LAKEWOOD — Jeffco Stadium is where it all began for Sarah Yocum, at least in the realm of track and field.
The sensational Faith Christian sprinter and hurdler will have fond memories of a stadium that has become hallowed ground for Colorado track.
“I actually ran my first high school race ever here,” the Baylor University recruit said. “I ran the 100-meter hurdles. I was playing soccer at the time too and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I came out and I finished my first race and my coach said, ‘Congratulations, you just qualified for state.’ One of my teammates was like, ‘You just set the school record!’”
What followed for Yocum was eight state championships in 3A — four in a row in the 300 hurdles, three in the 100 hurdles and one in the 400-meter dash — in what added up to be one of the greatest careers in Colorado history.
On Sunday, the final day of the 2017 state track meet, she simply was putting the finishing touches on that career with titles No. 7 and No. 8 in the 100 hurdles (14.36) and 400 (56.92). She also claimed the 300 hurdle crown on Saturday in a time of 43.95 seconds.
“This was my last race of high school, so obviously I wanted to finish it with a title,” she said of the 400. “I had never earned a title outside of the hurdles. I just want to enjoy this. I am really thankful for the girls I got to do it with.”
Yocum was the runner-up in the 200-meter dash as well, finishing in 25.26 seconds. She capped off an illustrious four years with 16 individual state medals, four every year in the 200, 400, 100 hurdles, and 300 hurdles. Junior teammate Payton Walter (15.27) finished second in the 100 hurdles.
Yocum has a way of standing out, but at a meet with all five classifications competing on the same days at the same venue, Yocum’s victories weren’t the only highlights on Sunday.
Isaac Green and his fellow Monarch Coyotes performed historically well in the distance events again. A day after Green, Charlie Perry and Zach Litoff swept the top three places in the 5A 3,200, with Green and Litoff teaming with William Dixon and Sean Gazarik to win the 3,200 relay for the second straight year, Green (4:21.98), Perry (4:22.44) and Litoff (4:22.70) swept the top places in the 1,600 in the same order.
Oh, and Cayce Reese also medaled for Monarch, placing eighth in 4:25.31.
In a dramatic 800 final, Denver East’s Hayelom Fitsum appeared poised to claim the crown with a lead throughout. But, a stumble and fall a few strides from the finish line allowed Green to sweep the distance events with a winning time of 1:52.92. Fitsum got up for sixth place in 1:56.43. Litoff placed fifth.
Monarch made a serious run at their first team title in boys track and field after winning 5A cross country in the fall as Monarch junior Cole Rowan (16-00) and sophomore Max Manson (15-01) finished first and second in pole vault. Nico Heineke also placed 4th in discus. The Coyotes tallied 101 points, but came up just short in the final standings to Fountain-Fort Carson (106).
Fountain rode their usual firepower in sprints and jumps — Donovan Williams first in 100 and 200, Jequan Hogan first in triple jump and high jump, third in long jump and fifth in 110 hurdles, Jalen Lyon second in 400 and fourth in 200, Jason Farrell third in 300 hurdles — to their 18th state championship in boys track and field.
The Trojans won the title in dramatic fashion, clinching on the final event of the meet, with a second-place finish in the 4x400-meter relay.
They are now tied with Denver East for the second-most titles in boys track and field of any school in Colorado history, only trailing Fort Collins (20). The Trojans also won the 400-meter relay and placed second in the 800 relay. They were eighth in the 3,200 relay and Iosua Maika was fifth in the shot put. Fountain-Fort Carson has conquered 5A three of the past four years as a result.
Vista Ridge, a school that opened its doors in 2008, won their second state championship in boys track and field by claiming 4A. They also won in 2013. The Wolves were too tough to match this season as a group with relays that were fantastic, finishing first in the 400 relay (42.16), the 800 relay (1:29.14) and the 1,600 relay (3:19.92). They also scored a bundle of points in the field events.
The Lady Wolves of Vista Ridge also had a strong showing, winning the 800-meter sprint medley relay in 1:48.39 on Saturday. Alexis Dubiel was the discus champion as well.
Other highlights included:
- Grandview won a girls track title for the first time with 120 points. The team crown never seemed in doubt after such a strong first day of competition. The Wolves won the 800 relay (1:41.12), the sprint medley relay (1:46.57) and the 1,600 relay (3:55). Freshman Lily Williams was runner-up in the 400, Kylee Harr won high jump (5-8), basketball star Michaela Onyenwere was 2nd in 100 and 3rd in 200, Brie Oakley shattered the Colorado record in the 3,200 (10:09), and the Wolves corralled plenty of other points in multiple events.
- Rocky Mountain junior Gabriella McDonald swept the throws with marks of 42-3 in shot put and 154-3 in discus (new 5A state meet record).
- Fort Collins senior Audra Koopman (Penn State recruit) defended her long jump crown by going 19 feet, one half inch.
- Fellow Fort Collins senior Lauren Gregory (University of Arkansas) won a 5A double in the 800 (2:10.94) and 1,600 (4:50.77), overtaking Grandview standout Brie Oakley (4:51.01) by a slim margin in a fantastic race. Gregory finished her illustrious career with one title in the 800, one in the 1,600, two in the 3,200, and three in cross country.
- Highlands Ranch (3:23.13) finished first in an entertaining 1,600 relay.
- Rock Canyon junior Emily Sloan (13.58) blew away the field in the 100 hurdles while defending her championship from last year.
- Rampart senior Xavier Bishop-falu (14.25) claimed the 110 hurdles crown.
- For the second consecutive season, Denver East's Arria Minor won the 100 (11.53), the 200 (23.57) and the 400 (53.30). She is already one of the premier sprinters in state history.
- Hinkley senior Darrien Wells (47.62) won back-to-back titles in the 400. He was also runner-up in 100 and 200.
- Fruita Monument senior Gunner Rigsby (22-10.50) claimed long jump.
- Monarch freshman Mia Manson (12-6) won the pole vault. She has been the top freshman in America this spring in the event.
- Cherokee Trail girls (Jaiden Paris, Taylor Watson, Chian Deloach, Sydnee Larkin) won the 400 relay in 47.48. Larkin (36-10.50) won back-to-back state titles in triple jump as well, holding off Loveland's Tatum Rembao (36-8.25), a Creighton University basketball recruit.
- Air Academy won their first-ever state championship in 4A girls track. Senior Maria Mettler conquered the 800 and 3,200, while also finishing as the runner-up to Mountain View’s Lauren Offerman in the 1,600. Junior Olivia Whitaker won the 100 and was second in the 200.
- Air Academy senior Nik Chapee also won the 200 (21.65) and 400 (47.90). Harrison freshman Tyrese Van Horne (47.95) was runner-up in the 400 in a time that ranks second out of all freshmen in America at the moment.
- Niwot’s Alexis Carroll (long jump and triple jump champion) and Mary Gillett (200 and 400 champion, second in 100 and long jump) were fantastic for the Cougars, helping Niwot finish second as a team in 4A.
- Valor Christian sophomore Anna Hall was the hurdle queen, topping all competitors in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles. She is a budding phenom nationally as a heptathlete, also finishing second in high jump (5-6). Valor’s Chase McLean won pole vault as well.
- Silver Creek junior Rylee Anderson is three-for-three in high jump crowns as she cleared 5 feet, 8 inches.
- Palisade senior Zaccre Kenward (48-9.50) dominated the triple jump.
- Palmer Ridge’s Jeremy Meadows (4:15) ran away in the 1,600, while Silver Creek’s James Lee (1:54) did the same in the 800. Lee’s teammate, Brock Knechtel, tossed further than anyone in the discus throw (176-4).
- Canon City senior Aaron McCoy (10.66) won the 100, while Thompson Valley’s Charlie Brunner (14.74) won the 110 hurdles.
- Montrose senior Ian Meek was first in the 3,200 (9:23), second in the 1,600 (4:18), and ran on a winning 3,200 relay (7:58).
- Pueblo South’s Jeremy Cody (6-9) was wildly impressive in winning high jump. Pueblo West’s Frank Nash the same in long jump (23-6.25).
- The Classical Academy kept a proud tradition in track going, easily winning 3A girls with 101.5 points. Junior Erika Willis shattered the 3A state meet record, previously held by sister Andrea, in the pole vault with a mark of 12 feet, 5 inches. The record was 11-6 from 2014. Freshman sister Kristina Willis placed fifth and TCA won the 1,600 relay in 4:00.97. The Titans topped 4A last season and now have 10 state championships in girls track, only one less than Mullen with a state record 11.
- Lutheran junior Maya Evans, one of the top long jumpers in the nation with a personal best of 20 feet, 10 inches, didn’t disappoint with 3A titles in the long jump, 100, 200, and 400 relay (48.95, 3A state meet record). Madi Bottin, Riley Darnell and Nyah Streib also ran on that relay. Evans is now a five-time state champion in individual events.
- Lutheran boys also fared well, keeping a four-year team title streak alive with a dominant 104-point tally. They also won 3A in 2016 and 2015 and 2A in 2014. Adam Dawson (203-1 in discus) and Jacob Dack (51-6.50 in shot put) were individual champions for Lutheran. Several relays finished runner-up.
- Sterling’s Austin Chavez (6-5, also fourth place in pole vault) and Jayson Frank (6-3) finished first and second in the 3A high jump as teammates Victor Zimmerman (second), Brady Krier (third) placed high in pole vault as well. Kylie Chavez was the triple jump champion (36-11.50).
- Aspen senior Sunday Abarca broke his own 3A state meet record in the 400 with a time of 48.12, bettering his 48.54. He also won the 200 in 21.39 and was second (10.80) to Sierra’s Dante Thomas (10.71) in the 100.
- Eaton senior Tarynn Sieg, a Colorado State recruit, not only broke her own 3A state meet record in shot put (45-5.50) but also won discus (143-4, nearly a record).
- Peak to Peak broke the 3A state record in the 3,200 relay (9:12.44) with sophomores Tiana Bradfield, Quinn McConnell and Anna Shults, along with senior Rachael Metzler. Shults also finished first in the 3,200 (11:15) and the 1,600 (5:00.71). McConnell was second in the 800 and 1,600 and Bradfield was fourth in the 800 and third in the 1,600. Metzler finished sixth in the 1,600 as well.
- Salida senior Taryn Ceglowski set a new standard in 3A in the 800 with a time of 2:09.19, bettering the previous record of 2:11.24 by Emily LaValley of The Classical Academy in 2010.
- Tanner Norman of TCA won the 1,600 (4:16.85) and 3,200 (9:14, 3A state meet record). He signed with Iowa State University. Norman's brother Mason, a freshman, placed fifth in the 3,200 in 9:45.
- Faith Christian freshman Cole Sprout was the runner-up in the 1,600 (4:22) and 3,200 (9:28). He was also second at the 3A state cross country meet in the fall.
- Paonia girls (110 points) joined The Classical Academy (3A champs from 2006-2010) and Mullen (4A champs from 1997-2003) as the only girls track and field programs in state history to win five championships in a row. Brianna Van Vleet defended her long jump crown successfully and Sophia Anderson and Mckenna Palmer finished first and second in triple jump. Anderson and Emily Pieper finished first and second in the 200.
- Cedaredge boys (97 points) went back-to-back as a team, planting the seeds of a potential dynasty of their own. They ran away from everyone in the 800 and 3,200 relays and boasted depth that no team could counter.
- Telluride junior Soleil Gaylord claimed the 1,600 (5:16) and 3,200 (11:25) crowns in back-to-back years. Sophomore teammate Maya Ordonez was runner-up in the 1,600. Gaylord was also second in the 800. Gaylord and Ordonez helped lead the 3,200 relay to a title as well.
- Hayden freshman Hannah Wilkie (2:18.58) won the 800.
- Burlington senior Ellie Berry swept the throws, winning shot put (40-11.75) and discus (133-5).
- Shane Finegan won the 200 (22.53) and 400 (50.17) for Wiggins, and anchored the winning 1,600 relay in 3:30.44 with Tyler Hein, Teggan Freauff and Connor Kaufman. Finegan also anchored the winning 400 relay with the same group, except for Fukumaru Ogawa in place of Kaufman.
- Meeker girls won the 400, sprint medley and 1,600 relays.
- Soroco junior Ben Kelley swept the distance trio of 800 (1:54.75, bettering his own state meet record), 1,600 (4:22) and 3,200 (9:47). Sophomore teammate Grant Redmond (6-6) conquered high jump.
- Hotchkiss sophomore Kaiya Firor claimed first in the 300 hurdles and 400.
- Highland freshman Remington Ross won the girls 100 (12.28).
- Heritage Christian boys (105 points) have been a recent powerhouse and nothing they did this weekend changed that. They conquered 1A for the second year in a row and the fourth time in five seasons. Josh Damir won the 300 hurdles and Seth Bruxvoort and Isaiah Bowsher placed first and second in the 3,200. The 800 relay of Jojo Bork, Jaden Johnson, Damir and Josiah Bowsher shattered the 1A state meet record of 1:33.25 with a time of 1:33.08.
- Heather Graham of Genoa-Hugo (40-5) won the shot put with a great throw.
- Shining Mountain junior Emma Schaefer claimed the 1,600 (5:32) and 3,200 crowns (12:24).
- Erik Enriquez-Acosta, a senior from Idalia, won the 400 (50.05) and 800 (2:00.87). He finished first or second all four years at state in the two-lapper. His teammate, senior Alex Weyerman (9-8), claimed the girls pole vault crown.
- Lake City swept the boys (8:39) and girls (10:49) 3,200 relays.
- The Springfield girls claimed their first state championship in any girls sport with 73.5 points. They won both the sprint medley relay (1:54.59 with Julia Mondragon, Ally Loflin, Audrey Rau, and Tatelyn Lasley) and 800 relay (1:49.81 with Mondragon, Lasley, Rau, and Kylie Parks). Springfield has a youthful group that could make another run next season.
- DeBeque junior Jentry Largent doubled up on crowns in the 100 and 200, while also anchoring a 400 relay that shattered the 1A record with a time of 51.41.
- Prairie senior Emily Kaiser was tremendous in the long jump (first) and triple jump (34-8.50, 1A state meet record).
- Bowman Ellis, a senior for Springfield, won the 100 (11.34) and 200 (22.94).
- Kiowa senior Melanie Deering ran away with titles in the 400 (59.23) and 800 (2:22).
- Pawnee teammates Drew Ellis (20-5) and Bryce Schnug (19-9) swept gold and silver in long jump.