Cedaredge's Kenzie Henderson adds to family's legacy
LAKEWOOD — Her dad holds school records in both hurdles events and the 200-meter dash at Hotchkiss High School. Her grandfather was a state champion hurdler at Roaring Fork back in the 1960s.
Kenzie Henderson has no shortage of role models as far as her burgeoning track and field career is concerned.
The Cedaredge freshman began work on her own legacy Thursday at the Class 3A State Track and Field Championships, finishing fourth in the high jump.
“Yeah, track is in my blood,” said Henderson, who cleared 5 feet in her first state meet as a competitor.
She’s no stranger to the state meet. Her dad is Kirby Henderson, Cedaredge’s head track and field coach. So, she’s been to Jefferson County Stadium and experienced the grandeur of the state meet more than a few times.
“I’m so proud of her,” the Bruins’ longtime frontman said with a smile. “A lot of times, those youngsters crack under the pressure, but she’s been to every state meet since she was 4.”
And Henderson the coach thinks that helped ease his daughter’s nerves during her first trip to state in a Cedaredge Bruins uniform.
“I think the mental imagery, knowing where the high jump pads are, knowing what the stands are like, and knowing just the whole atmosphere (helped),” he said. “You can’t feel what it’s like to be a competitor, but she’s seen it, and it helps when you’re mentally prepared. I think that helped her.”
Kenzie will put that mental preparation to use the rest of the weekend. She’s juggling multiple events, mixing in the 800 medley relay and the 1,600 relay with the high jump.
It made for a hectic Thursday afternoon in which she cleared the opening height in the high jump and then left to run in the medley preliminaries before returning to jump some more.
The Bruins’ medley team did not qualify for the finals.
Henderson will run the 300 hurdles preliminaries today — another chance to make her dad and grandpa, Don, proud.
Cedaredge girls 5th in 3,200 relay
The best part of being a member of Cedaredge’s track and field team?
“The track team dinners are the best part of the year,” junior Jessica Sullivan said, laughing.
That’s because the Bruins are a tight-knit bunch that relishes collective success.
“With track, everyone wants everyone to do good,” senior Ashley Diaz said. “And if you’re beating me, I’m really happy because you’re pushing me to succeed, and you’re winning. There’s no way for us to be down on that.”
Diaz and Sullivan ran legs of a successful 3,200-meter relay Thursday, teaming up with freshmen Kendall McHugh and Nellie Freeman to place fifth in 10 minutes, 2.26 seconds.
■ Elsewhere in 3A action, Cedaredge’s Austin Williams took eighth in the boys discus (138-4), and Grand Valley’s Benjamin Coleman finished eighth in the boys triple jump (40-11.75).
Jackson leads Tigers
In Class 5A, Grand Junction’s Whitney Jackson scored Grand Junction’s top Thursday finish by placing 10th in the girls long jump (16-9.5). Jackson will compete in the triple jump Saturday.
Elsewhere for the Tigers, Deshaun Harris threw 138-5 to place 14th in the discus. Greg Eccher was 15th in the 3,200 (10:12.06), and Robert Harrison was 15th in the long jump (19-11.5).
Thrower Eyes CMU hoops
Glenwood Springs senior Kenzie Nelson-Buehler showed off her skill in the shot put by throwing 39-3 to take seventh in Class 4A, but she hopes to make an impact as a basketball player at Colorado Mesa University next school year.
The multisport star for the Demons said she will be trying out for the Mavericks in June, hoping to become the latest Glenwood star to contribute as a member of the CMU women’s basketball team.
“They’re so good,” Nelson-Buehler said of the Mavericks, who went 31-2 and made Division II’s Elite Eight with Glenwood grads Katrina and Sharaya Selsor on the roster. “It would be so cool to travel with a team like that.”
Nelson-Buehler, who is listed as a 5-foot-9 guard/forward on the Demons’ roster, averaged 13.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game in 2012-13.
Enriquez fourth in shot PUT
Plateau Valley’s Fernando Enriquez scored a high finish in the Class 1A shot put, placing fourth with a toss of 42-11.5.
The senior will compete in the discus today.