Kid brother gets Gates soaring to new heights
Little brothers, pains in the butt that they can be, sometimes are the best thing for Big Bro.
Cedaredge high jumper Reid Gates will admit as much.
The Bruins’ junior, of whom Cedaredge track and field coach Kirby Henderson said, “I’ve never been around a more competitive kid than Reid is,” got a boost of competitive energy in his first meet of the season.
Thank you, Shane Gates.
Shane, a freshman, already had cleared 6-feet as the high jump at the Montrose Invitational on March 9 came down to him and Reid, and big brother had missed his first two attempts at the height. On the third try, Reid cleared it.
Wipe brow. Breathe sigh of relief. Go to 6-feet-2.
There, Shane bowed out, and Reid cleared the height.
Wave index finger at little brother and remind him he isn’t quite there yet, then thank the heavens for sparing you from the merciless teasing that would have ensued if Shane had won.
Then say, “No more fooling around,” and get back to clearing heights few others in the state can rise to.
That’s what Reid Gates has done in his two meets since then. First, he cleared 6-6 to win the high jump at the Panthers Invitational in Delta two weeks ago. Then, he and teammate Dante Markley headed to the Mickey Dunn Invitational last weekend in search of greater competition — the rest of the Bruins went to a meet in Hotchkiss — and Gates skied to a school-record 6-8.
He nearly cleared 6-9, but he nicked the bar, which looked like it might stay up before finally dropping.
“I remember going over the bar and watching it fall, so it wobbled a bit,” Reid said.
His start is similar to previous seasons, hitting personal records early. He hopes the end, however, is nothing like last year when he was hobbled by an ankle injury at the state meet. Bum ankle and all, he placed sixth with a jump of 6-0, but watched teammate Danny Martinez go 6-3 and win the state title in Class 3A.
Reid was happy for Martinez, but he couldn’t help thinking the state title would have been his with two healthy ankles.
“I think that’s fueling his season now, thinking, ‘That could’ve been mine. And this year it will be,’ ” Henderson said.
Reid also has a goal to clear 6-10 this season, and if he does that, he said, “I’m not going to settle for that.”
Sister set bar for the boys
Preceding the Gates brothers as a high jumper was Big Sis, Jheri, who competed in the Class 3A state meet as a junior and senior at Cedaredge, then became an NCAA Division III All-American in the event at Whitworth College in Spokane, Wash.
After two years at Whitworth, however, she transferred this school year to the University of Kansas and no longer competes in track, Reid said.
Maybe they can go 1-2
Although Reid may not want Shane to ever beat him, he believes his younger brother will join him at the state meet this spring.
“He has a lot of potential,” Reid said. “He’ll go to state for sure.”
Pretty good at another jump
Reid also expects to be long jumping again at the state meet, where he placed 13th last year. This season he already has surpassed his best jump of one year ago, winning the long jump at the Mickey Dunn Invitational with a 21-5.5.
“The school record is 22-9, so that’s what’s kind of in the back of my mind,” he said.
But, first things first, he added, “I want to get 22 feet.”
Another winning start
Markley won the 110-meter hurdles and took fifth in the 100 dash at the Mickey Dunn Invitational, and he was going to compete in the 200 dash and 300 hurdles but fell vomiting-several-times ill, ending his day.
Like Reid Gates, Markley is off to a strong start. The senior, who made the state cut in the 100 and both hurdles races last year, placed sixth in the 300 hurdles, won the 100, 200 and 110 hurdles at the Panthers Invitational and added a second-place finish in the 300 hurdles, bettered only by Delta’s Chris Black.
“I was happy with both of my hurdles times,” Markley said of the 16.07- and 41.98-second times. “My 100 and 200 times (11.64 and 24.28) I wasn’t happy with. ... Right now I’m not concerned about times. It’s more about the competition.”
Henderson thinks Markley is in line for a rewarding season, and he said Markley deserves it.
“He has a work ethic that’s second to none,” Henderson said. “He’s focused and driven.”
Dad’s jump was the best
Markley’s hurdles win was not the lone highlight of his day at the Mickey Dunn Invitational. He equally enjoyed seeing Reid Gates clear 6-8 in the high jump.
Markley said he was getting ready to run the 100, which put him on the track near the high jump pit.
“Right after he cleared 6-8, I saw his dad (Ken Gates) jump up, he was so excited,” Markley said.
Hope he doesn’t answer
If you call Markley and get his voice mail, he introduces himself as: Dante Ryan “On the Mark” Markley.