JUMPING FOR JOY?
District 51 athletes setting bar high for state track meet
Just because he’s going to be back on the state’s biggest prep track and field stage doesn’t mean Gunner Rigsby is going to do something different.
And why would he change anything? After all, everything he’s done in the long and triple jump is what got him to this week’s Class 5A state championships in Lakewood.
“More than anything, it’s just about going out there to do my thing, doing what I’ve been doing all year long and seeing what happens from there,” the Fruita Monument High School senior said. “There’s going to be a lot of adrenaline, that’s for sure. But I’m not going to change anything. Not at this point.”
Not that Rigsby needs to change much. His mark of 23 feet, 4 1/4 inches was the best in 5A until this past weekend, when Grandview’s Hayden Blumbaugh went 23-5 at the Centennial League Championships this past Saturday. His top triple jump of 47-5 3/4 is close to a school record and second to the 48-0 popped off by Fountain-Fort Carson’s Jequan Hogan.
And Rigsby is one of a handful of stellar jumpers who’ll compete at this week’s state meet, which runs Thursday through Saturday at Jefferson County Stadium.
Among those jumpers is Zaccre Kenward, who has consistently improved his marks in the triple jump with his mark of 46-2 1/4, which he reached running into a wind gust at the Class 4A Western Slope League Championships earlier this month. Another is Grand Junction senior Tia Wright who, along with teammate Megan King is in a five-way tie for the top mark in the high jump at 5 feet, 5 inches.
Rigsby’s first trip to state was last year when he attended Grand Valley and finished second in the triple jump. This year, he’s credited his coaches with the improvements he’s made, especially with his overall technique.
Kenward flew up the charts in the triple jump when he competed in the Fountain-Fort Carson Invitational and jumped against Hogan, then improved on it in the league meet. His jump of 22-7 1/4 — which broke a school record — came the same weekend he went head to head with Rigsby at the Mickey Dunn Invitational.
Kenward will also run in the 100 and 200 meters, and his top time of 22.14 seconds in the 200 is ranked ninth in Class 4A.
Wright and King each hit the 5-5 mark at the Frank Woodburn Invitational on April 8. Three other Class 5A athletes have also reached that height this year.
Wright has also qualified in the triple jump with a mark of 35-11, which she’s reached two times this year.
“Consistency is what’s keeping me sane right now,” Wright said. “I’m excited of all of it, but it makes me feel good knowing I’ve reached that a couple of times recently and others have gone further earlier in the season but haven’t gotten back there since.”
King, along with the high jump, qualified in the 100 and 300 hurdles. Her top time of 15.90 in the 100 hurdles is ranked 18th and is just one one-hundredths of a second faster than the 19th-place time. The Colorado High School Activities Association takes the top 18 marks and times for its state meet.
Central senior Talon Berta, a first-year track athlete, was on the verge of not making the 5A state meet until this weekend. On Saturday, he took nearly two seconds off his previous personal-best time in the 800, winning in 1:55.13. The time is the fourth-best time in the classification.
Grand Junction’s Preston Deters has the sixth-best mark in the 5A discus at 153-5. Fruita Monument’s Kenley Kohls’ top mark of 5-2 in the high jump got her to Lakewood.
In the Class 4A meet, Palisade’s boys 3,200 relay has the fourth-best time in the classification at 8:10.80, and Connor Dillon’s time of 1:57.99 in the 800 got him to state. Palisade’s Caleb Brown has a top mark of 50-5 in the shot put, which ranks him fourth.