Sister act

Delta's Whiting twins continue to dominate distance events

Palisade’s BriAnna McElroy competes in the high jump Thursday during the Class 2A-4A Western Slope League meet at Stocker Stadium. The Palisade girls are in sixth place with 14 points after the first day of the two-day meet.

Where are Clarissa and Cleo Whiting?

“They’re running all the time — they’re probably running now,” Delta High School track athlete Sarah Gidden said. “They run after they run.”

“They’re so in synch (when they run),” explained Delta’s Adara Sandova, “you could not tell they were two people.”

They are identical twins, with identical running styles, and the Delta juniors are usually fast enough to decide which one of them will win a race.

It’s a system: the 1,600-meter run belongs to Clarissa; the 3,200 to Cleo.

That’s because Clarissa has been running the 1,600 longer than Cleo — since junior high. The system of Cleo “letting” Clarissa win the mile, and vice versa in the two mile, held true again on Thursday at the Class 2A-4A Western Slope League meet at Stocker Stadium.

Clarissa won the 4A girls 1,600 run with a time of 5 minutes, 22.03 seconds.

Cleo was .3 seconds behind.

At their birth, Cleo was one minute behind her sister.

That’s about as far apart as they’ve been since.

Battle Mountain is in first after the opening day’s six events with 77 points. Delta is second with 46.

In Class 3A, Gunnison has 59 points, followed by Rifle (45) and Hotchkiss (38).

Class 2A, West Grand leads with 39 points, followed by Paonia’s 38 and Meeker’s 33.

The meet resumes at 8 a.m. today.

The Whitings will compete in the 3,200 run, which begins in four girls’ divisions at 1:15 p.m.

“For us, the only struggle is us trying to get the same time as the other,” Cleo said. “Just trying to be as good as each other.”

Their closeness leads to odd questions.

“People ask me,” Clarissa said, ” ‘If (Cleo) sprains her ankle, do you feel it?’ No.”

They can name a few differences. Clarissa is a bit shorter, is best in math and science and plays percussion and piano.

Cleo, meanwhile, specializes in English and the French horn.

Their goal is to tie for first at the state cross-country meet.

“We’ve thought about that,” Clarissa said. “We’d have to finish hand-in-hand.”

Cedaredge’s Sierra Williams did not coast to the finish in the preliminaries of the 200 dash, as is typical for standout athletes in a preliminary event. Instead, she recorded a blistering time of 24.61 seconds in 3A — into a 1.9 mph headwind.

Williams, headed to Florida State University for track, is closing in on a Class 3A state meet record of 24.54 set by University’s Dimma Kalu in 2004.

“I feel like if I don’t push myself to win state now,” Williams said, “I won’t be prepared for it.”

With the state meet set to begin May 17-19, Hotchkiss sophomore Natalie Anderson is eyeing her ultimate goal — four-time Class 3A state champion in the 3,200 run. Anderson is the defending 3A state champion in the event.

She lapped many runners Thursday and won the 3,200 by a minute and a half.

Yet she was not happy with her time of 12 minutes, 00.16 seconds.

“By state I want to break 11:10,” Anderson said.

Two school records were set in the 3A long jump.

Cedaredge’s Rebecca Deal jumped 17 feet, 7 inches, albeit with a 3.1 mph wind advantage. She beat her own school mark set this year of 17-3.75.

Grand Valley’s Jordan Steinke placed second with a jump of 17-1.25.

But her mark smashed the school record of 16-11.5 set by Deanna Knapp in 1986.


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