Third time’s a charm: Paonia boys win 3rd straight regional track title
Alex Flynn was standing along the fence Friday at Stocker Stadium, watching the action on the track. All of a sudden, he was told to grab his spikes and fill in for an injured teammate.
The Paonia High School junior ran in place of Adrian Penny in the 800-meter relay on a moment’s notice and filled in admirably.
The Eagles won the race in 1 minute, 33.48 seconds to help the boys team win their third consecutive Class 2A regional track & field title.
“Penny got hurt in the 100 (dash) and pulled something in his hamstring,” Flynn said. “I was standing (there) and my coach told me to get my spikes. I came out here and did the best I could with the handoffs.
“I was scared to death.”
Paonia won the boys team title with 109 points. The Eagles won three relay events and took second in four individual events.
The Paonia girls also won the regional team title, but it came down to the final race of the day. The Eagles scored 117.5 points. Dolores had 117.
“It came down to the 4x4 for the girls,” Paonia girls coach Brian Mitchem said. “It’s three times in a row for the boys and twice in a row for the girls. Since this is the last regional meet for the 2A, it’s really nice to have for us.”
Class 2A and 3A will go to the top 18 times and distances for state qualifying next year, like Class 5A and 4A are doing this year.
Johanna Reed led the Paonia girls with three individual regional titles (800, 1,600 and the 3,200).
“I’m feeling really good,” Johanna said. “I’m really excited. My goal was 2:15, 2:16 and I was able to do it.”
Her younger sister, Chelsy Reed, took second in the 800.
“I had a goal and had to concentrate on that goal to get over the nerves,” Chelsy Reed said.
That goal? To finish second behind her sister.
“When I turned around, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh,’ ” Johanna Reed said. “I’m really happy for her.”
Jordyn Rienks won the shot put title with a personal record throw of 35 feet, 111⁄4 inches.
“I’ve been looking forward to hitting that 36 for pre-qual. I was three-quarters of an inch off,” Rienks said. “It’s a little disappointing, but you can’t ask for anything more. You can only ask to PR each meet. I’ve been getting better the last three meets and trying to get there.”
Dove Creek’s Sonja Strong took second (33-10 1⁄4) and Norwood’s Mollie Lane placed third (33-0).
Ben Brewer won two individual events and was on the first-place 800 relay team to lead Cedaredge to the boys regional team title.
“I felt good the whole way,” Brewer said. “I didn’t run my fastest, but I don’t want to hurt myself for state.”
Cedaredge took first with 134 points. It was the sixth consecutive year Cedaredge placed first or second.
Middle Park won the girls team title with 158 points. Cedaredge was second with 129 and Gunnison was third with 108.
“We were riding the seniors, but one of our top point-getters was our freshman, Dante Mark-ley,” Cedaredge coach Kirby Henderson said. “On the girls side, once again, our seniors led the way. It was tough. We had several regional champions. Rachelle (Litsheim) won the 100, which is great with Sierra (Williams) out. In 2006, Rachelle’s sister, Stephanie, was the regional champion in the 100.”
Shelby Crosby won the discus throw for the second consecutive season with a personal best throw of 111 feet, 1 inch.
“I was more nervous because I wanted to keep my title,” Crosby said. “I didn’t want to give it up my senior year. I wanted to go out with a bang.”
The Bruins also won the 1,600 and 3,200 relays.