The faces from the members of the Durango High School boys 4x800-meter relay team said it all – they were state champions. It was one of many story lines from the first day of competition at the Colorado High School Activities Association State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.
Durango finished Day 1 of the state meet with two champions and a runner-up, and both the boys and girls teams sit in contention heading into Friday. Bayfield High School also made a splash on the opening day, as the Wolverines also had two champions in David Hawkins and Jordan Lanning. Ignacio High School had a pair of top-10 finishes from its long-distance duo of Elco Garcia and Jonas Nanaeto.
Here’s a closer look at Day 1:
Durango High SchoolThe Demons’ 4x800 quad of Marcus Flint, Noah Bodewes, Luke Tichi and Aidan Fitzgerald posted the sixth-fastest time in the country in 2019 and also set a Class 4A state meet while shattering the school record after they won the relay in 7 minutes, 48.55 seconds. The previous 4A state meet record was 7:48.60, which was set in 2006 from D’Eveleyn.
Flint led the relay off with a 1:57.46 split; Noah Bodewes ran his best split of the year and got the Demons out to a sizable lead in a 1:57.98 after his previous personal-best was 2:04; Luke Tichi maintained the pace, as he ran a 2:00.06; and Fitzgerald finished it off in 1:53.13.
“Last year, we had the exact same guys and we ran out of our heads to take sixth at state,” said Bodewes. “One year later, we’re sixth in the country. It was unbelievable.”
Bodewes handed off the baton to Tichi. By the time he had finished his leg, Fitzgerald was ready to go for the school record.
“When I saw Luke down the homestretch, it was almost surreal, and we still had the final 800 left,” Fitzgerald said. “It was like all our dreams were coming true right before us. As I got closer and closer to the finish line, I saw the clock and thought we might be going for the state meet record. At the end, I know you’re not supposed to on an 800 relay, but I stretched out at the finish line, and I think that’s what got us the record. We got the record by a fraction of a second, and for us to be state champions at the state meet is surreal.”
Durango head coach Johnny Bertrand called it one of the best days in program history.
“The 4x800 relay was really special to witness,” Bertrand said. “They’ve been going for it all year, and they put all of their eggs into that one basket and it worked. When you take everything into account, to have two state champions, two school records and a state meet record, that’s a great first day, and we really want to keep it up for tomorrow and Saturday.”
Madeleine Burns got DHS off to a fast start when she won the 3,200, or two-mile run, in 10:53.63. She edged Niwot’s Samrawit Dishon, who was second in 10:53.76. The junior, who came in as the top seed, ran a complete race from start to finish.
“Madeleine had a fantastic race plan and executed it perfectly,” Bertand said.
DHS had another medalist in Alex Hise, who took second in the long jump with a 22-foot, 10.50-inch jump. Brendan Young of Cañon City won with a 23-01. Hise competed in 100-meter dash preliminaries and qualified for the finals in 11.21 seconds, and he narrowly missed making the final heat of the 200, as he took 11th in 22.95.
“The 200 was essentially Alex’s warm-up, and he didn’t even get a chance to practice jumping because it was one event right after the other for him today,” Bertrand said. “It was a good battle for him, and he was super relaxed heading into his final jump. He was in eighth place, but his final jump took him to second.”
Paul Knight had a 12th-place finish in the finals of the 3,200, after he finished in 9:52.97. For the girls, Cassandra Blau was the final qualifier for the 100-meter dash and finished in ninth with a time of 12.91 seconds after edging Gabrielle Hyatt of Cheyenne Mountain, who was 0.3 seconds behind Blau. Blau also ran the 200 but did not qualify for the finals, as she took 13th with a time of 26.52.
Emma Fitzgerald finished 16th in the 400 in 1:01.45, which came after she ran both the 4x200 and 4x800. DHS senior Danielle Lee wrapped up her pole vaulting career with a vault of 8-01, which was 17th.
The girls 4x200 relay team of Blau, Fitzgerald, Bekah Moenning and Anna Pylar took fourth in their heat and qualified for the finals in 1:44.34, while the 4x800 team of Burns, Fitzgerald, Angela McManus and Moenning took fifth and also qualified with a finish in 9:38.27.
Bayfield High SchoolTwo more state champions will return to Bayfield, as Hawkins won the Class 3A shot put in impressive fashion, while Lanning repeated as the Class 3A girls high jump champion.
Hawkins won the shot put by a considerable margin, after his toss sailed 51 feet. Henry Fritzler of Eaton was second in 48-2.75.
Lanning won the high jump after she soared 5-feet, 8-inches to reclaim the title and break her own state meet record for Class 3A. Last year, she cleared 5-feet, 7.75 inches. This year, Izzy Ramirez of Frontier Academy was second with a jump of 5-02.
“I felt the pressure, but it was more so on myself to try to defend the state title,” Lanning said. “I knew I had it won at 5-04, but I just wanted to keep going. I really wanted to hit 5-10, but I just clipped the bar and was actually kind of devastated I didn’t get it. But it’s still really awesome that I got to defend my state championship.”
Also at last year’s meet, Lanning was the runner-up in the 100-meter hurdles and won a bronze medal in the 300-hurdles. Earlier Thursday, Lanning won the preliminaries of the 100 hurdles in 14.68 seconds. Esther Diza-mbelolo of D’Evelyn was second in 15.19. Lanning will compete in Friday’s 300-hurdles preliminaries and long jump finals.
“Overall, I’m just super happy with how both seniors competed today,” said BHS coach Josh Walton. “They performed to the best of their abilities and continued having an awesome year.”
Ignacio High SchoolThe Bobcats also fared well at the first day of the state championships, as Charlize Valdez just missed a top-10 finish in the 3,200, while Jonas Nanaeto and Elco Garcia had good finishes in their 3,200 race.
Garcia finished in sixth-place with a time of 10:10.89, while Nanaeto took ninth in 10:33.80. Isaac Roberts of Lyons won in 9:57.63.
Ignacio led off the day in the 100-meter dash preliminaries, as Lexy Young ran in 13.83 seconds, which was a 15th-place finish. Charlize Valdez finished in 11th in the 3,200 with a time of 12:34.22.
Valdez and Young’s season ended Thursday, while Nanaeto still has the 1,600 final Saturday. Garcia will compete in the 800 on Friday and 1,600 on Saturday.