Loss at state cross-country meet driving Montrose distance runner on track
Memories of his second-place finish at the Class 4A state cross-country championships last fall motivate Ian Meek now.
The Montrose High School senior came oh-so close to winning the state title in Colorado Springs, losing a sprint to the finish with Air Academy’s Ethan Powell. Powell’s winning time of 15 minutes, 54.7 seconds was one-tenth of a second faster than Meek.
Meek has used the one-tenth of a second loss as motivation for the final five weeks of his high school track and field career. That motivation worked Saturday at Stocker Stadium when Meek won the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter races at the Frank Woodburn Invitational.
“I thought about (the state cross-country meet) the other day one a trip home from Denver,” Meek said. “I said to myself, ‘Would I rather be the guy that won by a tenth of a second or that guy who lost by a tenth of a second?’ And when I really thought about that, I figured I’d rather be the guy who lost.
“If you’re the guy who lost by a tenth of a second, that means you almost beat him,” he continued. “If you won, that means he almost beat you. That’s how I see it, and it adds just a little more fuel to the fire.”
Meek’s motivation makes it harder for others to beat him — not that outrunning Meek isn’t difficult enough. He is unbeaten in both the 1,600 and 3,200 since the beginning of his junior year. One of his three losses during his senior cross-country season came with his 29th-place finish at the Nike Cross Nationals Southwest Regional in Casa Grande, Arizona, this past November.
Despite winning three races Saturday, Meek felt he should have run better. He wasn’t happy with his winning time of 4:35.03 in the wind-blown 1,600, but he also fought off windy elements in winning the 800 in 2:01.79 and the 3,200 in 10:02.45.
Meek wasn’t the only athlete at Stocker Stadium setting the bar high.
Grand Junction senior Tia Wright set a personal-best mark in the high jump by clearing 5 feet, 5 inches a mark that was matched by teammate Megan King on her third and final attempt. The leap was a four-inch personal best for King, who was more surprised than anyone by clearing the bar.
“I don’t know where that came from because I didn’t practice that (event) all week,” the senior sheepishly admitted. “I’m definitely not going to complain, though, and ... I know I can hit it again.”
Neither she nor Wright will complain about where they stand among Class 5A high jumpers. Their mark was enough to tie Audra Koopman of Fort Collins for the classification’s top height, according to Colorado Milesplit.
King also won the 100 hurdles in 15.86 and was sixth in the 400 in 1:02.2. Paonia’s Brianna Van Vleet won the event in 58.89, which is the best time in Class 2A and the sixth best in Colorado regardless of classification.
Fruita Monument’s Gunner Rigsby made his way up the Milesplit list in the triple jump. He shattered the school record in the triple jump with a leap of 47-9 1/4, breaking his previous-best mark of 44-5 1/2. Sophia Anderson of Paonia won the girls triple jump with a leap of 35-0 3/4 to barely beat the second-place mark by Wright (35-0 1/2).
Central’s boys and girls 3,200 relay each managed first-place finishes. The boys team of David Cardenas, Jared McClain, Jared Leblow and Talon Berta finished in 8:23.92, which Milesplit says is among the top times in Class 5A. Central’s girls team won in 10:55.07.
The Warriors also had Leblow, Berta and Cardenas finish second, third and fourth behind Meek in the 3,200.
“I think,” Central distance coach Ted Leblow said, “we have a chance to do something at the state meet now.”