Fruita boys, girls win Wertman Invite

Katy Martin of Fruita Monument High School runs around a bend in the track as she picks up the third leg of the girls’ 800-meter sprint relay at the Phil Wertman track meet at Stocker Stadium.

The long jump roster for the Fruita Monument High School boys track team is so deep, freshman James Lewis had a hard time making the top three.

That is normally how many jumpers the Wildcats enter in varsity meets.

Because Friday was Fruita Monument’s annual Phil Wertman Invitational, the Wildcats entered five. Lewis, a freshman, was one of those five.

That was good news for him and the Wildcats. On his next-to-last jump in the finals, he uncorked a leap of 20 feet, 11/4 inches overtaking teammate Mike Campbell by 43/4 inches to win the event.

“I didn’t know I had it in me,” Lewis said. “It was a real improvement.”

Lewis’ victory helped the Wildcats run away with the team title in the boys meet. Fruita Monument scored 191 points, beating second-place Montrose by 89 points.

The Wildcats also won the girls meet with 165 points, defeating Montezuma-Cortez by 531/2 points.

Lewis, who set School District 51 middle school records of 15-5 as a 7th grader and 18-3 as an 8th grader, had a previous season best of 17-2 entering Friday’s meet at Stocker Stadium.

“I wasn’t good enough,” he said of cracking the Wildcats’ top three.

“The truth is, we have a strong group of jumpers,” Wildcats jumps coach Molly Ryan said.

Lewis had previously competed for the varsity in the season-opening Central Relays and at the Panther Invitational in Rangely.

His top jump at the Central Relays was 18-81/2 .

“It just kept going up,” he said of his marks steadily improving week by week.

He scratched on his first jump Friday.

“I wasn’t set on my mark,” he said.

He moved the mark, where he starts his runway approach, back five inches and immediately got into a comfort zone.

When he hit the board for his winning jump, “It felt great,” he said. “It was just one of those jumps.”

Ryan said Lewis has been working on his speed down the runway.

“The faster you run, the farther you go, so he’s been working on his approach,” she said.
In addition to the jumps, Fruita Monument was strong in the distance events. The Wildcats’
Jordan Potterton won the boys 800 and teammate Woody Seagren won the 1,600 and the 3,200. Kasey Mortenson won the girls 800 for Fruita Monument.

Seagren’s victory in the 1,600 came by two seconds over teammate James Mauch. He ran away from the field by the second lap of the 3,200, winning in 10:26.11, his fastest time of the season by more than seven seconds. John Zamora of the Wildcats was second in 10:53.66.

“I set the bar pretty high,” he said of trying to run certain splits during each of the eight laps of the 3,200. “I get closer and closer to that each week.”


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