BAYFIELD – The Durango High School pole vaulters have mastered a secret technique.
They call it “lack of sleep.”
Both Parker Norvell and Justin Marcum slipped over new personal records Saturday at the Ignacio-hosted Abel Velasquez Invitational at Wolverine Country Stadium in Bayfield, and they did it on less than two hours of sleep after vaulting Friday afternoon at the Coronado Cougar Classic Invitational in Colorado Springs and driving back through the night to arrive in Durango at about 5:30 a.m.
As they say, you can sleep when you’re dead.
“It helped me be a little more relaxed and less nervous, so I feel like it actually helped me a little bit,” said an exhausted-looking Marcum, who cleared 12-feet, 9-inches and took second place.
Any plans to make it a routine?
“Probably not. It’s still bad.”
Bad enough that Norvell had to resort to a performance-enhancing drug to push him to a 15-inch PR. He cleared 12-3 to take third, improving on his previous best of 11 feet, and he’s got some doping advice for Lance Armstrong:
“I went to (Durango) Joe’s and got a coffee,” Norvell said. “Maybe I’ll keep the coffee going, but definitely not the hour and a half (of sleep).”
But special techniques and chemical compounds still weren’t enough to top Bayfield’s John Arnold, who cleared 13-3 for the win and just missed his PR at 13-9, clipping the crossbar on the way down. Regardless, he still was most impressed with the grit and improvement in his Four Corners competition.
“They’re really improving a lot,” a magnanimous Arnold said. “It’s impressive. It was impressive.”
Even the threats of interpersonal violence were as good natured as the sunny weather Saturday in the track meet’s other vertical jump.
“She better clear this or I’m going to slap her,” Michelle Simmons said before Taylor Strohecker’s 5-foot, 2-inch high jump attempt.
Neither event transpired, but neither needed to, either, to add drama to the best dual yet in a season full of high jump battles.
Both Simmons, an IHS senior, and Strohecker, a Pagosa Springs junior, cleared five feet. It was the second time this season that Simmons, ranked No. 7 in Class 2A, has hit that mark – only this time it wasn’t good enough.
Simmons couldn’t quite get all of herself over the 1-inch-higher bar.
“My butt,” Simmons said. “Just my butt.
“I cleared five, so I guess that’s something to be happy about. It’s a good day.”
A better one for Strohecker, who set a new season personal record at 5-1, inching toward her career-best of 5-4.
But muttered threats or not, there was no bad blood between those two.
“I love her. I used to always beat her, but then she started beating me. It’s kind of depressing,” Simmons said. “I guess it’s better to get beat by someone who’s better than you than just having a bad day. I’m just glad I don’t have to jump against her at state.
Bayfield’s Jessie Roukema, however, does, and she made Saturday’s high jump more of a Western-style standoff than a dual.
Nursing a sore thigh, Roukema came in at 5, which would’ve been her PR. She had plenty of hip loft for the height but couldn’t clear the calves.
“It was pretty crazy coming in at five and just seeing if I could do it,” Roukema said.
Durango’s Mackenzie Sill took third with a 4-9 leap.
With Ignacio’s top-ranked Klayson Smith out of town for Saturday’s meet, the boys high jump also turned into a Pine River standoff.
Ignacio’s Nick Herrera and Bayfield’s Connor Kennedy duked it out in the pit, until both went out at 5-9. On misses, Herrera won, but Kennedy bagged a PR.
“Ah, man, we were both over it. We were just getting it with our butts,” Herrera said.
The Bobcats’ legs do more than just vertical, though, and Saturday they used some horizontal motion to keep climbing up the state rankings in front of the home crowd with their sprint relay teams.
Before a flight from the stadium to get ready for Saturday night’s prom, the Ignacio girls sprint medley relay took second in 1 minute, 57.99 seconds behind Dolores’ 1:56.44. The IHS girls improved by 1.5 seconds, coach Kathy Herrera said.
“I thought we did really well (Saturday),” Herrera said. “We had a lot of kids get personal records (Saturday), throwing especially far, running especially fast.”
The IHS boys 4x200-meter relay team also took second in its race in 1:38.85, behind only Bayfield, which won in 1:36.51.
The Bobcats set a new PR by almost a second, and their new time should move them from 18th in the state rankings into the top 10, according to maxpreps.com.
The boys 4x100 team also should climb a few spots after finishing fifth in 47.45, improving over their previous PR of 47.54; the 4x400 team improved by six full seconds after a blazing third leg from freshman Wyatt Hayes, who competed on all three teams.
BHS won the 4x100 race in 45.58.
Hayes said with better handoffs, the Bobcats have a shot at state in all three.
“That race felt good,” said Mike Perez, who anchored the Ignacio 4x100 team. “Got a pretty good handoff and just kicked it in.”
Bayfield’s Eva-Lou Edwards didn’t need a handoff to kick it in. After blowing through the 1,600 to win in 5:25.85, she lapped the rest of the four-girl field in the 3,200, finishing in 11:22.51, about six seconds off of her PR, which she got at an elevation 1,300 feet lower in Aztec.
“I consider this a PR,” said Edwards, who noted she was running 20 seconds slower before the New Mexico meet. “I think it means I’m getting better.
“I’m just running. It doesn’t ever feel good, but I guess it felt alright.”
Michael Hawkins was feeling about a quarter inch from perfect.
Despite a shoulder that separates every other meet or so, Hawkins hurled a 49-6.75, just missing the Bayfield school record by a quarter of an inch. Teammate Zane Westbrook took second with a 41-6.75 throw.
“A quarter of an inch – like this much,” Hawkins said with a pinch of acrimony, holding up his fingers to demonstrate.
“I just mentally prepared myself. I was like ‘Everyone wants you to get this throw, so just get it. And I didn’t.”
But he will, Hawkins said.
Other top results BHS, DHS and IHS:
Micaela Westbrook of BHS took first in the girls javelin with a 57-foot throw, and TJ Pazell took first in the boys with a 145-09 toss.
Pazell also won the long jump with a 20-9 jump, and teammate Conner Kennedy was second with 19-04.75
Keith Wickman, who ran on both the 4x100 and 4x200, won the 100 for Bayfield in 11.66.
Mariah Dorsey of Durango won the pole vault with a 7-9 jump.
Bayfield’s Aubrey Brown won the discus with a 129-foot throw, and Ignacio’s Kelton Richmond was second with 120-07.
The Bobcats and Wolverines will compete at the Terry Alley Invitational on Saturday in Pagosa Springs; the Demons will head to the Tiger Invitational on Saturday in Grand Junction.