Soaring to second at state
Fruita's Rigsby nets silver with leap in triple jump
LAKEWOOD — All Gunner Rigsby could do was look behind him and shake his head.
The Fruita Monument High School senior knew there’s nothing more he could have done.
Rigsby had improved on his previous personal-best mark in the triple jump by more than one foot, but still finished second Saturday at the Class 5A state track meet at Jefferson County Stadium.
“Jeez, man,” Rigsby said. “I mean, he just jumped 50 feet for crying out loud. Good for him. I’m totally OK with finishing second if that guy’s gonna go 50 feet.”
That guy was Fountain-Fort Carson’s Jequan Hogan, who had the best triple-jump mark in Colorado heading into the state meet but trailed Rigsby after he scratched the first two of his four attempts. What followed were performances by the two jumpers that sent the part of JeffCo Stadium watching the event into cheering frenzies.
Hogan posted a winning mark of 50 feet, 7 1/4 inches, and Rigsby finished at 49-0 1/2. Records dating back to 2006 on the Colorado High School Activities Association’s website show no one reaching 49 feet or further in the triple jump. The state record of 51-0 1/4 was set by Harrison’s Victor White in 1973.
Rigsby led after he went 47-10 1/4 on his second jump, but Hogan went 49-7 3/4 on his third attempt. Rigsby responded his final mark, and Hogan capped the performances with his final leap.
“When he went 49-7, the only think I was thinking of was how I needed to at least go 48 so I could have a good showing against him,” Rigsby said. “When 49 came up, I just said to myself, ‘OK. I’ll take that.’ “
Rigsby has shown phenomenal improvement throughout the season, which started with a 44-5 at a meet in Rifle on March 17. He now has Fruita school records in both the triple jump and long jump. He will compete in the state long jump today.
Rigsby wasn’t the only jumper who fared well. The 22-4 1/2 in the Class 4A long jump wasn’t a personal best for Palisade’s Zaccre Kenward, but it netted him a third-place finish. The senior also finished sixth in the 200 meters in a personal-best 22.10 seconds in a race where one-one hundredths of a second separated third through sixth place.
“This gives me a lot of confidence headed into (today),” said Kenward, who will run in the 100 and compete in the triple jump, where he comes in with the best 4A mark.
One runner not lacking confidence, and for good reason, is Montrose senior Ian Meek. Despite not posting some of his best times in the 3,200 meters throughout the season, Meek blew away the field and repeated as 4A state champion with a winning time of 9:23.05.
The win provided a measure of revenge since the second-place finisher, Air Academy’s Ethan Powell, out-kicked Meek to the finish line to win the 4A state cross country title this past fall.
This time, Meek didn’t let Powell get that close. He started to pull away at the beginning of the final lap and finished with another victory in the event he was unbeaten in during his junior and senior years.
The quirky Meek, who will be headed to the University of Colorado in the fall, had an interesting reflection on the race.
“He has this weird smell to him,” Meek said of Powell. “I remembered that from cross country. And when I smelled that again, I was like, ‘Whoa!’ It completely brought me back into focus for what I needed to do today.”
Grand Junction’s Tia Wright had podium finishes in both the triple jump and high jump. The senior managed a seventh-place finish in the 5A triple jump with a mark of 35-6 1/2, and her mark of 5-2 in the high jump left her in a three-way tie for fourth place. Her teammate, Megan King, also went 5-2 but, because she didn’t hit the mark until her third attempt, finished 11th.
The Montrose boys 3,200 relay team of Justin Hawkins, Evan Graff, Landon Ruiz-Diaz and Meek won the state title in 7:58.93. The Indians’ girls 4A sprint medley relay took sixth in 1:49.89, and the 800 relay took fourth in 1:45.17.
Montrose senior Sam Distel had a throw of 161-2 in the discus, a season-best mark that led to a third-place finish. He’ll compete in the 4A shot put that begins at 10 a.m. today, then hop in a car to drive across the state to make it to his graduation ceremony in Montrose as soon as possible after the podium ceremony.
“To me, competing here is more important than graduation,” he said.