Multiple medals may await Cedaredge’s Gates at 3A state track meet
Decisions, decisions. Reid Gates had a couple of easy ones: compete in the boys high jump, where he’s seeded first, and the long jump, where he’s seeded third.
Then the Cedaredge High School junior had a couple of tough ones because athletes are limited to competing in four events at the Class 3A State Track and Field Championships. Gates, who said he’d like to be a decathlete in college, tried a few new events this year and excelled in them, too, posting qualifying times and distances in seven events.
Which three not to do in Denver? Hmmm.
Gates chose the 100-meter dash, which he has run in only a couple of meets and won the league title last weekend, and the 400 relay, which will feature four runners who have done the event together only a couple of times.
Kicked to the curb were the discus, the 200 dash and the 800 relay, which Cedaredge will still run at state, just with a replacement for Gates.
Gates leads a large contingent of Bruins, boys and girls, into the 3A state meet, which starts today and runs through Saturday at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.
Gates has the top qualifying mark in the high jump at 6-feet, 8-inches. Although the next best height is 6-6 from Coal Ridge’s Andy Bowles, there will be more competition. A state champion from two years ago, Andrew Cirone of Estes Park, lurks in the field. Cirone lost a tiebreaker for the title last year. Meanwhile, The Classical Academy’s Collin Scheer finished third last year and second two years ago.
To competition, Gates says, “Bring it on,” just like last week when he cleared 6-7 to edge Bowles by an inch for the 3A Western Slope League championship.
“I’ve done (personal records) and my best when he’s pushing me,” Gates said.
Cedaredge track coach Kirby Henderson said he’s never been around a more competitive kid, and Gates is healthy this year, something he was not last year. A bad ankle limited Gates to a jump of 6-0 and sixth place in last year’s state high jump as he watched senior teammate Danny Martinez claim the championship at 6-3, a height Gates had cleared easily before the late-season injury.
“He’s in a great place right now mentally and physically,” Henderson said. “He’s kind of carefree and not overanalyzing anything.”
To that end, Gates’ goals this year are simple.
“High jump, I want to win for sure,” he said. “At this point, I just want to win.
“In the long jump and 100, I just want to perform at my best and see where that puts me.”
He’d also like to see his freshman brother, Shane, who is seeded eighth with a best of 6-2, place in the high jump.
The Bruins’ boys team has two other athletes who could find their way on or near the top of the medal stand.
Sophomore thrower Austin Williams is the top seed in the shot put and enters the meet with the fourth-best toss in the discus.
Senior Dante Markley will look to cap his career with high places in four events. He’s seeded in the top eight in the 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles and 200, with a best seed of third in the 110 hurdles. He’s also on the 400 relay, which is seeded fourth.
“I think our boys could finish in the top five (in the team standings),” Henderson said. “I think that’s what we’re shooting for with the girls, too.”