Cedaredge’s Williams wins 3 more state titles
LAKEWOOD — She snatched the baton, and with strides clearly longer and stronger than any in the 400-meter relay, ones that she’ll take to Florida State University, Cedaredge’s Sierra Williams swallowed a gap one final time in high school track and field.
Williams caught the Platte Valley sprinter in the anchor leg, gliding to a win by some 10 meters. But of all her accomplishments at the Class 3A state championships this weekend, which on Saturday included wins and state-meet records in the 100 dash, 200 dash and 400 relay, and on Friday her leg in Cedaredge’s state-meet record 800 relay, Williams may be remembered just as fondly for something besides speed — even by those she defeated.
“She’s someone I look up to,” said Platte Valley’s Rachael Moralez, minutes after Williams passed her for the championship at Jefferson County Stadium. “Losing to someone like that is nice.”
And Williams, say many who know her, is exactly that — nice. And some teammates explain the Cedaredge senior with the blonde hair and pink sprinting spikes has set an example of how to win with grace.
“She makes me want to be better,” said Cedaredge’s Tani Zamarripa, who ran a leg in the 400 relay along with Summer Herman, Savannah McIntire and, of course, Williams. “Not just in athletics, but in school and everything.”
In the morning, and under a dicing rain, Williams won the 100 dash in 11.82 seconds, upping the state-meet record she set in preliminaries of 11.86.
“This probably isn’t accurate,” Williams said, “but it felt like it was pouring harder when I took my sweats off.”
In the 200, she lowered another state meet record of her own, clocking 24.13 seconds. She had run a 24.53 in prelims.
Williams helped Cedaredge place fourth in the team standings with 50 points. The Classical Academy won with 137.
Of course, the legend extends beyond speed.
“The coolest thing about all this is: Other girls say I inspire them, and they look up to me as an athlete,” Williams said. “They know they can come up to me and talk to me, and I see that as my greatest accomplishment.”
The Bruins’ breakout state performances were echoed in the long jump as well. Cedaredge’s Rebecca Deal took second in the event, jumping 17 feet, 0.5 inches.
Berthoud’s Courtney Mills won with a leap of 18 feet.
“I just had a change of mindsets,” Deal said. “Going in (to the long jump) I was pretty frustrated and upset. Then I changed it to, ‘You want this; you got this; let’s go.’ “
Rifle shot-putter Joey Kuheim also took second with a throw of 41-2. Eaton’s Merl Harl won, going 43-2.
Continuing the second-place trend was Hotchkiss and sophomore Jennifer Celis.
Celis, who won the 800 run Friday, took second in the 400 dash Saturday with a time of 58.57, only 0.26 seconds behind the winner, The Classical Academy’s Allison Kropkowski.
Then Celis anchored Hotchkiss’s second-place 1,600 relay, which finished in 4:04.75 and was just under a second behind first place Eaton.
Other relay members were: Natalie Anderson, a sophomore who also placed fourth Saturday in the 1,600 run; Jessi Mautz, a senior; and Aleksus Wilson, a freshman.
“This being my senior year, this was a great way to go out,” Mautz said.
It came on a day that reached a mere 60 degrees for a high temperature and on a track peppered with rain and whipped by wind but, fortunately, not threatened by lightning.
“It was just a state meet with crazy ups and downs,” Celis said. “Rain and sunshine and wind, but we all fought through it.”