Wed May 24th, 2017
Special to the Drum
When you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go. And someone’s got to go first. That honor, fell upon Ignacio’s Elco Garcia, Jr., at the 2017 CHSAA Class 2A State Track & Field Championships on the wacky, weather-altered weekend of May 19-21.
Searching for as much ‘get up’ to pair with an 8:30 a.m. ‘go,’ the Bobcat competed Saturday, May 20, in the 3,200-meter run – the multi-classification spectacle’s first boys’ event after a two-day snow/rain delay which had athletes, coaches, officials and fans wondering if the meet would even commence.
Being a freshman, Garcia thankfully didn’t have to ponder missing his own graduation in favor of contending for an individual or team title. And after finishing 12th in the long-distance jaunt, and third amongst its rookie entrants with his time of ten minutes, 38.55 seconds, Garcia need only ponder the excitement of a Jeffco Stadium return in 2018.
By comparison, Oak Creek Soroco junior Ben Kelley won in 9:47.71. Ault Highland sophomore Levi Kilian was second in 9:51.33, and Westcliffe Custer County senior Jerald Taylor third in 9:54.33. Colorado Springs St. Mary’s soph Adam Maal earned the last team point up for grabs with his ninth-place 10:30.40, and Peyton senior Joseph Enright at 10:34.16 rounded out the 18-runner event’s top-ten.
Ignacio junior Natoni Cundiff finished 17th in the Saturday-session shot put, with his second try flying 119 feet, ten inches and ending up his best throw.
Marking on all attempts, Cundiff also threw 113’1”, 113’4” and 102’7” against a group led by Ordway Crowley County sophomore Lane Walter, who won with a 154’0” maximum. Sedgwick County (Julesburg-Ovid Revere) senior Chad Mikelson climbed to second with a 148’3” best on his final attempt, dropping Paonia senior Blake Benson’s third-try 141’6” a notch after the Eagle fouled on his fourth bid.
Not wanting to end his IHS days with the team going scoreless, Bryan Gram ensured the ’Cats would leave Lakewood with something to show for a season often at Mother Nature’s mercy.
Assigned a rare Sunday start time of 1:38 p.m., the senior clocked 51.20 seconds in his final prep-level 400-meter dash, placing fifth and gaining Ignacio five points – which held up for a share of 36th place (with Center and San Juan Basin League nemesis Dolores) in the final team standings.
Due to a compressed competition schedule, no preliminary heat races – initially slated to go off at 6:58 p.m. Thursday, May 18 (the final was to be on the 20th at 11:33 a.m.). Officially determined a six- or eight-man 400 final, and in the revised finals-only format Gram’s time came in the second flight, which ultimately featured the top five and seven of the nine point-earning sprints.
Fort Hays (Kan.) State University-bound Wiggins senior Shane Finegan copped first place in 50.17, followed by Rangely junior Patrick Scoggins (50.36), Cedaredge senior Brendon Klaseen (50.87) and Buena Vista sophomore Matthew Thompson (51.16).
From Flight 1, Meeker senior Cole Brown’s 51.23 paced those trailing Gram, with WHS junior Teggan Freauff (51.47), Byers senior Gage Dean (51.48) and CCHS junior Jack Bowker (51.62) the last scoring runners.
Cedaredge’s 97 points easily outdistanced Wiggins’ 63 for the boys’ team championship. Loveland Resurrection Christian came in third out of the 43 scoring crews with 45 points, with SCHS (42), Soroco (41) and Sanford (36) all very close behind.
DID YOU KNOW
Finegan, who ended up winning an impressive four State titles in his final prep performance, lost the 400m final in 2016 by barely 0.02 of a second, with Cedaredge’s since-graduated Bryce Klaseen following him across the finish line in third, Gram doing likewise in seventh and Brendon Klaseen ninth.