Pueblo Challenge 4/20/2001 & 4/21/2001
It was a long and often glorious track meet that went from 3 to 7 Friday and 9 to 6 Saturday. When it was over there were a few disappointments, but a lot more impressive achievements by the County kids.
The meet was divided into two divisions, restricted, 4A and 5A schools plus La Junta, and unrestricted, 2A and 3A schools plus South’s JVs. Friday was mostly prelims in the shorter races, both hurdles and the 100 through 400 dashes. Races of 800 meters and up and field events were scattered throughout the two days with relays and short race finals all on Saturday.
The main disappointment on Friday was that Jeremy Behling was disqualified in the 300 hurdles prelims, presumably for a trail leg violation. Otherwise everyone we expected to advance to the finals did so in good order. Our first running final was the 1600. Joette Ucar got a PR 6:01.5 and Tiffany a 7:08.0. Kyle Reno got a very satisfying PR 4:58.74 to finish sixth. Brad Winn ran 5:14.5. Shawn Borton of South won the race in 4:35 with Aaron Lopez third in 4:43. In the unrestricted 3200 Crystal Berndt got fourth in 13:14.88 and Jessica Lowe seventh in a PR 13:22.33 for Rye.
The last event of the day was the 800. Amanda Stupnik ran a huge PR 2:53.4 in the first heat. Her previous best was 3:08. Amy Starkweather took third in a sensational duel won by Centennial’s Jenna Bimbi in 2:17.72. South’s Sydney Mondragon was second in 2:18.62. Amy’s 2:30.72 was a PR. The boys 800 was wonderfully triumphant. In the first heat Mark Montelongo went out in a fast for him 61 first lap but got passed and was probably twenty meters down going into the last turn, He started a strong kick which carried him to a PR, heat victory, and seventh overall in 2:06.99. The final looked to be the race of the day and it lived up to expectations. Chad Stapleton started out strongly and was in fourth behind two Chaparral runners and Nick Lara of Alamosa coming off the second term. He passed the first lap in 57 in third place and just after the third turn moved into second behind Lara. Chad followed Lara closely and won the sprint down the backstretch to break Gerald Ure’s 26 year old school record with a 1:58:03 to Lara’s 1:58.32. Chad’s time qualified him for state, as did Lara’s. It was a wonderful way to end the first day.
On Saturday morning we had the 4×800 relay. Joette led off with a PR 2:32.3. Janae Hannafious ran a PR 2:29.8 second leg that put us in the lead. Amy Starkweather ran 2:34.7 to hold it but Bimbi and Mondragon were waiting for their turns. Karissa Turner, scared to death, took the baton and ran a too fast first 400 and struggled home fourth in 2:59.1. The team time was 10:35.9. The boys race was thriller to the wire. Josh Bunn led off with a PR 2:08.3 that had us about fourth. Adam Arellano ran a 55 first lap to catch everybody and held on for a PR 1:58.3. Mark Montelongo ran another PR 2:05.1 but was caught by Chaparral. We got out of the exchange zone with a slight lead and Chad held that lead till after the third turn then tucked in. Chad tried to outkick the Chaparral runner but took second, 8:09.52 to 8:09.71. That time too was a school record. I told Coach Radiff that it had taken us 26 years to get a runner to break two minutes again and then we had it happen twice in one relay. That wasn’t quite true. Chad ran a 1:58 split at state last year, but, except for the disappointment of taking second, there was a lot to be glad about. The team qualified for state in one of the best times posted so far in 4A.
The restricted 3200 was supposed to be in the morning but finally was run at the warmest time of the day. Kyle took sixth again in another PR, this one 11:04.46. Brad ran his goal time. 11:30.60. Aaron Lopez was second in 10:11. The girls race was later in the afternoon. Tiffany ran a 15:14.
The next big relay for us was the boys 4×200. Central has a strong team and we hoped to qualify the team for state. Josh Bunn led with a 24.0. Jeremy Behling ran us into second with a 21.5 split and John Thomason’s early surge put us in the led for good. John’s split was 21.8. Adam Arellano cruised in in 22.7 for still another school record 1:29.72, one of the last automatic times recorded by the timing system for us. After a series of delays due in part to timing system problems, we got to the 400 meter final. Janae with the slowest qualifying time and running in lane eight finished fifth with a PR 64.73. In the boys race Daric Wilhite won strongly from lane six in 48.7. John Thomason ran second in 49.7, and Adam was third in 50.0, Giordano from Central who had qualified for state at the City meet along with the above three took a close fourth in 50.4. Spectators got to watch four of the states’s best in another local showdown.
By the 200 the use of timing system was abandoned but we didn’t know it. The race was a burner ending with, to us, a slight but clear victory for Thomason over Wilhite. When the announcement of results came, much later, we were shocked to hear that a tie had been declared with a 22.1 hand time which can’t be used for state qualification.
The boys 4×400 relay was another triumph. Jeremy led off with a 51.4 which probably had us in the lead but it was hard to tell because of the three turn stagger. Chad had a PR 50.9 second leg that left everyone else behind. John ran 50.3 and Adam’s 50.7 gave us at least an eight second victory. The hand time 3:23.2 was a school record and another of the state’s fastest.