League held an opener meet just for the league schools. I’m going to surmise, one way or another, that Mullen’s absence had everything to do with their girls playing for (and winning) a state basketball title on Saturday.


There were, of course, several 5A teams in action the past weekend. Although the Continental League held a relays meet on Saturday, it’s pretty tough to read much meaning out of the results from that meet. Except for one very noteworthy field event performance, we’ll wait for more certain signs from the Continental League schools. That noteworthy field event performance, however, was a 38-7 shot put from Chapparal’s Mia Speights. Speights, evidently, is coming to knock your door down; now is a great time to check your frame and hinges.

On the other hand, it’s difficult to ignore much of anything from the Centennial League Opener, but we’ll throw italics on the sprint performances of Eaglecrest (Jaylynn Wilson, Bianca Gleim, Haley Esser, and Favour Akpokiere), the distance performances of Cherry Creek (Addison Laughlin, Kinley Wolfe, Addison Price, Shelby Balding, Claire Semerod, Baylor Wolfe, et al), and the jumps performances of Cherokee Trail (Ryen Galloway, Sky Thompson, and Kaeli Powe). Grandview was conspicuously quiet, but nobody I hobnob with expects that to last for long. 

As a footnote on the Cherokee Trail jumpers mentioned above, all three are freshmen. The future is bright—or dark, depending on your perspective.

As a second footnote on Riley Stewart, she’ll be back but had a date with an out-of-state meet this past weekend.

Chatfield didn’t extend their domination of the Ralston Valley meet much beyond the 100 and 4×100, but they did get a pair of very nice 100s out of Peyton Shepard and Emma Strom. Aspen Webb added a sub-60 400 to start the season.

To summarize, several 5A Girls teams showed pieces of excellence this past weekend, but none of them put enough pieces together to stamp themselves as certified state title contenders. We will have to wait a little longer for that kind of story to start writing itself.


Over the last few years, several of you told me I should start writing about track and field/cross country again. If that was an expression of a wish, your wish just came true.

I should caution you, however, that this writing is happening on a trial basis. The success of the trial depends, ultimately, on the project generating enough revenue to keep it going. At this moment, I’m writing for free, but I won’t do that forever.

If you want to see these articles continue, one very good way to do that is with page views. Page views, ultimately, sell advertising. Or, better yet, perhaps you have a product to advertise and would like to gain some traction for your product in the track and field community. If that’s you, contact Kevin Shaffer at the phone or email address shown at the bottom of this page.

It’s also important to me to clear the air that this little exercise in writing on my part is not—in any form or fashion—a vendetta taken against my former employer in track and field media. I have no axe to grind. I left willingly. My re-entry into track and field/cross country media comes simply because I have something different to offer than the other media outlet offers. It’s neither necessary nor helpful to think of the two of us as disputing over the same patch of coverage turf. They do rankings; I do analysis. It really is almost as simple as that. Choose one, the other, or both as suits your taste.