Leave it to Chance
Jackson places 4th in high jump
LAKEWOOD — Chance Jackson missed the podium at the Class 4A State Track and Field Championships by one inch a year ago. So, when the Palisade senior placed fourth Friday in the boys high jump, he was thrilled.
“It was just amazing, I was really excited,” said Jackson, who cleared 6-foot-3, a personal best.
Last year, he went out at 6-1, and returning home without a medal was a big motivation this year.
Throughout most of this season, Jackson was consistently jumping between 5-10 and 6-1, with his season best at 6-2.
“I was clearing 6-1 all year, so it was pretty satisfying going 6-3,” he said.
When he missed at 6-foot-4, Jackson said Palisade coach Tim Reetz told him he just skimmed the bar with his backside.
But Jackson was still happy to have his best performance at his final meet. He said making the podium and coming home with a fourth-place medal was the perfect ending to his high school career.
“After returning to state, I kind of had the feeling. My legs felt good, and I thought I was going to jump well,” he said. “It was just really exciting.”
Fruita hurdleRs reach finals
As they’ve proven in the past, Micheala Hoffman and Jacob Hahn like running at Jeffco Stadium.
The two Fruita Monument High School hurdlers used their knowledge of the track to their advantage in Friday’s preliminaries of the Class 5A 300-meter hurdles.
Hoffman, a junior, qualified eighth in the girls race, clocking a time of 45.77 seconds, eclipsing her best time of the season by three-hundredths of a second.
Hahn, a sophomore, entered the prelims of the boys race tied for 15th in qualifying time, but he ran a time of 39.38 seconds, a personal record by more than a second, to qualify fifth in the finals.
Katie Lloyd, the Wildcats’ hurdles coach, wasn’t surprised the two reached the finals.
“Both of them are mentally tough, and both of them are really good competitors,” said Lloyd, who was herself a hurdler at Fruita Monument before going on to compete at Colorado State University.
Hoffman qualified for the state meet last year but didn’t place.
The Wildcats attended the Pomona Invitational at Jeffco in April.
“They both raced here and raced well here,” Lloyd said.
Provided they both finish the race, each will be on the podium today.
Paonia girls win two relays
The Class 2A girls team race could well come down to the relay races. Hotchkiss and Paonia, which are expected to be in the hunt for the team title, are competing head-to-head in all but the 400-meter relay.
Hotchkiss got the nod in the opener, winning Thursday’s 3,200 relay.
Friday’s round went to Paonia, which ironically practices twice a week at the Hotchkiss High School track because the school doesn’t have its own regulation track. The Eagles won the medley relay, then edged the rival Bulldogs in a photo finish in the 800 relay.
Marisa Edmondson, Brooklynd Erickson, Morgan Hartigan and Ashley VanVleet teamed up to win the medley.
“Every day in practice we brought up the relays and how important it was to the team title,” Hartigan said.
VanVleet, the anchor, took the baton in first place. Hotchkiss, meanwhile, dropped the baton on the last exchange and finished ninth.
Nearly two hours later, Edmondson and Erickson joined Emily Pieper and Brianna VanVleet in edging Hotchkiss at the finish line. Neither team knew which had won until the final results were announced.
“I had my fingers crossed,” said Edmondson, who was on last year’s 800-meter team that finished a disappointing fifth.
“It feels great to come back and win it (this year),” she said.
She had faith that VanVleet, the fourth runner, could hold on.
“She’s the best anchor. She’ll chase down anybody,” Edmondson said.
There’s one relay left, the 1,600 — the final event of the meet today — and the team title could come down to it.
Hartigan wins shot put
Morgan Hartigan had a full day before she got to her favorite event.
But it was worth the wait, when the Paonia senior went out and won the 2A girls shot put with a throw of 39 feet, 10 inches, more than a foot farther than the runner-up.
“I had a full meet today,” she said with a smile. “It started with the 4-by-100 (preliminaries), then the 300 hurdles, and then the 800 medley finals, which we won, so that really got me going.”
The versatile track and field athlete does a lot of events, but the shot put is her main focus.
“I put shot put before everything else,” she said.
After finishing the event fifth as a freshman and second as a sophomore, she was determined to take gold this year.
“I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m letting down this year,’ ” she said.
Bulldogs place high
In other 2A results, Natalie Anderson finished third and Mae Anderson fourth in the 3,200 for Hotchkiss. Natalie Anderson finished in 12:03.0, and Mae Anderson clocked in at 12:13.33, combining for 13 team points for the Bulldogs.
River Panish placed fourth (42-4.25) in the boys triple jump for Hotchkiss.
Freelance reporter Kent Mincer contributed to this story.