LAKEWOOD — Welcome to an elite club, Brie Oakley.
At Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood during the first day of the track and field state championships, the Grandview newcomer shattered a 26-year-old Class 5A state meet record in the 3,200-meter run.
After finishing as the state runner-up to Lauren Gregory of Fort Collins during her first-ever cross country season last fall, Oakley’s torrid early pace — 2:30 through 800 meters, 5:09 through 1,600 — dropped the field and rewrote a long-standing record held by legendary Boulder High runner Melody Fairchild. Her time of 10:33.16 seconds clipped Fairchild’s 10:34.09 from 1990. She also easily outdistanced second-place finisher Megan Mooney of Horizon (11:09.34), a Florida State recruit.
“It was just so surreal with this being my first track season,” Oakley said. “I just wanted to go out fast and not look back.”
From a newcomer to a champion and record holder in the state’s highest classification, Oakley also ran the anchor leg of a 3,200 relay that placed fifth in 9:32.21. She is the No. 12 seed for the 800 on Friday and the No. 1 seed with a time of 4:57.91 in the 1,600 on Saturday.
“I originally played soccer, but got kind of burned out,” she said. “One of my friends was on the cross country team and she always talked about it. I had run some 5k’s before, so I figured I would try it out. I just fell in love with running.”
With only 3,200 relays and 5A 3,200s as finals on the track during Thursday’s morning session for the bigger schools, distance runners took center stage.
Poudre senior Henry Raymond, appearing in his first-ever individual events at state after coming off an injury-riddled junior track season, entered the weekend in an unfamiliar position. As the No. 1 seed in all three distance disciplines — the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 — he is a potential rare threat to sweep the trio.
In the 3,200, Raymond conserved energy for his later events during a tactical early pace. Then, after breaking away with Regis Jesuit’s Jack Davidson and Mountain Vista’s Paxton Smith, he scorched a 58-second last quarter to win with a time of 9:25.21. Davidson was second in 9:27.51, while Smith was third in 9:30.50.
During the weekend’s first foursome finals, Cherry Creek (9:23.64) successfully defended their 5A girls 3,200 relay crown. Lisa Swartz, Jordan McCurdy, Jamie Johnson and Devon Peterson kept Fairview (9:25) and Rocky Mountain (9:29) at bay.
In the 5A boys 3,200 relay, Monarch’s Ben Hogan, William Dixon, Zach Litoff and Isaac Green pulled away with a winning time of 7:51.57, as Green pushed the Coyotes from a close third, behind Boulder and Mountain Vista, to a win on the anchor leg. The Panthers (7:53.97) and Golden Eagles (7:57.50) both broke eight minutes as well.
The Air Academy girls had a wire-to-wire victory in the 4A 3,200 relay, with super talent Katie Rainsberger on the fourth leg, during an 18-second win over Niwot in 9:14.28. The Kadets had Kayla Wiitala, Lilliana Hamilton and Maria Mettler as the other baton-carriers.
David Moenning, in a style reminiscent to Green’s, went from third to first while slipping past Mountain View and Palmer Ridge with a winning 7:53.60 to the Bears’ 7:54.37. Palmer Ridge, after their third consecutive team title, was the defending champion in the event.
In 5A field event action, Jacob Condill of Chaparral (157-3) and Gina Coleman of Fountain-Fort Carson (145-9) were the winners of the discus throw, while Regis Jesuit’s Austin Campbell (6-9) claimed the 5A high jump.
Cherry Creek senior Connor Roberts (15-10) held off Monarch freshman phenom Max Manson (15-7) in the pole vault, while Fossil Ridge senior Chloe West was the girls champion with a mark of 12 feet, 2 inches. Audra Koopman of Fort Collins (19-5) won the girls long jump.
In other notable 4A action from Friday, Anthony Peters of Vista Ridge beat a field of three 46-plus triple jumpers with a mark of 46 feet, 11.5 inches. Depree Kimber of Pueblo South (46-7) and Breon Michel of Vista Ridge (46-3) finished in second and third, respectively.
Silver Creek sophomore Rylee Anderson, after winning the high jump at 5 feet, 5 inches a season ago, raised her level to 5 feet, 7 inches and another championship.
The state track and field championships resume on Friday at 8:20 am with the 2A 3,200-meter finals for boys and girls.
Lutheran's Kharon Hall making his own name
Kharon Hall wanted to see his name etched into the record books. After all, his sister was already firmly in there and he figured she could use a little company.
Dior Hall, the Colorado record holder in the 100 hurdles at George Washington in 2014 with a time of 13.09, not to mention a star at the University of Southern California, has a brother who is making a name all his own.
A defending state champion in the triple jump, Hall had gone 45 feet, 3.5 inches in 2015 to win Class 3A. But the Lutheran senior wanted more.
“Ever since I was a little kid my sister has been the star,” he said. “Everybody would know who she was and they would know me as, ‘Dior’s little brother.’ Now that I’m at this platform and setting records, everybody knows me as myself.”
After a winning mark and new personal best of 46-2.25 at the St. Vrain Invite last week, Hall leapt a monstrous 48 feet, 1.75 inches on Thursday, passing the previous 3A record of 47 feet, 5 inches by Marcus Brown of La Junta in 1999.
“I would like to give all glory to God, my family and my coaches,” he said. “They’ve pushed me and kept me motivated. I trusted in my training.”
For a Lutheran program in search of their third boys team title in a row (3A in 2015, 2A in 2014), the Lions had a promising opening day for the boys and the girls. Adam Dawson, a junior, claimed the discus crown with a toss of 173 feet, 1 inch. Fellow junior Morgan Barone won the high jump by clearing 5 feet, 5 inches. The Lions also had their usual dominating sprint crew in qualifying heaps of athletes into Friday and Saturday’s finals on the track.
Among other champions during the small-school portion of Thursday, John Mall senior Garrett Quintana (54-2) won the 2A shot put, Paonia senior Ashley Van Vleet (5-4) won the 2A high jump, and Sterling junior Victor Zimmerman (14-6) won the 3A pole vault.
The 1A girls discus state record of 117-00 was smashed by three competitors — Sangre de Cristo’s Jenna McKinley (131-6) and the Eads tandem of Brooke Lenox (124-6) and Mariah Smith (118-8). Flagler junior Cameron Klann set a new 1A record in the long jump by leaping 21-11.75, inching past Stratton’s Kyle English (21-10.5, 2014).
Rachel (12:16) and Rebekah Rairdon (12:24), senior sisters for Heritage Christian, won gold and silver in the 1A 3,200. Fellow senior and teammate Luke Gilliland won the boys 3,200 in 10:30.
Estes Park junior Lily Tomasula-Martin pulled away from Peak to Peak freshman Anna Shults to win the 3A 3,200 11:16-11:25. She defended her 2015 title. Skyview Academy senior Ben Butler went back-to-back in the 3,200 as well with a winning time of 9:22.27 to 9:30.60 by Taylor Stack of Salida.