Leaving his mark

Worley sets sights on Palisade record book

Palisade High School senior Brandon Worley throws the shot put Saturday during the Mickey Dunn Invitational. Worley won the event with a best put of 48 feet, 2 1/4 inches, a personal best.

One-year-old Aspen Andrew was dressed for Saturday’s Mickey Dunn Invitational, bundled up and wearing a Tiger cap. Aspen is the great-granddaughter of Mickey Dunn, the longtime coach for whom the event is named.

Grand Junction’s Brody Cupp crosses the finish line Saturday to win the boys 200 meters at the Mickey Dunn Invitational at Stocker Stadium.

Brandon Worley wants to break the longest-standing record for Palisade High School boys track and field.

Teammate and fellow senior Leo Gallegos just wants to break out from the pack.

Saturday in the Mickey Dunn Invitational at Stocker Stadium, the Palisade big men demonstrated they are well on their way to the goals they set for their final season. Each won a throwing event with a personal-best toss as Worley won the shot put and Gallegos won the discus, with Worley second.

Worley said track and field is his only sport, and the 5-foot-11, 220-pounder wants to make his mark at Palisade before he graduates.

“When it’s not snowing, I’m throwing or lifting,” he said.

His winning distance was 48 feet, 2¼ inches, more than a foot farther than the 46-9 he threw a week earlier for a personal best. And that throw of 46-9 was a foot-and-a-half farther than the personal record he established last season.

Now, Worley’s eyeing the wall in the Palisade High School lobby where the track and field records are listed. He said the oldest boys track record dates back to 1970. It’s the shot put, and the distance is 50 feet. And he thinks he has a realistic chance to break it.

“I’m hoping so,” Worley said, “especially after today. It really got my confidence up.”

Worley’s distance of 136-4 in the discus also was a personal record, surpassing his previous best by nine feet.

“Almost every throw was my best,” Worley said of Saturday’s discus competition. “I kept throwing farther and farther.”

Gallegos did the same in the finals, and he unleashed the throw of the day on his final attempt, tossing the discus 152-10, shattering his personal record of a year ago by 15 feet and the personal best he’d established one throw earlier at 139 feet.

“When I threw 139, I felt really good, and my adrenaline started pumping,” Gallegos said. “I knew I was going to have a good throw, and I popped it out there.”

Gallegos entered the finals in a tight grouping with Worley and several other throwers, and the 6-foot-1, 259-pounder was determined at that point to separate himself from the others.

“I just wanted to be the best,” Gallegos said. “I really wanted to break out.”

First-place finishes were hard to come by for District 51 boys Saturday. Besides Worley and Gallegos, District 51 won two other events among the 17. Grand Junction sophomore Brody Cupp won the 200-meter dash, and Fruita Monument’s Juston Erekson, Cody Maston, Josh Schweigart and Grady Winters teamed up to win the 800 relay.

Cupp was a split-second from being a double winner. He took second in the 100 in 11.77, one-hundredth of a second behind Cole Adams of Glenwood Springs.

Cupp took the suspense out of the 200, winning by several strides in 23.49 seconds. That time blew away his previous best, the 23.9 he clocked in the regional meet last spring.

Cupp didn’t expect to get the separation he got from the pack.

“Last year, those guys were beating me or right next to me,” he said. “I’m really excited for the rest of the season.”

Grand Junction coach Sean Henry expects Cupp to keep improving.

“Brody’s awesome,” he said. “He works hard, works really well at it, and it pays off.”

The Wildcats’ 800 relay won in 1:34.02, a time Fruita coach Tom Goff called “OK for this time of year.”

Goff added, “We have a lot of work to do. We have to work on our handoffs. ... We have a lot of potential in that event. Our handoffs were horrendous, but we still won.”

Goff thought the Wildcats could have won the 400 relay, too, but the team missed the second handoff.

Otherwise, he said, “We were right there.”

Glenwood Springs won the boys team title with 84 points, one ahead of runner-up Mountain Vista. Grand Junction was third with 73 points, one ahead of fourth-place Palisade. Fruita was sixth with 35.5 points, and Central was 18th with 14 points.


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