Hayden senior Chris Zirkle throws his hands up soon after winning the 3,200-meter run on Friday at the state track meet in Lakewood. Zirkle won a thrilling duel with a late sprint, claiming his first state championship.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Hayden senior Chris Zirkle throws his hands up soon after winning the 3,200-meter run on Friday at the state track meet in Lakewood. Zirkle won a thrilling duel with a late sprint, claiming his first state championship.

2 titles for Hayden Tigers at state track

Zirkle, Haskins claim championships

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Results

■ 4A boys 800 finals

1. Boris Berian, Widefield, 1:52.18

2. Nolan Mayhew, Cheyenne Mountain, 1:52.66

3. Jake Fox, Cheyenne Mountain, 1:56.00

13. Jeff Sperry, Steamboat Springs, 1:59.80

■ 2A girls 3,200 finals

1. Kelley Robinson, Nederland, 11:33.84

2. Melissa Roberts, Lyons, 11:35.81

3. Rachel Hampton, Telluride, 11:38.95

13. Josie Rosie, Soroco, 13:13.04

15. Savannah Williams, Hayden, 13:13.28

■ 2A girls 100 hurdles prelims

1. Caitlyn Hubbard, Limon, 15.77

2. Lindsey Stindt, Telluride, 16.24

3. Corrine Huthoefer, The Vanguard School, 16.83

13. Micaela Meyer, Soroco, 17.75

■ 2A girls 300 hurdles prelims

1. Emy Ludwig, Telluride, 46.73

2. Caitlyn Hubbard, Limon, 47.10

3. Corrine Huthoefer, The Vanugard School, 46.74

12. Micaela Meyer, Soroco, 49.48

■ 2A girls 3,200 relay finals

1. Lyons, 9:55.25

2. Telluride, 10:07.22

3. Wray, 10:10.01

14. Soroco, 10:44.30

■ 2A girls 1,600 relay prelims

1. Akron, 4:06.52

2. Telluride, 4:09.93

3. Paonia, 4:12.68

13. Soroco, 4:24.78

■ 2A girls 800 relay finals

1. Akron, 1:45.29

2. Lyons, 1:48.12

3. Dolores, 1:46.96

13. Soroco, 1:52.89

■ 2A girls 400 relay prelims

1. Dolores, 51.15

2. Lyons, 52.64

3. Sedgwick County, 52.17

8. Soroco, 53.37

■ Class 2A girls shot put

1. Aubree Haskins, Hayden, 35 7-1/2

2. Keala Reeverts, Burlington, 34 11-3/4

3. Ella Saunders, Akron, 33 10-1/2

■ 2A boys 800 relay finals

1. Wray, 1:30.58

2. Lyons, 1:31.10

3. Meeker, 1:33.39

16. Soroco, 1:38.10

■ 2A boys 3,200 run finals

1. Chris Zirkle, Hayden, 9:28.79

2. Ty Williams, Telluride, 9:30.88

3. Chris Lessard, Custer County, 10:09.06

■ 2A boys pole vault finals

1. Johnny Ornelas, Sedgwick County, 13-0

2. Casey Haga, Ignacio, 12-6

3. Jourdan Hottinger, Akron, 12-6

14. AJ Anderson, Soroco, 10-0

15. Peyton Martindale, 9-6

■ 2A boys 300 hurdles prelims

1. Logan Merrill, Akron, 40.22

2. Spencer Cure, Burlington, 41.34

3. Alex Bernholtz, Dolores, 40.67

7. Hayden Blake, Hayden, 42.02

17. David Strait, Soroco, 45.52

■ 2A boys triple jump finals

1. Kyle Baker, South Park, 44 0-1/2

2. Kaleb Sackman, Ouray, 43 8-1/2

3. Coley David, Burlington, 43 7-0

15. Nic Paxton, Soroco, 38 5-0

16. David Strait, Soroco, 37 8-3/4

■ 2A boys 400 relay prelims

1. Paonia, 43.11

2. Lyons, 44.20

3. Hoehne, 43.75

18. Soroco, 47.50

■ 2A boys 3,200 relay finals

1. Lyons, 8:14.81

2. Telluride, 8:14.89

3. Wray, 8:35.33

15. Soroco, 9:06.50

■ 2A boys 110 hurdles prelims

1. Logan Merrill, Akron, 15.73

2. Bradey Scherrer, Limon, 15.78

3. Justin Lowder, Sargent, 16.17

5. Hayden Blake, Hayden, 16.78

— Hayden High School junior Aubree Haskins’ face split into a smile so wide, so warm it seemed to hold off the rain and cool weather that besieged the day.

Tigers’ senior Chris Zirkle threw his arms in the air, to his forehead and to the air again, his face wavering between utter exhaustion and sheer exultation.

The Tigers were champions twice over Friday, the second day of the state track meet at Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood.

Haskins broke through with a powerful statement in the shot put, and Zirkle hung on with a desperate surge in the 3,200-meter run.

Both were incredible moments, punctuated by fist pumps, cheers and tears on what was a very good day to be a Tiger.

“It feels like a lot of hard work just paid off,” Zirkle said.

Zirkle and Haskins were among the favorites in their events, but both championship performances were so dramatic, it was difficult not to be stunned.

Haskins was good, not great in the three preliminaries attempts in the shot put. She entered the finals in fourth place and was again good with her fourth throw. Her fifth, however, soared like none other would, a 35 foot, 7 1/2 inch hurl that brought a roar from the crowd and, eventually, a gold medal to Haskins’ mantle. She was beaming from the moment she let the attempt go and only stopped once en route to the top of the medal stand.

Burlington’s Keala Reeverts, the top performer from the preliminary round, let loose a rocket of her own with her final attempt. Haskins’ face turned ashen as the distance was calculated, but bright eyes returned when the attempt came up nearly eight inches short.

Haskins was a state champ, Hayden’s second in the shot put in four years.

“I knew I had it there,” Haskins said about the key throw. “I was pretty happy. I just gave it my all that throw to try and get up there.

“It was pretty exciting going on the podium, especially knowing I have another year to get up there, too.”

When Zirkle climbed atop the same championship podium, he couldn’t stop burying his face in his hands as he tried to wrap his head around just what he’d accomplished. That was 30 minutes after he’d crossed the finish line in what was the day’s best race, and he still couldn’t believe it.

He threw his arms up in celebration as he finished, before he fell to the track and again after athletic trainers picked him back up. He threw them up as he walked away from the finish line and after he traded tears and hugs with his overwhelmed family.

“It doesn’t even feel real,” Zirkle said later.

So many times it almost slipped away.

He fell in behind Telluride’s Ty Williams from the start of the race. The pair dumped the field midway through the second lap, and Williams tried to dump Zirkle for the next five. Williams, however, could never create a gap larger than a few feet.

“Each lap, I kept telling myself, ‘One more. One more,’” Zirkle said. “He was really pouring it on. Every step I thought I might break, but I thought about how much I wanted it, and I kept going.”

Prodded on by an engaged crowd, the pair launched into the final lap as though it were the first, quickening long strides. Williams added a few feet to his lead in the first 50 meters, but Zirkle hung on and at last made his move. The pair was even with 250 meters remaining, and Zirkle took control, finishing the final 200 meters on a dead sprint, or what passes for one after such an epic duel.

His time, 9 minutes, 28.79 seconds, was 15 seconds faster than he’d ever run a 3,200, 8 seconds faster than anyone had ever run one at a Class 2A state championship and 2 seconds faster than Williams ran.

“I knew if I could hang with him, I could out-kick him. I was pretty happy I made it to the bell lap still right behind him,” Zirkle said. “It was cool to win it. And to get the state meet record, too? It’s all unbelievable.”

It was that kind of day for the Tigers. Senior hurdler Hayden Blake qualified for the finals in both his events, the 110- and 300-meter hurdles. He qualified seventh in the 300s and fifth in the 110s.

He’s guaranteed two state medals of his own, and will be joined on the final day of competition by Dakota Zehner and Brandon Ray in the high jump. Zirkle, too, will compete. He’ll clash with Williams, this time in the 1,600.

Soroco advances 1 team to finals

Soroco athletes spent plenty of time on the track Friday, and the girls 400-meter relay team was fast enough to earn the right to compete again Saturday.

The squad, with Lauryn Bruggink, Ceanna Rossi, Jaelyn Whaley and Micaela Meyer, flew around the track, but had to sit through several long minutes to figure out whether they had made the cut.

They did, logging the eighth fastest time at 53.37 seconds.

“We knew it was really close, so it was pretty stressful. But it was a lot of fun,” Meyer said. “We had a bad handoff in our (800 relay), but this one was a nice rebound.”

A bad final handoff helped drop the team to 13th in the 800 relay. The 1,600 relay team was also 13th, and the 3,200 relay team finished 14th.

Meyer was 12th in the 300 hurdles and 13th in the 100 hurdles. Rossi edged out Hayden’s Savannah Williams and another runner to finish 13th in the 3,200. Rossi was in at 13:13.04, Lyons’ Izzy Solman at 13:13.07 and Williams at 13:13.28.

“I wanted to die trying to keep up with those girls,” Rossi said. “I was trying to relax. It’s always really fun running at state.”

The boys 3,200 relay team was 15th, the 800 relay team was 16th and the 400 relay team 18th.

David Strait was 17th in the 300 hurdles and 16th in the triple jump, just behind Nic Paxton, who finished 15th. AJ Anderson was 14th in the pole vault, and Peyton Martindale was 15th.

“We’re a little disappointed, but we made it here, and I’m really happy we got to run,” David Strait said. “Of course, you’d always like to get a medal, but these are the best kids. It’s tough.”

Steamboat’s Sperry 13th

Steamboat’s lone representative of the meet, Jeff Sperry, placed 13th in the Class 4A 800, finishing at 1:59.80. The race was tight the whole way, all 12 runners in front of Sperry finishing in an 8-second window. The compacted, elite field made moving up difficult, Sperry said.

“It was crazy. I’ve never been in a race with this many good people,” Sperry said. “I ended up running a lot of it on the outside, trying not to get boxed in. I was hoping to catch more on the last 300. I started to move, but I kind of lost it coming around (the last turn).

“It wasn’t my best race, but it’s been a good season and running at state was a great way to finish.”

— To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or e-mail jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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