MEEKER I “Overall, we had a great season and a solid state meet,” Meeker High School track coach John Strate said. “We saw four school records broken this season and three of them were at the state meet.
The Cowboys traveled to Denver for the 2014 Colorado State Track and Field Championships in Jefferson County Stadium, with 22 athletes, including two alternates, to compete in 12 individual events and six relays.
Meeker sophomore T.J. Shelton, who won the 100-meter dash state title as a freshman, finished second in the same race this year. However, he still set a Meeker High School record in the event. Shelton broke the Meeker High School record with a time of 11.1, the fastest in the state preliminaries. Shelton also finished second in the 200.
“Although he did not defend his title, he ran faster than last year, competing in a field dominated by private schools,” coach Strate said.
Chris Youngs of Lutheran won the event with a time of 11.03.
Meeker freshman Halle Ahrens, who broke a 30-year-old school record in the 200 meters, broke it again in the state meet. She also anchored the 4×100-meter relay team, which improved its time at state, thus improving the school record the team broke the week before.
“Our girls team had a solid performance at the state meet,” Strate said. “Aly Ridings and Halle Ahrens led the way on the girls’ side, in terms of scoring.”
The Meeker girls finished 11th as a team.
“Aly had the most impressive performance of the meet in the 100-meter hurdles,” coach Strate said of the senior who qualified in two individual events and as part of two relay teams.
Strate said Ridings entered the state meet ranked 15th in the hurdles, qualified for the finals with a personal best time of 17.08, in the eighth spot, then improved her time in the finals to 16.8 to finish fifth.
“She had the best performance of her career, when it mattered most,” coach Strate said of Ridings, who also placed eighth in the triple jump.
Ahrens, also qualified in four events and placed in all four at the state meet. Ahrens, Linda Olivas, Madison Russell and Sydney Hughes made up the 4×100-meter relay team while Ahrens, Olivas, Hughes and Ridings ran the 4×200-meters.
“Both of those teams finished fourth in a field that was loaded this year, and Halle earned sixth in the 100 and eighth in the 200,” coach Strate said. “This is a fantastic showing for a freshman.”
Hughes also made the finals in the triple jump but finished “just short of scoring,” coach Strate said of Hughes. “Sydney looks to recover from an ankle injury that has been bothering her and come back strong next year.”
Meeker senior Jeremy Musgrave will not return next year, but he made the most of his first and only track season, qualifying in three events and placing sixth in the triple jump.
“Jeremy made an excellent debut at the state meet,” Strate said.
Musgrave did not make the finals in the high jump nor did the 4×200-meter relay team he ran with classmate J.C. Henderson and juniors Jake Phelan and Anthony Watt. Henderson, Tristin Pelloni, Caleb Lange and Aaron Cochran also qualified in the 4×800-meter relay team that did not make the finals.
Meeker seniors Taylor Ahrens and Piper Haney, along with underclassmen Peyton Burke, Julia Eskelson, Reece Pertile and Maggie Phelan, also qualified on relay teams but did not place.
“Next year, we look to return the majority of our state qualifiers,” coach Strate said. “Now that they have some experience at the state meet it should be fun to see what they can do.”
Strate wanted to thank his coaching staff for Meeker’s successful season.
“Ben Quinn and Kris Casey are paid assistants, but Shane Phelan, Terrance Casias, Brittney Shubnell and Pat Ibach are all volunteers,” coach Strate said. “They made each meet and every practice. It was because of these generous people, lending their expertise, that our athletes had the success they did.”