Small and mighty

Cedaredge track and field athletes shining at state

Hotchkiss’ Jennifer Celis celebrates Friday after winning the 800-meter run at the Class 3A state meet at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood. Celis won her first title with a time of 2 minutes, 15.59 seconds, holding off Regan Mullen of The Classical Academy, back.

LAKEWOOD — At Cedaredge High School, the big-screen television in the cafeteria reportedly has been showing students and teachers during school hours how the Bruins’ track team has been blazing at state.

At Jefferson County Stadium, whenever a Bruins’ athlete has stood atop the podium, an announcer lets those who could hear at the state track and field championships know about first-place finishers from a town called Cedaredge.

The small town is suddenly huge.

On Friday, the Bruins’ Miguel Barajas became a champion in the shot put.

Cedaredge’s Sierra Williams set Class 3A state meet records in the 100- and 200-meter dash preliminaries Thursday and will run in the finals for those events today.

And Cedaredge’s girls 400 relay set a 3A state-meet record in preliminaries, and its 800 relay won the final Friday, after setting yet another state-meet record in that event’s preliminaries Thursday.

“I hear people trying to figure out, ‘Where’s that town?’ ” Cedaredge freshman Mackenzie Kehmeier said.

“In all other sports Cedaredge gets beaten pretty easily,” Bruins sprinter Tami Zamarripa said. “Here, they underestimate us.”

Bad idea.

Cedaredge’s 400 relay team of Summer Herman, Savannah McIntire, Williams and Zamarripa ran the event in 49.32 seconds, breaking Berthoud’s state-meet record of 49.86 from last year. Platte Valley placed second in that heat with a time of 49.51, which also bested the previous meet record.

In winning the 800 relay final, members Zamarripa, Williams, McIntire and Rebecca Deal ran a 1:43.52. The Bruins already had set the state-meet record in Thursday’s preliminary with a 1:42.91.

“I think this shows that you can be a small school and still accomplish really big goals,” Williams said.

The Cedaredge girls team has 12 points going into the state meet’s final day. The Classical Academy leads with 67 points.

Barajas decided three weeks ago, on a whim from shot put frustration, that’s he’d spin before his shot put instead of glide.

He remembers on his first spin attempt, he warned those around him to watch their heads — he was just a rookie.

On Friday, after his first throw in finals of 50 feet, 3 inches, Barajas looked at his shaking hands, his adrenaline running high at the thought he’d just chucked a state-championship winner.

“I knew,” Barajas said.

And he had.

Barajas, a senior, defeated second-place Grayson Bundick of Faith Christian by 2.75 inches.

“After I was done, my hands were still shaking,” Barajas said. “My mom was crying. The last two years I came out here, I’d done badly.”

It was Barajas’ first state title.

Hotchkiss sophomore Jennifer Celis picked up her first individual state title as well, winning the girls Class 3A 800 run in 2:15.59, just ahead of second-place Regan Mullen of The Classical Academy, who ran a 2:16.34.

Celis crossed the finish line, sidled into the grass, crossed her heart, then dropped to her knees and prayed.

“On that last 300 (meters), I felt like I had something left,” Celis said. “Boy, did God help me with that.”

Celis, who had the second-fastest time coming into the final, behind Mullen, outsprinted Mullen to the line.

“It’s the best feeling,” Celis said of winning a state title. “Just a glorious feeling of joy and accomplishment.”

The Rifle boys continue their attempt at back-to-back Class 3A state titles. The Bears are in third place with 31 points, trailing first-place Faith Christian, which has 56 points.

The Bears’ 800 relay team of Kellin Leigh, Brandon Kittle, Lee Harrison and Andrew Proebstle took third place, running a 1:30.77.

For the Rifle girls, Joey Kuheim took fourth in the discus with a throw of 123-4.


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