Lady ’Cats send one to State Championships

Ignacio’s Alexis Pontine throws the discus early on Day 2 of the June 24-26, 2021, CHSAA State Track & Field Championships. Held at Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood, Colo., Pontine placed 11th in Class 2A’s version of the event with a best effort flying 92 feet, 11 inches. She was IHS’ sole qualifier for the season-ending meet.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

Pontine ends junior year 11th in 2A discus

As if qualifying for the CHSAA State Track & Field Championships in Lakewood didn’t put her in enough of a select group, Alexis Pontine’s first trip to the 2021-ending supreme spectacle (held June 24-26) ended with her being one of just nine throwers to mark on all three of her guaranteed attempts during the Class 2A Girls’ discus feature. 

Going 90’3” with her first try, then peaking at 92’11” before ending with an 86’1”, Pontine capped her junior year at IHS placing 11th overall – about four feet short of a team point-earning ninth place (which went to Calhan’s Jaiden Monger) result. 

Launching a 126’1” downrange at Jeffco Stadium, Holyoke junior Lauren Herman – who went into the Day 2 event as its No. 1 seed (Pontine was its 16), thanks to a 122’0” best winged at Brush’s Beetdigger Invitational – earned the title over 3-seed and fellow HHS junior Correy Koellner, who maxed out at 124’11”. Initially the No. 2, Paonia senior Lauryn Kiefer took third place with a 107’9” chased closest by Wiggins junior Allison Thomas (107’0”) and Cedaredge freshman Elizabeth Brooks (105’2”). 

Thomas, Brooks, and even Pontine’s 2A/1A San Juan Basin League rival Samantha Castillo (18th place; 71’3”, 77’8”, 78’7”) of Dolores were amongst those joining Pontine – this year Ignacio’s lone State qualifier, boys or girls, thanks to her season-best 97’8” achieved June 8 at the Mancos-hosted SJBL Championships – in logging three successful throws. 

“I did discus in middle school, my last year … in eighth grade. And when I started doing track (in high school), because I was in soccer, they said I could only do field events until soccer was over,” said Pontine. “So, I was like, ‘Well, I did this in middle school – why not give it a try?’ And it turned out to be really good.” 

“I learned a lot about time management,” she added. “When school was out, it was unfortunate we had to go into summer, but it worked out good for me because I got to go to track in the morning and then soccer after. I was doubling, and then … soccer was over, so I just got really focused on track.” 

 IN GRAND JUNCTION 

 Looking to at least solidify, if not improve upon her State seeding at the last-chance Grand Junction Tiger Invitational held June 17-18, Pontine – throwing with the meet’s event favorites in its last flight – ended up taking eighth overall with a 91’3” max, earning the 19th-place Lady Bobcats their lone team point at Ralph Stocker Stadium. 

3A New Castle-based Coal Ridge piled up an impressive 144 and dominated 5A Fruita Monument’s 107.5. 4A Glenwood Springs and 4A Palisade tied for third place with 65 points each, and 4A Durango (60) rounded out the top five. 

As expected, DHS’ State-bound Sydney Flores paced the 38-thrower discus field with a 121’2” maximum, with 3A Bayfield’s State-bound Emily Nelson (104’4”) placing fourth – making for a fine showing overall by the southwesterners. 

Sprint specialist and former State qualifier Lexy Young was unable to make it out of the Tiger’s prelims in both the 200- and 100-meter dashes (her 28.64 in the former ranked tenth; her 13.77 in the latter stood 12th), and highlighted IHS’ 17-18-19 result in the 400m prelims. Followed in the standings by Laci Brunson and Pontine, the trio clocked, respectively, 1:11.12, 1:11.87 and 1:14.11; CRHS’ Mikayla Cheney would win the final in 58.73 seconds. 

Ignacio’s 800m sprint medley relay (Young, Brunson, Maci Barnes, Pontine) finished 11th in a season-best 2:08.61 – a figure which unluckily ranked just 32nd in all of Class 2A prior to the State Championships. 

Barnes tied Coal Ridge’s Haven Prodzinski and 3A Rifle’s Jamie Caron for 10th in pole vault at the Tiger, with each clearing a best height of 7’2”. For Barnes, it was a season-best which at the time bumped her up to 26th in 2A. Lady ’Cat Lauren deKay placed 14th in Grand Junction with a 5’8” best, but Trinity Strohl was unable to record a height. 

She did place 31st in the 200 (33.67) and 35th in the 100 (16.33), while Pontine took 29th in the 200 (32.92). Barnes finished 30th in the 800m prelims with a 2:52.98, while deKay ran 42nd in 3:20.75. Brunson placed 25th in the long jump with a best leap of 13 feet, 2.75 inches. 

Young finished her junior season owning the 41st-fastest 100 meters (13.80 at Durango’s Ron Keller Invite) classification-wide prior to State, and ranked 35th in the 200 (28.37 at the SJBLs) and 55th in the 400 (1:08.10 at the SJBLs). Sophomore-to-be Moriah Ashley ended up with 2A’s 37th-fastest 3,200m (15:26.34 at the Mancos Early Bird) before the grand finale. 

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