LAKEWOOD — It’s fair to say Kevin Clark will be leaving the Mountain View track and field program in good condition.
After a runner-up finish on the girls side at the Class 4A state championships in 2015, the Mountain Lions took it one step further Saturday at Jefferson County Stadium by winning the boys team title. For a program with one other track crown (the boys also won 4A in 2006) Clark took over the program in Loveland when it was in a bit of a transition.
“The first year on the boys side in 2008 we took one young man to the state meet,” he said. “We’ve seemed to always have a pretty solid girls program. We highlighted that last year by being runner-up. I feel great about what our staff has accomplished. To be second in 2015 and then to end 2016 with a state championship, this is as good as it gets.”
The Mountain View track coach, who recently accepted the athletic director position at Loveland High School, also led the Mountain Lions to a 4A girls cross country championship in 2014. But this was his first spring title. And it came in his final go-round before starting a post-coaching chapter of his life.
“I just have so much excitement for this group of young men,” Clark said. “It’s all juniors and seniors. The work they’ve put in this past year has been unbelievable, so it’s nice to see that pay off.”
A well-rounded group, Mountain View took down the two-time defending champion Palmer Ridge Bears by tallying points across a wide spectrum of events on the track and in the field:
- Logan Stewart, after finishing as the runner-up in the long jump as a junior, won the event Friday with a mark of 22 feet, 11 inches.
- Ramon Salgado, a four-time Northern Conference champion in the pole vault, finished first in winning his first-ever state title on Saturday over teammate and runner-up Brenton Emmons as both went 14 feet, 8 inches, but Salgado won on number of attempts.
- Scott Sipes, yet another fourth-year, placed eighth in the shot put and third in the discus.
- Jordan Kress placed in both the 100 and 200, while Nolan Kembel did the same in both hurdle events.
- Ryan Vomacka shattered the school record in the 800 in placing seventh in a time of 1:55.89.
The Mountain Lions also finished second in the 400 relay, second in the 800 relay, third in the 1,600 relay and fifth in the 3,200 relay.
It all added up to an 89-79 margin of victory for Mountain View over Palmer Ridge.
“Palmer Ridge, they didn’t let it come easy,” Clark said. “Our kids stepped up for three days and put it out there. We had a great state meet. It was going to take a great state meet to win it and we had big kids. At the end of the day, ten points isn’t that much so we’re fortunate to come out the way we did.”
Clark will walk away from coaching on top.
During the track and field season’s finale, with several state records being rewritten again, Palmer Ridge senior Caleb Ojennes won the 200 and 400-meter dashes for the second consecutive year. His time of 46.71 seconds in the one-lapper not only shattered the 4A state meet record of 46.78 by Kevin McClanahan of Erie in 2014, but was also the second fastest time ever run on Colorado soil by a prep athlete. J.T Scheuerman remains the record-holder from 2006 during his days at Littleton when he ran a 46.23.
Ojennes also anchored the first-place 1,600 relay (3:18.92).
Fountain Fort-Carson senior Christian Lyon won the 100 (10.80) and 200 (21.67) and ran legs on the winning 800 (1:25.96) and 1,600 (3:17.91) relays in 5A.
Despite the usual firepower from Fountain on the track, Pomona won the 400 relay (42.43), Danny Wiliams won the triple jump (47-3), Jake Moretti won the shot put (54-10) and Max Borghi scored heaps of points in the 100 and 200 on the way to the Panthers’ first-ever team title in boys track and field. Pomona racked up 94.5 points to Fountain’s 79, ending a two-year title run by the Trojans.
In other 5A action, Poudre senior Henry Raymond, appearing in the first individual events of his career at state, swept the distance events — the 800 (1:51.97), the 1,600 (4:18.67) and 3,200 (9:25.21). His 1,600 was on the final day, but he overcame tired legs and sealed his third gold medal before heading to Dartmouth University in the fall.
In each race, Raymond used a devastating kick on the last lap to get the job done.
“My strategy is always just to be in good position coming up on the last lap,” he said. “I tried to make sure no one passed me at any point, because I wanted to keep the lead and be in control.”
Asked what he’ll remember most from his spectacular three-day state meet, Raymond smiled when describing his 800 performance.
“I think the most memorable part for me was just finishing the 800,” he said. “It was so painful and I had been really nervous about that race. I did pretty well and got a good time.”
The Lutheran boys, in winning the 3A team title for the second straight year — they also claimed 2A in 2014 — had a Saturday highlighted by first-place finishes in the 110 hurdles (Matt Hanson, 14.68), the 100 and 200 (Kent Harris, 10.97, 21.89), and the 400 relay (43.27). They scored a monstrous 137 points as runner-up Platte Valley scored 65.
In the 2A team race, Cooper Ward won the 100 and 200 for Resurrection Christian, while teammate Evan Anderson outlasted everyone in the 400. The Cougars also claimed gold in the 400 and 1,600 relays, but Cedaredge countered with Shane Gates, the 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles and high jump champion, on their way to a 98-85 team title over the Cougars.
Cedaredge won their second-ever championship in any sport, adding to a 1A football title won in 2012.
Heritage Christian tallied 126 points, scoring heavily in relays and distance events, with depth in just about everything else, on their way to a team victory over second place Springfield (91 points). The Eagles, with Robbie Wagner, Caleb Wickstrom, Matt Lee and Taylor Motschall rolling to a winning 3:35.13 in the 1,600 relay, also won 1A in 2013 and 2014.
The 3A state meet record in the 400-meter dash was broken by both Sunday Abarca of Aspen (48.54) and Jared Keul of Manitou Springs (48.66). The previous top time was held by Brian Black of Yuma from 2002 when he ran 48.70.
Jordan Cherin, the Shining Mountain Waldorf senior who shattered the 1A 800 record on Friday, came back for the 400 record with a winning 48.80 on Saturday. Clay Russell of North Park had the state meet record of 49.00 from 2014.
The Longmont 400 relay of Conlan Berger, Eli Sullivan, Logan Goodner and Trevor Cook came close to the 4A record of 41.28 with a 41.39 on Saturday.
Paul Roberts, the only four-time champion in state history in boys cross country, overtook Aucencio Martinez’s (Center) 2002 state meet record in the 2A 1,600 of 4:21.35 with a 4:19.54. Roberts won the 1,600 four times and the 3,200 three times during a distance career for Lyons that registers as perhaps the greatest ever in the small-school ranks.
Ian Beckett, a McClave sophomore, broke the 1A record in the high jump by going 6 feet, 3 inches. Manitou Springs laid claim to the 3A 1,600 relay state meet record with a 3:21.46. Gunnison, who held the record of 3:22.42 from 2002, was overtaken by Conner Plackis, Luke Rodholm, Bryce Coop and Jared Keul.