LAKEWOOD — Only two months after the De Beque High School boys basketball team won the state title, the De Beque girls decided they wanted to get in on the banner raising and celebrating.
The Dragons captured the first girls track and field team state title in the school's history at Jeffco Stadium on Saturday, running away with the Class 1A crown with 108 points — 35 more than second place Heritage Christian.
"They've worked so hard — and it hasn't just been this year, it's been for many years," De Beque coach Mike Kirschner said. "I'm just so proud of them to get to this point and shine the way they did. We planned it out so that they would have fresh legs when they got here and be able to open it up and set some state records."
Faith Novess was the one rewriting the record books. The senior had an incredible state meet, winning the 100-meter hurdles in 15.48 seconds, the 300 hurdles in a 1A record time of 45.00 seconds and also setting a state meet record in the high jump at 5 feet, 7 inches.
"The boys just won state basketball, so we decided now it was our turn," said Novess, who will attend the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs in the fall. "This means a lot to us to be able to bring another team title home. It's great to be able to represent and make the community proud. We're a super tight community — from the post office to the little country store — everybody knows everybody, and we're very close."
Novess also finished second in the long jump, which amounted to 38 points she contributed to the team effort. She leaves quite a legacy at De Beque, winning seven individual state titles in her career. Although she won two championships in each of her sophomore and junior seasons, Novess didn't feel any pressure entering her final state meet.
"Coming into this year, I was thinking it would be cool to win four and get 40 points," she said. "But anything can happen, so I'm just happy that I was able to come to state again and contribute."
Novess' fellow senior and future teammate at UCCS next year, Jentry Largent, also finished her impressive high school career in style.
Largent won the 100-meter dash in 12.77 seconds, won the 400-meter dash in 1:00.99, anchored the 4x200 relay to a state title and also placed second in the 200-meter dash.
She and Novess will surely do some damage together at the collegiate level down the road.
"It's amazing to win this team title with Faith and then go off and be teammates at UCCS," Largent said. "We're going to be roommates next year, and we have a sisterly bond, which can be good and bad. We know each other so well."
Speaking of sisterly bonds, Largent found herself in a quite interesting position as she ran for the 100-meter title. In the lane next to her was her freshman sister, Railey.
"This morning we literally didn't make eye contact or talk to each other," Jentry said with a laugh. "She didn't talk to me until after the race and was still standoffish during the 400 a few hours later. I had to win the 100 or I never would've heard the end of it from her.
"She's had a great season and having her there to push me has made a difference."
Although Railey finished second to her sister in the 100-meter finals, she still had a banner weekend at her first state meet. She was part of the 4x200 and 800 sprint medley relay teams, both of which won state titles, and was also fourth in the 200.
"I was a little distraught when I didn't win the 100, but it was the best thing for both of us," Railey said. "I have a lot of room to grow and have three years to win at state, so this is the way it was meant to be.
"It was such a cool experience to win the 4x200 relay with my sister, because it's something we only had one chance at and never will again. We were winning by such a large gap and when I handed the baton to Jentry I knew it was over."
Railey may have passed the baton to Jentry during the anchor leg of the 4x200 relay, but now Jentry, Novess and the two other seniors — Cecilia Landeros and Nataly Castro — pass the program on to Railey.
"For the four seniors, watching this program build to where it should be has been heartwarming," Jentry said. "It's hard to comprehend that we're the first girls track team in school history to win state."
"I've looked up to my sister and these seniors, so I'm hoping I'll be able to do the same for the girls who come after me in the next few years," Railey added.
For Kirschner, his 11th season as head coach will be his last, as he moves back home to Michigan.
"I'm like the Peyton Manning of track: win the title and I'm out," he said. "It's been an honor to coach these kids, and they made me look good every day."