Throwers have high hopes for state meet
In the 44 years he’s officiated local shot put and discus events, George Ryan can’t recall ever seeing a single throw land.
Of course, that’s because his job is to keep his head down and watch for a possible scratch. Yet he’s seen plenty of top-flight throws — the spin or glide portion, at least — and this season has witnessed some of the best throwers the Western Slope has produced.
With the state track and field meet Thursday through Saturday at Jefferson County Stadium, a several Western Slope throwers have championship hopes, starting with Grand Junction’s CJ Deters, whose top throw of 55-7.5 is second in Class 5A.
“This year we have good throwers,” Ryan said. “They’re right up there with the rest of them.”
Ryan has seen plenty of other big-time throwers come through the area, including Grand Junction’s Jim Dusa, who in 1967 threw 55 feet, 11.75 inches for a third-place state finish.
The throw is a school record.
Deters, for one, is looking to break the record.
“I’ve got to break it,” Deters said. “It helps that this year in the Western Slope there’s a lot more competition than in years past.”
Teammate Deshaun Harris has the No. 6 throw in the state at 50-10.
In discus, a slew of Grand Valley competitors are ready to bust the JeffCo pits.
In the Class 5A boys division, there’s No. 8 Harris (153-11), No. 13 Deters (151-3), and at Fruita Monument, No. 14 Tyler Church (153-1) and No. 15 Jaden Koos (150-3).
In Class 4A, Palisade’s Tanner Smith is No. 6 with a throw of 158-7.
In the girls shot put, Central’s Brailyn Reddick is No. 12 in 5A (136-5) and Delta’s Bryanna Music is 36-0.75.
Savannah Hanson of Palisade is No. 12 (117-0) in the 4A discus and Music is No. 15 (114-1).
They’ll all be looking for the perfect throw.
And Ryan, 79, knows what that looks like.
“In discus, you can tell by how they finish,” Ryan said. “In fact, you can tell when he starts his spin. You can actually tell he’s going to have a good throw, and then he just gets it up in the air like a flying saucer.”
But it’s not only the throwers trying to stand at the podium’s highest step.
Fruita Monument’s James Lewis is No. 2 in the long jump with a leap of 22-9 in late March at the Mickey Dunn Invitational, the first local meet of the season.
The past two seasons, Lewis missed qualifying for state by a quarter-inch.
“It was good to get that out of the way early,” Lewis said. “That set the standard.”
Delta’s Ethan Baier has qualified in three events for the Class 4A meet — the long jump, triple jump and high jump.
He has the fourth-best triple jump of the season at 45-0.5.
For the Delta girls, identical twins Cleo and Clarissa Whiting are seeded No. 6 and 7, respectively, in the 3,200 run. They also qualified in the 1,600 run and are members of the Panthers’ qualifying 3,200 relay.
Grand Junction senior Jamie Derrieux has qualified in the 100 and 300 hurdles. She is seeded No. 11 in the 100 hurdles with a top time of 15.72 seconds.