Durango High School senior long-distance runner Aidan Fitzgerald had to make a sacrifice when deciding his final four events to compete in, after he had qualified for six events at the Colorado High School Activities Association’s Class 4A state meet, which begins on Thursday at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.
Fitzgerald, who is committed to running at the University of Portland, one of the most storied collegiate running programs in the country, decided to scratch the 3,200-meter run and the 400, but the 3,200 was unique: He had the top time in Class 4A and scratched.
“The 4x800 relay is something that the boys and I have been striving for forever,” Fitzgerald said. “We have a clear shot to win the state championship, and we’ve had our mind set on it since the start of the season. Marcus Flint and Noah Bodewes also scratched the 3,200, so we’re all in on the 4x8. It’ll all be worth it in the end if we all come out on top.”
The Demons had 16 qualifiers for the state meet, which includes two boys relay teams and three for the girls, and three athletes who will be both running and competing in field events.
DHS has been well-known for its long-distance events, and this season is no different. In the boys 1,600, four Demons qualified, including Fitzgerald, who is seeded third, Luke Tichi in fourth, Noah Bodewes at No, 17 and Marcus Flint at 18. On the girls side, Madeleine Burns is the top-seeded runner in the 3,200 after she ran a 10 minute, 50.78 second time earlier this season, and the girls 4x800 relay team of Burns, Emma Fitzgerald, Angela McManus and Bekah Moenning are the top seed in the 4x800 relay team, as well.
“For Aidan Fitzgerald to scratch the 3,200 in which he’s the No. 1 runner in the state in, it’s the ultimate act of selflessness,” DHS head coach Johnny Bertrand said. “Then, on the girls side, we have a lot of athletes that are really up there looking for a great finish. Bekah Moenning has the school record in the 400 and I think she wants to go after the school record in the 800. The girls 4x200 is off the school record by a fraction of a second, and everyone has been running really strong and we’re looking forward to seeing how everything plays out.”
Alex Hise qualified for four events, including the 100-meter dash, 200, 4x400 relay and the long jump, where he has the second-best long jump in 4A at 22 feet, 9 inches. Cassandra Blau is another sprinter to watch out for, as she ran the 100-meter dash in 12.73 seconds and is seeded second. Senior Alyssa McConnell has the fifth-best mark in the high jump at 5-04, and believes that her final appearance at the state meet could be special.
“I feel really good and have tapered off, so I’m not really doing any major workouts and am focused for state,” McConnell said. “I’m just really ready to put that final ‘wow’ in for colleges and see where it goes.”
Bayfield High SchoolBayfield High School will look to have another strong performance at the state meet, as the boys team is the reigning Class 3A state champion, while Colorado State University commit Jordan Lanning is looking to end her senior year in style.
Lanning is competing in four events, the 100-meter hurdles, 300-hurdles, high and long jumps. Last year, she set the Class 3A state meet record in the high jump after she won with a 5-07.75. This year, she is also the top-seeded jumper and heads into the meet with a 5-09, which is six inches better than the No. 2 seed. She is seeded in fifth in the 100-hurdles (14.77) and the 300-hurdles (45.04). Fellow senior Mikayla Barnes was seeded fourth in the shot put (37-00) and fifth in the discus throw (110-02). The final qualifier on the girls side was Hannah Whitmer, who will be looking to raise the bar in the pole vault, as she enters in as the No. 7 seed (8-06).
On the boys side, David Hawkins is the favorite in the shot put (56-05) after he took second in the event last season. Fellow thrower Josh Kaufmann has the No. 4 seed in the discus (146-04). Crosby Edwards qualified for the high jump (6-00) and Dawson French is in contention for the pole vault crown (13-00).
Ignacio High SchoolThe Ignacio High School track and field team also has a number of runners who are in contention for a podium spot in the Class 2A state meet.
The Bobcats are led by junior long-distance runners Jonas Nanaeto, who qualified for three events, while Elco Garcia qualified for two. Nanaeto is one of the favorites in the 800 (2:02.54) and is seeded fourth, is seventh in the 1,600 (4:42.61) and is sixth in the 3,200 (10:19.10). His partner in crime, Garcia, holds the No. 2 seed in the 3,200 (10:00.16) and sits one spot above Nanaeto in the 3,200 at No. 6 (4:42.48).
IHS also had two girls qualify, as Lexy Young is the top sprinter in the second heat of the 100-meter dash, as her personal best this season was 13.59 seconds. Charlize Valdez qualified as a long-distance runner in the 3,200. She is the No. 16 seed and her personal best is 12:50.80.
The state meet begins Thursday at 8 a.m. at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.
bploen@ durangoherald.comBayfield qualifiersMikayla Barnes – Shot put, discus throw; Jordan Lanning – 100-meter hurdles, 300-hurdles, long jump, high jump; Hannah Whitmer – Pole vault; Crosby Edwards – High jump; Dawson French – Pole vault; David Hawkins – Shot put; Josh Kaufmann – Discus throw.
Durango qualifiersNoah Bodewes - 1600, 4x800; Alex Hise - 100, 200, 4x400 relay, Long jump; Aidan Fitzgerald - 800, 1600, 4x400, 4x800; Marcus Flint - 800, 1600, 4x400, 4x800; Paul Knight - 3200; Luke Tichi - 800, 1600, 4x00; Maxton Warman - 400, 4x400 relay; Relays: Boys 4x400 (Warman, Fitzgerald, Flint and Hise); Boys 4x800 (Fitzgerald, Flint, Bodewes and Tichi).
Cassandra Blau - 100, 200, 4x200, 4x400; Madeleine Burns 1600, 3200, 4x800; Emma Fitzgerald - 400, 4x200, 4x400, 4x800; Danielle Lee - Pole vault; Alyssa McConnell - High jump; Angela McManus - 4x800; Bekah Moenning - 800, 4x200, 4x400, 4x800; Halle Moore - 4x400; Anna Pylar - 300 hurdles, 4x200;
Relays: Girls 4x200 (Blau, Fitzgerald, Moenning and Pylar); Girls 4x400 (Blau, Fitzgerald, Moenning and Moore); Girls 4x800 (Burns, Fitzgerald, McManus and Moenning). Alternates: Anna Smagacz and Breanna Wolf.
Ignacio qualifiersElco Garcia – 1,600-meters, 3,200; Jonas Nanaeto – 800-meters, 1,600, 3,200; Lexy Young – 100-meter dash; Charlize Valdez – 3,200-meters.