Group of senior girls will be hard to replace on the track

CHSAA state track and field

(Kai Casey/CHSAANow.com)

LAKEWOOD — Senior classes are always difficult to replace. This particular group in girls track and field, not only for their teams but also state-wide, may leave a hole.

Sure, it’s not like the other grades lack for talent. Just look at Lauren Gregory (Class 5A 3,200 champion twice), Katie Rainsberger (4A 800, 1,600, 3,200 champion), Emily Sloan (5A 100-hurdle champion as a freshman), and Maya Evans (4A long jump champion as a freshman).

But this senior group has been one of the best — by any measurement — in Colorado history.

Take, for instance, where these young ladies will be competing in college. Valor Christian thrower Haley Showalter will be a Wisconsin Badger, Cherry Creek distance runner Jordyn Colter is a future California Golden Bear, Pine Creek sprinter Ally Watt has the opportunity to play soccer and run track for Texas A&M, Cherokee Trail sprinter Shayna Yon has signed with LSU, Shining Mountain Waldorf distance runner Ginger Hutton is off to Vanderbilt, Lewis-Palmer sprinter Nicole Montgomery will be a Kansas Jayhawk, and so on and so on.

On top of that, check out how many state titles they’ve won individually. Colter has six on the track and one in cross country. Montgomery has totaled seven. Hutton has even more with eight.

Hutton has shattered 1A state records and then shattered them some more. Colter finishes with two Colorado records in the 800 and 1600-meter runs. Montgomery is the fastest 400-runner in 4A history by a wide margin.

And that’s just state-wide. Nationally, Colter, Watt, Montgomery, Showalter and Rocky Mountain hurdler Carly Lester have ranked among the nation’s best in their respective events.

In this group’s last hurrah at the track and field state championships at Jefferson County Stadium, several rose to the occasion.

Colter anchored Cherry Creek’s 5A winning 3,200 relay in 9:07, won her third consecutive state championship in the 800 in a Colorado record of 2:04.56, and then claimed her third straight 1600 crown in another all-classification best of 4:46.22.

She is currently No. 1 in America in the 800 and No. 11 in the 1,600. The Bruin was ecstatic to see her time in the 1,600 and to be ahead of legends like Elise Cranny and Melody Fairchild in the record books.

“I was telling everyone, ‘Are you sure they got that right?' because I didn’t believe it,” Colter said of her time. “I didn’t think I could get the record, because I was feeling kind of tired from yesterday.”

“I look up to them so much,” she said of Cranny and Fairchild. “They are amazing runners and just to be a part of that is so surreal.”

Montgomery anchored Lewis-Palmer’s 4A winning sprint medley in a classification record of 1:45.06. Then on Saturday, she won the sprint triple crown — the 100, the 200, and the 400. She became the first 4A girl to ever run sub-53 seconds in the 400 with a sizzling 52.95, a time that ranks No. 2 in the nation.

“It’s really exciting to end my senior season having a sweep in the sprints,” Montgomery said. “I run kind of to the crowd and when I hit that 52, it was my goal and it was so exciting.”

Showalter won the 4A shot put (47-00.5) and discus throw (158-05). Both marks were very close to 4A state meet records. She is top-15 in America in each event.

Hutton won the 400 (new 1A record), 800 (new 1A record), 1,600, and 3,200.

Yon won the 100, 200, and long jump in 5A and ran a leg on the winning 400-meter relay.

The only downside was that Watt had to pull out of the 100 and 200 on the final day of her prep career for Pine Creek with an injury and Lester scratched all her events at the state meet while nursing an injury herself.

Nonetheless, a sensational group of young ladies capped off their final high school seasons, most in style. Colter, Montgomery, and company won’t soon be forgotten.