Records fall in exciting series of 800-meter races

(Brock Laue/CHSAANow.com)

More photos. (Brock Laue/CHSAANow.com)

LAKEWOOD — Inspiration wasn’t hard to find Friday.

During the second day of the state track and field championships at Jefferson County Stadium, one event was as spectacular as any in recent memory.

The 800-meter run, with every classification running back-to-back, had five classification records and three all-Colorado records — three, because the boys record was broken in 4A, then about forty-five minutes later, broken again in 5A.

William Mayhew of Cheyenne Mountain, a senior with an impressive resume, but no state championships to show for it, earned his first crown, his first 4A state meet record and his first all-classification record with a time of 1:50.74. He also became the first 4A boy to run sub-1:52, not to mention sub-1:51, in the 800.

“The state championship means more to me, because that’s been the goal for so long,” Mayhew said. “Records are meant to be broken. Winning the race was all that was on my mind.”

Pueblo West’s Zack Retzlaff finished second in 1:53.35.

Mayhew, who said his time was icing on the cake, kept the all-time Colorado best for less than an hour as Smoky Hill’s Blake Yount stepped onto the track for the 5A finals.

Yount, another senior and a future Oklahoma Sooner, held the all-classification record before Friday with a 1:51.20 at the Cherry Creek/Grandview Invite two weeks ago. He was also the record holder last season with his 1:51.63.

Cherry Creek's Jordyn Coulter is all smiles after winning the 5A girls' 800-meter race Friday. (Brock Laue/CHSAANow)

Cherry Creek's Jordyn Colter is all smiles after winning the 5A girls' 800-meter race Friday. (Brock Laue/CHSAANow)

He knew what it was like to be on top in the record books, but he had never won a state crown either, finishing only as a 5A runner-up in 2014. Even though, like anyone, Yount wanted the title, the senior’s main focus was snatching back his all-classification best.

“Time means more to me,” he said. “There’s kids in other classifications, like Mayhew and Paul (Roberts) in 2A, there are people who can race fast across the state. Time is a universal measurement to compare everyone.”

Yount proved too much for a field of Monarch’s Isaac Green (1:52.62), Denver East’s Hayelom Fitsum (1:52.86), Fountain-Fort Carson’s Dylan Day (1:53.79), and Cherry Creek’s Daniel Book (1:54.30), perhaps the most competitive group in 5A history. The Smoky Hill star cruised 1:50.59, a new 5A and Colorado record, and joined Mayhew as the only high school boys to ever post 1:50.

The University of Oklahoma recruit said he has been hoping to race Mayhew for awhile. While they aren’t in the same classification, they did test themselves against one another.

“I wanted to race him head-to-head on the same track on the same day,” Yount said. “Today was the closest we’ve gotten.”

“It would be interesting to race him,” Mayhew chimed in. “I would like to go at it.”

Big schools tend to get the most attention, but the smaller classifications can’t be ignored, especially on a day with exceptional performances at every level.

Erick Enriquez-Acosta of Idalia, only a sophomore, became the first sub-two minute runner in 1A history with a 1:57.86. The all-time best was set in 2012 by Robert Ryland of Sierra Grande, who went 2:00.53.

On the girls side, Shining Mountain Waldorf’s Ginger Hutton, who already held the 1A record in the 800 with a 2:15.95 at the Liberty Bell Invite this season, dropped a 2:12.81 to finish nearly 12 seconds ahead of Heritage Christian’s Rebekah Rairdon (2:24.00). The time would have placed fifth in 5A.

Ginger and Birdie Hutton, a 2012 grad from SMW and currently a runner for the Princeton Tigers, are sisters who hold the classification records in the 400, 800, 1,600, and 3,200.

“She was one of the main reasons why I came out for track freshman year, because all through middle school, she was like, ‘you have to come run,’” Ginger Hutton said. “Then, I came out in high school and fell in love with it. It was her from the start.”

“I always try to beat her state records,” she added with a laugh.

Ginger, a senior, claimed her third consecutive state championship in the 800 and her sixth title overall. She hopes to add to her legacy on Saturday in the 400 and 1,600.

If the 800 hadn’t dazzled enough already, Cherry Creek’s Jordyn Colter was in the final heat.

Colter, of 800 supremacy with the Colorado record of 2:05.48, the nation’s No. 1 time this season, ran 2:04.56 on Friday to easily win 5A.

The senior fed off the momentum.

“I was warming up and I kept hearing all these records,” she said. “I feel like it’s the best thing to get a record on this track at the state meet. I’m so glad I was able to pull it off. The crowd is so awesome.”

Monarch’s Elissa Mann was the runner-up in 2:10.39. Lauren Gregory of Fort Collins, after defending her 3,200 crown in 11:01 earlier in the day, finished third in 2:11.45.

Colter also won her third consecutive championship in the 800 and fifth overall on the track. She won cross country as a freshman and will look for another 1,600 crown on Saturday.

Air Academy’s Katie Rainsberger was the 4A 800 champion in 2:08.87, just off Elise Cranny’s 4A state meet record time of 2:08.50. Rainsberger was the 3,200 winner and helped lead Air Academy to the 3,200 relay championship on Thursday.