LAKEWOOD — Emily Sloan knows Class 4A’s top hurdler well.
Nearly a decade ago, Sloan and Anna Hall were already teammates in a club track program. They have been great friends ever since.
Now donning the black and gold of Rock Canyon and the blue and white of Valor Christian, the tandem has flourished into Colorado’s premier hurdlers.
During the state track preliminary rounds of the 300 hurdles at Jeffco Stadium, Sloan saw her friend break her Colorado record with a time of 40.76 seconds, bettering the Jaguar’s time of 40.77 last week at the Continental League Championships. Then, Sloan managed to flip the script on Hall and take her record back in her 5A prelim with a new all-classification best of 40.60.
In a terrific display of sportsmanship and a sign of the friends’ bond, Hall cheered loudly on the infield during Sloan’s attempt at the feat.
“I definitely had extra motivation going into that race, because Anna’s my best friend,” Sloan, a senior, said. “I’m happy she got it, but I definitely wanted to take it back from her. She’s a great competitor though. We’ll push each other throughout the years.
“We’re sisters almost.”
Sloan and Hall, still only a junior, tallied the second and third best times in the nation for the 2018 season. As impressive as Friday’s hurdle races happened to be, the prep stars have a laundry list of other accomplishments.
Sloan chose to sign with the University of Oregon, having already claimed four state titles (three in a row in 100 hurdles) going into her final season for the Jaguars.
“It’s been a dream school of mine since I was little,” she said. “I knew that would be the best place to give me a shot at my goals.”
She has ambitions of winning an individual and team national championship at Oregon, but before she embarks on even greater goals she’ll be putting the final touches on an illustrious prep career on Saturday in the 100 hurdles (No. 1 seed), 300 hurdles, and 200 (No. 2 seed at 23.93 seconds).
As for Hall, the junior has been a national champion indoors in the high jump and pentathlon, along with being tabbed the defending state champion in both hurdles in 4A.
On top of that, she claimed her first long jump state crown on Friday with a mark of 18 feet, 9.75 inches. Valor Christian’s latest elite female in track could have a flurry of accomplishments coming her way at the prep level and beyond.
As usual, the 4A and 5A competitions delivered plenty of eye-opening performances. Denver East girls continued their domination in sprints with a time of 46.51 seconds in the 400-meter relay in prelims, tying the state record held by George Washington from 2007. Later on in the meet, despite not running Arria Minor in the final, the Angels won the 800 relay (1:40.25).
Denver East and Grandview both shattered the all-classification state records (previously held by George Washington) in the 800 meter sprint medley relay with marks of 1:42.62 and 1:42.89. Freshman Kyairra Reigh ran the 400 anchor leg for East.
The beauty of track and field is that times and marks never lie though. With competitors from all five classifications testing themselves against the state’s finest athletes at Jeffco Stadium, small school competitors sometimes prove themselves as the best in Colorado.
Soroco senior Ben Kelley shattered the 2A state record in the 800 three consecutive seasons at Jeffco Stadium (1:55.61 in 2016, 1:54.75 in 2017, 1:52.77 in 2018). He also broke the classification record in the 1,600 with a time of 4:17.23 at the St. Vrain Invite last week, a best time held by Paul Roberts of Lyons in 2016 (4:17.35).
Kelley also claimed state crowns in cross country as a senior, the 1,600 as a junior, and the 3,200 as a junior. He has chosen to pursue collegiate running at Columbia University in the Ivy League.
Oh, and the sensational Soroco harrier even ran the fastest 800 time in all classifications on Friday. Kelley feels inspired by the town he lives in.
“I come from a super small community,” he said. “We have less than 90 kids in our school, so we’re practically 1A. We’re like a family. We get a lot of support from the community. Even the teachers, people who aren’t necessarily associated with athletics, they always keep up with it.”
The state track and field meet will resume at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.
Class 5A notes:
- Fairview junior Marlena Preigh (2:09.19) fended off Broomfield senior Madison Mooney (2:10.19) and Highlands Ranch sophomore Bryce Johansen (2:10.55) in the 800-meter run.
- Grandview senior Kylee Harr (5-10) won high jump with an impressive mark.
- Landon Rast, a senior for the Legend Titans, won the 800 in 1:53.03.
- Fountain-Fort Carson boys (1:26.53) beat a game Cherry Creek (1:26.65) contingent in the 800 relay. Fountain also finished first in prelims of the 1,600 relay (3:17.85).
Class 4A notes:
- Valor Christian girls won the 800 relay (1:41.89). They might also claim the team title on Saturday.
- Discovery Canyon junior Liberty Ricca (10:57) and Valor Christian sophomore Cole Sprout (9:22) topped all competitors in the 3,200 races.
- Mead girls (1:45.17) continued their high-level relay performances with a sprint medley championship.
- Niwot freshman Taylor James (2:13.55) strided away from everyone in the two-lap 800 final. Former Niwot great Elise Cranny holds the classification state meet record with a time of 2:08.
- Vista Ridge senior Raymon Harper has been terrific in all three jumps, finishing first in long jump (23-3) and second in high jump (6-9). He was also the winner of the triple jump on Thursday.
- Garrett Martin, a Standley Lake veteran, cleared 6 feet, 10 inches to conquer high jump.
- Pine Creek boys were victorious in the 800 relay (1:28.07).
- Silver Creek superstar James Lee (1:54.25) is a back-to-back 800 state champion.
Class 3A notes:
- TCA senior Erika Willis, the sister of Colorado record holder Andrea, broke her own 3A state meet record in pole vault. Last season she cleared 12-5, but this year 12-9 won it over Platte Canyon’s Hayley Rayburn (12-6).
- The Classical Academy also won the girls 800 relay (1:43.91).
- Sierra senior Alexandria Burns brought a triple jump title back to Colorado Springs with a mark of 36-5.
- Maggi Congdon of Steamboat Springs (2:14) and Rasce Englehardt (1:56.41) claimed the 800 crowns. Denver West sophomore Yasin Sado (1:56.45) was barely second in the two-lapper.
- Pagosa Springs senior Keena Murphy (127-10) topped the field in girls discus.
- Faith Christian senior Reece Davidson finished first in another throwing event (53-4.50 in shot put).
- Lutheran boys broke a 16-year record held by Yuma in the 800 relay with a blistering 1:28.01. The previous 3A record was 1:28.31. Lutheran girls won the sprint medley relay as well (1:49.43).
- Bayfield senior Carl Heide (38.36) shattered the 3A state meet record in the 300 hurdles. The record was from 1995 and held by Ben Myers of Colorado Springs Christian (38.39).
Class 2A notes:
- Telluride senior Soleil Gaylord (11:16) won her third consecutive title in the 3,200 with a 37-second winning margin.
- Monika Williams anchored Denver Christian to a victorious sprint medley relay (1:51.67).
- Peyton junior Kaylee Kearse (2:18) pulled away from the field in the 800. Peyton also won the 800 relay in 1:48.93.
- Logan Kuskie of Lyons continued a family tradition of success in pole vault with a gold medal (11-2).
- Holyoke sophomore Taeryn Trumper (18-1.75) was the long jump champion.
- Burlington senior Alex Bauer won girls shot put (39-2.25).
- Cedaredge (1:32.02) claimed the boys 800 relay.
- Rocky Ford senior Cody Danley (9:42) put his foot on the gas in the final 1,600 as Lyons sophomore Isaac Roberts (9:55) and Custer County freshman Micah Zeller (10:04) showed plenty of distance promise for future years while rounding out the top three in the 3,200.
- Brady Lenz of Sanford outperformed everyone in triple jump (43-2.5).
- Crowley County junior Lane Walter (160-1) was terrific in boys discus.
- Jake Chrisman of Yuma won pole vault (13-4).
Class 1A notes:
- Springfield nipped the 1A state record in the girls sprint medley relay with a time of 1:53.88. JT Borunda also won boys discus (136-6) for Springfield. They were also champions in the girls 800 relay (1:50.89).
- Heritage Christian once again dominated distance events as Leeann Wagner (2:25) and Levi Kilian (1:59.13) crushed the 800 races. Isaiah Bowsher finished runner-up in the 800 as well.
- 43-1.5 won boys triple jump (Jade Cass of Pawnee).
- Genoa-Hugo swept gold and silver in girls shot put as Heather Graham (39-5.5) and Ryely Smartt (36-8) were first and second.
- Matalynn Dawson (Miami-Yoder) was impressive in triple jump with a mark of 34-6.
- Jerraldawn Rector of Simla (5-1) beat Dawson in a jump-off in the girls high jump discipline as both cleared 5-1.
- Plateau Valley (10:28.66) shattered the 1A girls state record in the 3,200 relay. Heritage Christian boys did the same (8:23.44).
- Haxtun boys (1:32.93) broke the classification record in the 800 relay.