Palisade’s Shafer gets a close look at top-ranked triple jumper

Palisade’s Olevia Shafer soared 34 feet, 9.5 inches Saturday in the triple jump at the Tiger Invitational at Stocker Stadium. Shafer’s leap, which was nearly two feet short of her season best, was good for third place.

Palisade High School triple jumper Olevia Shafer got a preview of the state tournament.

Saturday at the second day of the Tiger Invitational, Shafer, the second-ranked triple jumper in Class 4A, was competing against Wheat Ridge’s Annie Kunz, the top-ranked triple jumper in 4A.

“We’ve both improved throughout the year,” Shafer said. “At the beginning of the season, it wouldn’t have told you much, but I can take a lot away from (Saturday).”

Kunz came out on top, winning the event with a jump of 37 feet, 2 inches. Shafer finished third with a leap of 34 feet, 9.5 inches.

Both jumpers were below their current qualifying marks. Kunz’s best jump this season is 37-3.25, and Shafer’s best jump is 36-8.

“It was a tough day for (Shafer),” Palisade coach Tim Reetz said. “We were hoping to have a cool little dual, but it was still good having her face the leader in the state like that. Hopefully she gets those nerves out of her system now.”

Shafer won’t see the same quality of competition during next week’s Western Slope League meet, so jumping against Kunz at this point of the season was important.

“It’s been good to see that competition,” Shafer said. “I still am working on fundamentals and trying to get better.”

Kunz is one of the state’s top athletes, ranked first in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles. Saturday, Kunz won both events, finishing the 100 hurdles in 14.38 seconds, and the 300 in 44.36.

Kunz also won the high jump Friday with a jump of 5 feet, 6 inches.

“We love the Grand Junction meet,” Kunz said. “It’s a good time and there is good competition.”

Wheat Ridge was one of four Front Range schools in the Tiger Invitational. The outside competition provided for some good races, including the girls 1,600-meter run.

Grand Valley’s Brandi Krieg jumped in front of the field, as she does in most races, but was passed by Pomona’s Alaina Anderson after the first lap. Anderson led the race until the final 100 meters, when Krieg made a final push to win the race in 5:09.99.

Anderson finished in 5:10.36.

“I didn’t know her, and didn’t know what she was going to do,” Krieg said. “It made me pay attention and hope I had enough to make a kick.

“It was a lot more like a state situation.”

Having the Tiger Invitational as a two-day meet allowed runners two opportunities to post times to help their state rankings, and Central’s Aaron Wallway took advantage. Wallway qualified Friday with a 16.17 in the 110-meter hurdles, but turned in a personal best 14.97 in Saturday’s finals.

“It felt good,” Wallway said. “Every meet I’ve been getting better and better, and I’m looking to not plateau but to keep dropping my times.”

Other individual results included Fruita Monument’s Chuck Bisbee winning the 400-meter dash in 2:01.02, and Grand Junction’s Stephanie Ryken winning the 100-meter dash in 12.68.

Wheat Ridge scored 89.5 points to win the girls team title. Grand Junction finished second with 78 points.

The Tigers won the boys team title with 72 points, and Palisade finished tied for second with 69.

“Everyone is starting to peak,” Reetz said. “As a whole, we ran great.”


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