Cedaredge’s Martinez wins high jump crown in 3A

LAKEWOOD — They say it has to be the reason — coaching. How else could Cedaredge qualify four high jumpers for the boys state track and field meet and come out of Jefferson County Stadium on Saturday with Danny Martinez as the Class 3A state champion?

“We have different coaches for every event,” said Martinez, who won the high jump on a jump-off, clearing 6 feet, 3 inches.

But there’s more.

“And maybe the biggest thing is just the competition on the Western Slope,” Martinez said. “I had people pushing me the whole way, so when I came here to state I knew I’d already seen the best competition.”

Competition like fifth-place Taylor Webb (6-0) of Rifle, sixth-place Reid Gates (6-0) of Cedaredge, seventh-place Tanner Vernon of Olathe (6-0) and ninth-place Dagan Smith (5-8), also of Cedaredge.

Webb took fifth place, leaping off a left ankle he sprained last week during the high jump in the 3A Western Slope League championship.

But for Rifle, which placed second with 75 points, behind The Classical Academy’s 137, the obstacles turned out to be more than numerous injuries that hobbled many of the team’s best athletes.

It started Thursday night at a Ramada Inn near the stadium.

Some told their nightmarish tales.

“I walked into our room, and our beds weren’t made, and in the trash can there were 60 empty beer bottles,” Jake Stattler said.

“In the room next to us there was a 12-year-old and a midget partying,” said Andrew Proebstle, who took fifth in the 400 dash and will run track at Brown University. “I kid you not. I wish I was making this up. The first day (of state track) I felt terrible.”

“In the room next to us, there were guys (doing drugs),” Webb said. “And my bed (frame) was broken. I was like, ‘How am I supposed to perform with a broken bed and I can’t sleep?’ There also was a lawn chair in the pool. And next door to us was a trailer park, and these kids were playing soccer and would hit our windows at 2 in the morning.”

The tattered hotel tales rattled on.

So, of course, Rifle coach Josh Keppeler had one thought: “What can I do to get us out of here?”

Amber Rowe, property manager at the Ramada Inn on 4700 Kipling Street, said she had the Rifle track team transferred to The Timbers, a four-star hotel near Denver International Airport.

The aforementioned Rifle athletes said they were happy with the switch, and, of course, slept much better.

“About the bed frame, we obviously would have had them move to a different room,” Rowe said. “We’re in the middle of renovations, going through interior work. I don’t know why they waited until now to do (renovations). But we’re getting an upgrade, and we’re looking forward to things getting better. A lot of teams come here, and we want to keep their business, even if it’s not within this property. If it’s not to their standards, we try to find them somewhere else within our other properties.”

Rifle took sixth in the 1,600 and fifth in the 400 relay on the Class 3A meet’s final day.

Also, the Bears’ Ryan Moeller placed third in the 100 dash (11.19), fifth in the 200 (22.94) and seventh in the long jump (20-8).

“We had a team meeting (Friday) night,” Keppeler said, “and we had the option of winning races or going after the highest places as a team. And these guys wanted to place as high as they could as a team.”


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