Two-sport star Watt chooses to focus on track at Pine Creek this season

(Paul Jaeger/Colorado Track XC)

(Paul Jaeger/Colorado Track XC)

An athlete who can excel and dominate in a manner that earns them recognition as one of the nation's best is a rare breed.

Pine Creek's Ally Watt is unusually gifted on both the soccer pitch and as a sprinter in track. The fact both sports are in the same season, in the spring, makes it that much more impressive.

"I really can't say it's easy, but my coaches help me a lot," Watt said of her time-management balancing act. "My club coach understands that I'm very serious about high school track, because we've built so much at Pine Creek.

"When I get any chance to play soccer, I practice with my team. But, during the month of May I'm not allowed to touch a soccer ball according to (track) coach Max Oliver, because he just wants me to focus completely on track, which I understand. Having two coaches who understand my love for both sports and allow me to do both is great."

Watt has signed to play soccer at Texas A&M University. The senior, a year after leading Pine Creek to the Class 5A final four, has decided not to suit up for the Eagles in 2015 because she doesn't want to risk injury.

Watt will be playing club, though, and was recently named to U.S. Soccer's under-20 Women's National Team that will play in a U19 invitational tournament in Spain from Feb 28-March 10. 

When she returns home, Watt has business to take care of on the track for a program that was strong before she arrived, stronger yet with her in the lineup.

"She took the team to the next level," Oliver said. "The very best athletes inspire and make teammates better and Ally does that."

As a junior, all Watt accomplished were state titles in the 100 meters, the 200 meters, and was the anchor leg of the 400- and 800-meter relays.

Her 800 relay team dusted the field and easily beat the previous all-classification state record time of 1:38.09. The Eagles went 1:37.05 in the preliminary round and 1:37.57 in the finals. Her 400 relay also delighted the crowd with a 46.55, only a mere .04 seconds off the Colorado record of 46.51, set by George Washington in 2007.

(Alan Versaw/Colorado Track XC)

(Alan Versaw/Colorado Track XC)

Watt won the 100 and 200 double as a freshman and finished second in the 200 and the 400 as a sophomore. The only one to beat the Pine Creek phenom? Ana Holland of Regis, a senior in 2013 who won the 100, 200, 400 triple crown.

Watt's personal bests on the track of 11.41 seconds in the 100, 23.65 in the 200, and 53.78 are all considered elite on the national level.

If she is this fast of a sprinter, why doesn't Watt pursue track in college too? Actually, she might.

"That's my hope," she said. "The coaches at A&M are open to me doing both. I hope I will be able to do both."

Former Wheat Ridge star Annie Kunz also runs track and plays soccer at Texas A&M. She's now a senior.

While Watt isn't one hundred percent sure about sprinting at A&M, she is open to the idea.

"For track, I just want to see how develop and see if I am meant to run," she said. "I can do well in high school, but collegiately I would have to see how I compare and if I'm able to compete at that level. If I go far in it, my dreams might alter.

"I'm just going to take it one step at a time. My goals are never set in stone."

Watt and Pine Creek placed second, only four points behind Fort Collins, in the 5A team race last year. Both teams are expected to be excellent again. Cherry Creek may challenge.

In Class 4A, Niwot won it all in 2014, while Thompson Valley, Broomfield (moved up to 5A), Palmer Ridge, and Sand Creek were all within shouting distance. Several teams figure to be in the mix.

The Classical Academy claimed the 3A crown a season ago in dominant fashion. Eaton was the runner-up with Lamar and Coal Ridge finishing in third and fourth, respectively. TCA has been a power in the sport for years and figures to be in the thick of it. Eaton will be one of the favorites, as well.

In 2A, rivals Paonia and Hotchkiss battled for the championship in 2014. Paonia held the Bulldogs off 102-86. Both teams should be strong. Lyons is always a factor in 2A, too.

Shining Mountain Waldorf inched past Heritage Christian, Dove Creek, and Vail Christian for the 1A title last season in a wild team race. Expect another enticing battle in 2015.

Girls track and field preview

Class 5A

Season begins: March 6

State meet: May 14-16, Jeffco Stadium

Returning all-state athletes: Jordyn Colter, senior, Cherry Creek, 800 meters, 1600 meters; Lauren Gregory, sophomore, Fort Collins, 3200 meters; Carly Lester, senior, Rocky Mountain, 300 hurdles; Ally Watt, senior, Pine Creek, 100 meters, 200 meters.

Class 4A

Season begins: March 6

State meet: May 14-16, Jeffco Stadium

Returning all-state athletes: Nicole Montgomery, senior, Lewis-Palmer, 200 meters, 400 meters; Ashlyn Nolan, junior, Discovery Canyon, 100 hurdles; Haley Showalter, senior, Valor Christian, discus.  

Class 3A

Season begins: March 6

State meet: May 14-16, Jeffco Stadium

Returning all-state athletes: Kylie Chavez, sophomore, Sterling, long jump; Kayla Pinnt, junior, Moffat County, 100 meters, 200 meters; Andrea Willis, junior, The Classical Academy, pole vault; Sarah Yocum, sophomore, Faith Christian, 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles.  

Class 2A

Season begins: March 6

State meet: May 14-16, Jeffco Stadium

Returning all-state athletes: Sophia Anderson, sophomore, Hoehne, triple jump; Kacey Buttrick, senior, South Park, 300 hurdles; Monica Drury, junior, Yuma, pole vault; Morgan Hartigan, senior, Paonia, shot put; Logan Hixon, junior, Yuma, long jump; Brooke Lenox, junior, Eads, discus; Miranda Mathiason, senior, Highland, 100 hurdles; Ashley Van Vleet, junior, Paonia, high jump.

Class 1A

Season begins: March 6

State meet: May 14-16, Jeffco Stadium

Returning all-state athletes: Taylor Alexander, junior, Vail Christian, 200 meters, pole vault; Ginger Hutton, senior, Shining Mountain, 800 meters; Audrey Rose Kachin, senior, Plateau Valley, 400 meters; Rebecca Kaiser, senior, Prairie, long jump; Rebekah Rairdon, junior, Heritage Christian, 1600 meters, 3200 meters; Kayla Zink, sophomore, Caliche, 100 meters.