Valor Christian girls, boys take track titles

Eagles win crowns in first season of 5A competition

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It was a banner meet for Anna Hall, Cole Sprout and the Valor Christian girls and boys track teams.

Valor, in its first season in 5A competition, won both the girls and boys team championships at the CHSAA State Track Championships May 16-18 at Jeffco Stadium.

The Eagles girls team, the 2018 4A state champs, easily captured the team title with 149 points, with Fort Collins finishing second with 66 points. Cherry Creek was third (54 points), Grandview fourth (53) and ThunderRidge (50) fifth.

Valor's boys team wound up with 90 points compared to runner-up Fort Collins with 57 points and third-place Highlands Ranch (40 points).

“There was no adjustment going into 5A, 400 meters is 400 meters,” said Eagles girls and boys track coach Brian Kula. “Obviously there were some big schools we had to compete against but I was proud of how our kids stepped up. It was a really a team effort and we were really a complete team during the weekend.”

Hall, a senior headed for the University of Georgia who recovered from a sprained ankle sustained during a mid-April training session, won the 100-meter hurdles (14.18) and the 300 hurdles (41.70) to give her seven individual career 4A and 5A state titles.

She also anchored two record-setting relay teams on May 18.

Sadie McMullen, Camille Peisner, Destiny Grimes and Hall set a Colorado state and meet record in the preliminaries of the 4x200 relay with a time of 1:37.00 and came back to win in the finals with a 1:37.39 clocking.

Reese Dragovich, Peisner, Quincy McMahon and Hall set a Colorado and state meet record of 3:41.89 in taking first the 4x400 relay in the final race of the three-day meet.

“Probably the 4x4 stood out more just because we all came together and suffered with our legs to get that record,” said Hall, who set a national pentathlon record of 4,302 points before the start of the 2019 high school track season.

“I got injured five and half weeks ago and missed a lot of the high school meets in Colorado. I just got back last week in time to qualify. I felt good during the meet. We were really aggressive in my rehab and I came back two weeks earlier than they thought I would and my body healed really quickly.”

Spout, a junior who set a Colorado prep 3,200 record of 9:01.53 earlier this season, was the 1,600 meter champ with a 4:13.78 effort and won the 3,200 in 9:11.84.

“There is pressure but I've learned to block it out the best I can,” said Sprout, who is a two-time state cross country champion and last season's 4A winner of the 1,600 and 3,200 races. “A lot of people expected me to win. I love to compete. If I finish second and it's a good race and I give it my all, that's all I can ask for.

“We lost one of our best sprinters during one of the prelims for the relays and we weren't really sure how it would turn out running without him but it turned out good.”

Hall and Sprout had plenty of help in piling up points for the Eagles.

Sophomore Taylor Whitfield won the girls 3,200 race (10:47.57), McMullen was the long jump champion (19-09.50) and senior Jane Powers was first in the shot put (40-02.25).

The Valor boys had to compete without standout freshman sprinter Gavin Sawchuk who pulled his hamstring on the first day of competition. Cian Quiroga stepped up and was the discus champion ( 182-04) and the Eagles' boys won both the 4x100 and 4x200 relays.

Max House, Kaden Keefe, Jack Ranson and Dane Palazzo were the 4x100 state champs (42.46) while House, Ranson, Palazzo and Cayden Hawkins captured first in the 4x200 finals (1:27.16).

There was one other state champion from a school in Highlands Ranch in addition to a relay team.

Highlands Ranch senior Drake Nugent won his third straight 5A shot put championship withy a throw of 56-02.76 and the ThunderRidge girls sprint medley relay team of Leah Prochazka, Teagan Zwaanstra, Anna Hart and Kylie Bahr won with a time of 1:44.37.

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