LAKEWOOD -- Maybe it’s something in the water flowing out of the drinking fountains at Lutheran High School.
“It’s holy water,” Darian Perez said with a laugh after Saturday’s final of the Class 2A boys 100-meter dash at the Colorado State Track and Field Championships.
No less than four Lutheran sprinters competed in the finals of the 100 and five in the 200. The Lions had half the field lining up at the start line for the finals in the two events.
Perez’s teammate, Chris Youngs, won the race with Lutheran’s Kent Harris third and Perez fifth. Also competing in the 100 final was Lutheran’s Josh Clausen, who made the podium in ninth place.
They were joined a couple of hours later in the 200 final by teammate Ryan Lee.
Youngs pulled off the double in the afternoon, winning the 200 by nearly two-tenths of a second in 22.42. In both races, Youngs finished just ahead of Meeker sophomore T.J. Shelton, who won last year’s 100-meter title. Harris again placed third.
At the start of the season, Youngs didn’t realize what a special group he was working out with.
“It really is (a surprise) that we’re all good enough to get into the finals,” said Youngs, a sophomore.
Then again, said Perez, “In practice we’re pretty much competing with ourselves.”
Perez went on to finish fifth in the 400 and seventh in the 200.
Lutheran’s sprint coach, Darwin Horan, said it’s been an easy group to coach.
Four of his senior runners competed in the finals in last year’s state 4-by-400-meter relay, where they were seeded first. They finished second to Lyons.
“They were so mad,” Horan said. “They got everybody together (for off-season workouts).”
That set the tone for their preseason workouts. The seniors also set the bar for the rest of the group.
Horan claims he doesn’t have to coach them up much.
“They’re hard workers,” he said.
Youngs and Harris both run club track in the summer have different coaches.
“We work with their club coaches,” Horan said.
Whatever the collective group is doing, it’s obviously working wonders.
The Lions capped off the day by winning the 4-by-400-meter relay in a meet-record time of 3:23.30 to capture the 2A boys team title with 80 points, outdistancing second-place Lyons by 11½ points.
Cherokee Trail and Grandview were tied with 70 points heading into the final event of the 5A boys meet, with Fountain-Fort Carson a close third at 68.
Fountain-Fort Carson won the 5A boys 4-by-400 title. That gave the Trojans the team victory by two slim points over Grandview.
Fort Collins won the 5A girls title by four points over Pine Creek.
The Palmer Ridge boys and Niwot girls took the 4A team titles, with Niwot winning the 4-by-400 over Thompson Valley to decide the team title between the two.
The Classical Academy swept the 3A titles, winning the boys by 13 points over Coal Ridge and the girls by 28½ over Eaton.
Paonia took the 2A girls title for the second straight year, defeating its North Fork rival and training partner, Hotchkiss, by 16 points.
Heritage Christian won by five points over Vail Christian for the 1A boys title and finished second in the girls team race to Shining Mountain Waldorf.