Delta teammates have high hopes in high jump at state

When Phillip Decker and Clinton Botts aren’t participating in the high jump, they’re often leading cheers for their Delta High School teammates.

They’ll have their Panther track and field teammates cheering them on this weekend at the Colorado State Championships at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

“That’s what they do,” Delta high jump coach Kelly McCormick said. “It doesn’t matter what event. If someone does well, the whole team shows up. Botts and Decker usually lead the charge. When Eli Baier was triple jumping last week, those two got the team over there.”

Decker and Botts are in contention for the Class 4A boys high jump state title.

Botts is tied for fourth with a season-best jump of 6 feet, 6 inches. Decker moved up to sixth with a personal record and Western Slope League title leap of 6-5 last weekend.

“I knew I had to do something. I was feeling it,” Decker said. “My goal is to break the school record.”

The school record (6-8 1/4) is in reach for both of them and it might be enough to win a state title. If Decker or Botts win the state title, it would be a first boys high jump state champion in school history as well even though the Panthers have qualified a high jumper for state at least four consecutive years, McCormick said.

The top high jump going into the state met is 6-10 1/4 by Kobi Rex of Lewis-Palmer.

“That kid jumped that the first meet of the year,” McCormick said. “Since then, he’s jumped 6-4, 6-5, 6-6. Everybody else is right there at 6-6. It’s anybody’s game. As far as I’m concerned I think it’s wide open for the top five or six kids.”

The Glenwood Springs girls team dominated the Western Slope League and could compete for its first state title since 1994 when Amy Feinsinger led the way with three individual state titles.

“People have been asking me all season long,” Glenwood Springs coach Blake Risner said. “We have an incredible group of young ladies. I told the girls (Tuesday) night, we’re in the toughest classification. It’s tougher than the 5A, in my opinion. If we do our absolute best, there is always a chance.

“There’s not a dominant team like Thompson Valley, which scored 100 points last year. We’re trying to keep goals more narrowed and focused. We’re taking a business-like approach.”

Three of the Demons’ relay teams are seeded in the top four and Jolie Dubois is seeded fourth in the 200-meter dash and fifth in the 100.

Other contenders for the team state title are Windsor, Mullen, Sierra, Mountain View, Alamosa and Valor Christian, Risner said.

The Rifle boys 400, 800 and 1,600 relays have top-five times entering today’s preliminary races.

Class 3A

Coal Ridge’s Ashlie Bowles is busy this week.

The junior is competing in the long jump, triple jump and two relays in between playing for the girls soccer team in the state tournament.

“I’m really excited,” Bowles said. “I’ll be traveling back and forth from the state track meet to the game, doing both.”

She is seeded fourth in the long jump and seventh in the triple jump.

“My dad is the jump coach for Coal Ridge and wanted me to try jumping,” Bowles said. “I love it. Soccer will always be my first sport, but this is definitely a close runner-up.”

The Cedaredge boys team hopes to compete for a first- or second-place plaque, led by medal hopefuls Ben and Geordan Brewer and Danny Martinez.

“We’re hoping to get the young kids much-needed experience and to have the upperclassmen to get to finals and bring back some medals,” Cedaredge coach Kirby Henderson said. “The boys’ team goal is one of the top two plaques. They’ve got their work cut out for them.”

The girls team is led by sprinters Sierra Williams, who is dealing with a hip injury, and Rachelle Litschem, high jumper Jheri Gates and discus thrower Shelby Crosby.

Class 2A

Johanna Reed and Jordyn Rienks look to lead the Paonia girls team to a state title one week after winning a regional title.

“We’re looking at potentially a top-two finish,” Paonia coach Brian Mitchem said. “With Johanna and Jordyn pacing the individual events, we have a chance to be up there in the points standing and we’re hoping the relays can come through.

“On the boys side, we’re hoping for a top five. It will take some good performances, but we’re capable of it. We’ve got a chance to be in the top eight or nine in the events we entered.”

Reed has the fastest time this season in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 runs and Rienks has the third-best shot put. Meeker’s Kathryn Doll is competing for a long jump and triple jump title and Norwood’s Mollie Lane has the second-best discus throw.

The Paonia boys 400, 800, 1,600 and 3,200 relay teams are all seeded in the top eight.

Norwood’s Ty Williams has the best 3,200 time going into state and Meeker’s Colton Brown is in contention for a high jump title.


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