Cedaredge boys set to defend state team title
The state championship track and field banners at Cedaredge High School were in need of updating.
When coach Kirby Henderson helped erect the banner for the 2016 team that won the state title, it went right next to the 1963 banner that had been hanging in the gymnasium’s rafters for five-plus decades. The banner from the Bruins’ state title in 1964 is missing.
Henderson got the blessing from administrators to update the old banners so they’d look nice hanging next to the new one — an investment he and the rest of the team hope is prophetic.
“To potentially have those banners side by side recognizing back-to-back years? How cool would that be?” he said.
Henderson hopes the Bruins are able to win their second consecutive Class 2A boys team title at the state meet at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.
The Bruins will have a chance to go back-to-back again when the meet begins today and runs through Saturday — weather permitting. Forecasts in Lakewood call for up to four inches of snow today and Friday. Any call to delay the meet will be made by the Colorado High School Activities Association’s on-site meet officials, the association said Tuesday.
Henderson said the school has insulated windbreakers that have never been used stored at the school. This weekend will be the first time they’ll be put to use.
Cedaredge has several individuals and teams with legitimate shots to win state titles.
Among them is the Bruins’ 800-meter relay team, and its season-best time of 1 minute, 30.74 seconds is close to two seconds better than second-place Burlington. Isaac Swoffer and Ty Grant have each posted top-eight times in the 100 and 200 meters and are ranked No. 3 and 4, respectively, in the 100. The Bruins also have stellar competitors in the throwing events, with Patrick Walker ranked third in the discus and Xander Purcel fifth in the shot put.
Cedaredge faces a challenge for the team title from Wiggins and Resurrection Christian, each of which also have plenty of athletes with high marks and times on their side. With the elements being a factor, past marks and times won’t play as much of a role. Henderson emphasized how this year’s meet will be less about breaking personal records and more about persevering through adverse conditions.
“Gunnison and Crested Butte really are the only teams that will truly be prepared for this,” Henderson said, laughing. “This will be a test for everyone, and I think we’re up to the challenge.”
An athlete who’ll likely be up to the challenge at the Class 4A meet is Ian Meek of Montrose, the defending state champion in the 1,600 and 3,200 who’ll compete in those events and the 800. Though he’s not one of the classification’s highest-ranked runners in the three events, Meek, who will run cross country and track at the University of Colorado next season, is unbeaten in each of his 10 distance races and lost only once in five tries in the 800.
Meek’s teammate, Sam Distel, should challenge in the shot put and discus after suffering a severe ankle injury that ended his wrestling season right before the state tournament.
Rifle senior Jack Rubalcave has the rare combination of qualifications in distance and sprint events, reaching the 3A state meet in the 400, 800 and 1,600. His top time of 1:58.20 in the 800 is ranked fourth in the classification, and his time of 51.40 in the 400, run during preliminaries at last week’s Tiger Invitational at Stocker Stadium, made him the event’s final qualifier. The top 18 times and marks in each event reach the state meet.
Delta has qualified all four of its relays for the 3A meet and Jacob Wear has the seventh best time in the 800. Beau Byers has qualified for both hurdle races for the Panthers.
Hunter Novess of De Beque has qualified for the 110 and 300 hurdles at the 1A meet, and his teammate, Nando Candelaria, qualified in the long jump. Plateau Valley qualified its 3,200 relay, and Elario Entwistle will run in today’s 1A 3,200 final.