Kayla Kostur wasn't sure whether there was a spot for her on Steamboat Springs' track and field team.
When she transferred two years ago from Hayden High School, a Class 2A school, she didn't know anyone on the track team, and she didn't know whether her jumps would be high enough or long enough to score points in Class 4A.
Today, she competes in the triple jump and high jump and may represent Steamboat's best chance for winning its third state championship in as many years. On Saturday, Kostur will compete in the long-jump finals.
Only two athletes have jumped higher than Kostur in the high jump this season, and anything can happen at the state meet. Kostur knows 5-foot-7 won it last year, when teammate Jessica Peters captured the crown in a jump-off.
This year, Kostur has no idea how high she will have to go.
"I hope to go higher than I've ever gone and PR," Kostur said.
Her previous PR, or personal record, is 5-4. She cleared 5-3 at her early season stop at Legacy Stadium, so she is comfortable competing at the site of this year's Class 4A/5A State Track and Field Championships.
Before this season, Kostur had never cleared 5-0. She said it was a mental thing. She cleared 5-0 in the first meet of the season this spring.
"She has done everything I've asked her to do," Sailors coach Andy Reust said. "She's worked hard."
The high-jump and triple-jump finals are at 9:30 a.m. today, but Kostur said she has no problem competing in both simultaneously.
"All the other track meets run together," Kostur said. "I don't have a lot of time to actually think. I just go and do it."
Kostur is in the first flight of the triple jump and one of the last to high jump, so she may be done with one before she has to compete in the other. On Saturday, Kostur will compete in the long-jump finals. She started the season jumping 14-11. Last weekend, she jumped 16-3 3/4 to qualify for state. She is within six inches of the school record.
When Kostur isn't competing, she will be busy cheering for her teammates. Senior Alec Nelson runs in the 800-meter finals, and senior Jen Hooper competes in the 3,200-meter finals. Otherwise, today is set aside for preliminary runs in individual events and sprint relays. The quartet of Hannah Bowers, Christie Fielding, Chel--sea Mosser and Patricia Henderson will run in the 400- and 800-meter relays and the 800-meter medley relay in the preliminary round today.
On Saturday, Hooper closes a memorable high school career with her 1,600-meter run and her 3,200-meter relay team's race to place. This is the first time in Reust's five years of coaching that one, let alone two, 3,200-meter relay teams have qualified for state.
"That's not an event we've been strong in in years," he said.
The team of Nelson, Matt Hill, Andy Garber and Walker Hammond have the opportunity to place. The same goes for the team of Hooper, Casey Garth, Katie Conrath and Tara King. Both could set school records, as well.
This year's state meet is being held at Legacy Stadium, off Arapahoe Road in Aurora.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org