LAKEWOOD — Over the course of an eight-lap race, separation between the winner and the rest of the field usually spans several seconds.
In perhaps the most thrilling running event during the opening day of the state track and field championships, with all classifications competing at Jeffco Stadium, less than a full second (0.13) separated Madeleine Burns from Samrawit Dishon in the 4A girls 3,200.
Burns clinched the title in 10 minutes, 53.63 seconds, barely nipping Dishon’s 10:53.76.
“I can’t really believe it,” the Durango junior said. “It’s always been a goal of mine ever since freshman year. Now that it’s happened, I’m still kind of in shock.”
The 3,200 is the longest distance event Colorado prep track athletes compete in and, for many, the eight-lapper can be equally challenging mentally and physically. Burns had enough of both to beat a talented field that included Joslin Blair (Eagle Valley) and a trio of Niwot girls in Lucca Fulkerson, Layla Roebke, and Dishon.
Several girls took the lead at various stages of the race, but Dishon and Burns pulled away the final two laps. They traded leads a few times, but Dishon had a strong surge that threatened Burns’s title hopes.
Ultimately, the Durango standout pulled even with Dishon, then had enough closing speed to overtake her in the final fifty meters. Burns had to be at the top of her game to outlast them all as Blair (11:00), Fulkerson (11:03), and Roebke (11:05) rounded out the top five.
“I knew it would be a really competitive field just because 4A has a lot of really good girls,” Burns said. “I wanted to hang with the pack, then make a move with 800 to go. It turns out I didn’t really get to do that. I just hung on and tried to save a little bit for the last lap.”
That little bit proved to be enough for the distance star to claim her first gold medal at the state meet. She finished 12th in the 3,200 as a sophomore, but had the No. 1 seed (10:50) entering the season finale.
Challengers loomed Thursday with Dishon proving to be the greatest threat.
“I knew her from cross country and Niwot always has a lot of really strong runners,” Burns said. “They had six girls in the two mile, so I knew they would be a force to be reckoned with.”
Burns was eager for the test. Training in Durango, at an elevation around 6,500 feet, helped her overcome all of them, eventually.
“It’s pretty hilly,” she said. “There are a lot of trails. It’s hard to find flat places to run, but I think it helps us. It can be pretty lonely, because we are far away from everyone. That makes it even more exciting to race though.”
After Burns’ terrific 3,200 race, Durango earned a state crown in the 3,200 relay with a boys contingent of Aidan Fitzgerald, Marcus Flint, Noah Bodewes, and Luke Tichi. They nipped the previous 4A state record of 7:48.60, set by D’Evelyn in 2006, with a magnificent time of 7:48.55. That is currently a top 10 time in the country for this season.
Below is a roundup of other action during the morning (4A/5A) and evening (1A-3A) competitions.
Valor Christian girls (9:16) claimed the 3,200 relay crown over Cherry Creek (9:20).
The Eagles of Valor also set a new all-classification girls 4x200 state record (1:37.00) with an already legendary Anna Hall on the anchor leg of the preliminary round. The University of Georgia recruit has won several state and national crowns in both track and field events. She recorded the fastest time in the 100 hurdle prelims (14.37) on Thursday.
Valor’s Jane Powers (40-2.25) added to the championship haul for the Eagles with the shot put gold medal.
Hall’s soon-to-be college teammate, Arria Minor of Denver East, will be the No. 1 seed in both the 100 and the 200-meter dashes for the girls with times of 11.79 and 23.79. She will look to collect her ninth and 10th state titles individually this weekend.
On the boys side, Highlands Ranch’s Drake Nugent (56-2.75) topped an in-city rival in Valor’s Cian Quiroga (56-1.50) to win the shot put title.
Mountain Vista (7:47) outlasted Arapahoe (7:48) in the 5A boys 3,200 relay to add another chapter to their distance running tradition. They also finished first in the event in 2018. The all-classification state record in the event is 7:45 by Smoky Hill (2001).
Valor freshman Gavin Sawchuk will be the top seed in the 100 finals.
Fort Collins’ fantastic tandem of Allam Bushara (2nd) and Micaylon Moore (1st, 48-10) swept gold and silver in the triple jump. Moore won the long jump last season, while Bushara was the triple jump champion.
Darrian Leu-Pierre, a talented basketball player for Grandview, showed off his leaping ability in high jump, clearing 6-8. Teammate Alisha Davis, a University of Northern Colorado recruit for hoops, ensured a Grandview sweep of the high jump with a mark of 5-9.
With plenty of high altitude training giving them a lift, Battle Mountain sped past the field in the 3,200 relay.
Dylan Schubert (9:24), a terrific Thompson Valley junior, surged with about 500 meters left to overtake Dillon Powell of Air Academy (9:28) in the 4A boys 3,200. Cheyenne Mountain freshman Erik Le Roux finished 3rd in a time of 9:32.
The city of Longmont crowned multiple field event champions in Silver Creek junior Hunter Potrykus (15-3 in pole vault) and Longmont senior girl Tara Hitchcock (18-4.50 in long jump).
Canon City’s Brendan Young bettered the field in the long jump with a mark of 23 feet, 1 inch.
Pueblo East senior Kain Medrano (188-6) claimed a new 4A state meet record in the discus throw. He will attend UCLA on a football scholarship.
A super group of 800-meter runners clinched the 3,200 relay for Peak to Peak in a very fast time of 9:17. The Pumas clinched six consecutive 3A state titles in the event.
Holy Family boys (7:59) dipped under eight minutes to claim the boys 3,200 relay.
David Hawkins of Bayfield (51-0) was atop the podium in the shot put.
22 feet, 9 inches was the winning long jump mark by Elizabeth’s Mason Anthony, who is also a top-flight hurdler.
Hotchkiss has won many relay state crowns over the years and they could grab another in the 800-meter sprint medley after finishing with the No. 1 seed during prelims with a time of 1:52.84.
Those who follow 2A track know the name “Lyons” with their immense success at the state meet. They claimed the girls 3,200 relay title with a time of 10:03. In the very next event, their foursome of boys won the same relay in 8:20.
The 3,200 champions were Chloe Veilleux (Soroco, 11:45) and Isaac Roberts (Lyons, 9:57).
Yuma’s Victor Mendoza (44-1.50 in triple jump) and Jake Chrisman (14-4 in pole vault) were crowned as 2A kings.
In a thrilling girls sprint medley relay final, De Beque (1:54.88) was able to catch Springfield (1:55.32), a classification power who finished runner-up as a team last season, in the final 100 meters.
Seth Bruxvoort (Heritage Christian) shattered his teammate’s 1A state meet record in the 3,200 with a time of 9:47, 17 seconds quicker than Levi Kilian’s winning mark last season. Killian didn’t compete in the 8-lapper, but is one of the favorites to win the 800 and 1,600.
Jace Bower of Wiley captured the shot put championship with a mark of 48-3.50.