Hayden senior Chris Zirkle crosses the finish line just ahead of Telluride's Ty Williams on Saturday in the 1,600-meter run at the Class 2A state track meet in Lakewood. It was the second time in as many days Zirkle used a late kick to beat Williams for a state championship. Zirkle also won the 3,200 run Friday.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Hayden senior Chris Zirkle crosses the finish line just ahead of Telluride's Ty Williams on Saturday in the 1,600-meter run at the Class 2A state track meet in Lakewood. It was the second time in as many days Zirkle used a late kick to beat Williams for a state championship. Zirkle also won the 3,200 run Friday.

2 titles for Hayden's Zirkle at state track

Tigers senior again a champ, winning 1,600

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May 20, 2011: 2 titles for Hayden Tigers at state track

— Hayden High School senior Chris Zirkle spent 95 percent of his on-track time at the 2011 state track meet in Lakewood staring at the back of Telluride junior Ty Williams’ head. Still, after catching, then passing Williams with a thrilling last-lap surge Saturday for the second time in as many days, dominance was the only way to describe Zirkle’s two-championship performance at the season-ending meet

Hayden’s quiet yet fierce Zirkle added a 1,600-meter crown to the 3,200 title he took Friday, beating Williams and an all-around competitive field to the finish line with a style that, after succeeding wildly twice, seemed not desperate but brilliant.

“This is a great feeling,” Zirkle said. “I kept thinking about how much work I put in, and that’s why I didn’t let up. I’m still a little bit in shock.”

Zirkle’s second championship highlighted another successful day for local athletes at the state meet. Hayden had two other medal-worthy finishes, and Soroco had one.

Zirkle, though, dominated the show.

His 1,600 wasn’t compelling

the same way the gutty 3,200 had been the day prior but only because the race was half as long. It still boiled down to a race between Zirkle and Williams. Several other athletes hung with the pair through much of the race, and with 300 yards to go, three were in position to win.

Just as he had Friday, Zirkle made his move halfway through the last lap. He pulled even with his competition then, as the crowd roared, passed, flying around the final turn and down the homestretch with all that he had.

“I was pretty tired, but I knew he was tired, too. I tried to do it just like yesterday, stay with him then out-kick him at the end,” Zirkle said. “He tried to break away on the third lap. He picked up the pace, but I stayed with him.”

The final win capped a season of dreams for the senior. He finished his Hayden career with four state medals and two championships.

On Saturday, he finished the 1,600 in 4 minutes, 28.28 seconds. Williams was in at 4:28.66, and Telluride’s Colten Rogers was third at 4:31.55.

Zirkle was joined on the medal podium Saturday by classmate Hayden Blake, who scored medals in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles.

Just making the state meet was a lofty goal when Blake started the season, but he soon raised his expectations and, on Saturday, realized them. He placed seventh in the 110 hurdles with a time of 16.64 and was eighth in the 300 at 42.02.

“I was really excited when I made it into finals. I’m just so happy to place at state,” Blake said. “l wanted to run as hard as I could, and I did that.”

Soroco found the podium Saturday, as well. The team qualified a heap of relay squads to state, and the girls 400 relay team cashed in with an 8th-place finish.

The squad was one of the last of the nine teams to qualify for finals, and edged out Fowler for eighth place.

It wasn’t the medal haul the Rams had hoped for, but after the Saturday race, the team of Lauryn Bruggink, Ceanna Rossi, Jaelyn Whaley and Carmen Mathews couldn’t find much to be disappointed about.

“We could have done better, but we tried our hardest and left it all out there,” Whaley said.

“I’ll miss all the people,” Rossi, the squads only senior, said, glancing up at the stands packed with spectators. “This is an adrenaline rush. It’s great running here.”

Hayden’s Aubree Haskins followed up her Friday shotput state championship with an 18th place finish in the triple jump. Soroco’s Josie Rossi wrapped up her four-event meet by placing 17th in the 1,600. Nic Paxton, who competed in three events for Soroco, placed 11th in the long jump, missing finals by just 2-3/4 inches. Hayden’s Brandon Ray, meanwhile, was 10th in the high jump, and teammate Dakota Zehner was 17th.

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

Day 3 results

2A girls triple jump

1. Kathryn Doll, Meeker, 36 feet, 4-3/4 inches

2. Nola Basey, Lyons, 35 6-1/2

3. Marci Vasa, Holyoke, 35 5-0

18. Aubree Haskins, Hayden, 30 6-3/4

2A girls 1,600-meter run

1. Kelley Robinson, Nederland, 5 minutes, 20.51 seconds

2. Rachel Hampton, Telluride, 5:25.22

3. Rebecca Hermann, Nederland, 5:28.66

17. Josie Rossi, Soroco, 6:06.40

2A girls 400 relay

1. Dolores, 50.37

2. Dayspring Christian, 52.28

3. Sedgwick County, 52.31

8. Soroco, 53.56

2A girls team standings

1. Lyons, 116 points

2. Akron, 102

3. Telluride, 81

24. Hayden, 10

35. Soroco, 2

2A boys high jump

1. Ethan Browning, Cripple Creek, 6-10

2. Kenny Philpott, Mancos, 6-3

3. Chandler Dohe, Limon, 6-2

10. Brandon Ray, Hayden, 5-10

17. Dakota Zehner, Hayden, 5-8

2A boys long jump

1. Forrest Donnell, Lyons, 21 10

2. Kyle Baker, South Park, 20 10-1/2

3. Randy Roblyer, South Park, 20 3-1/4

11. Nic Paxton, Soroco, 19 0-1/4

2A boys 1,600

1. Chris Zirkle, Hayden, 4:28.28

2. Ty Williams, Telluride, 4:28.66

3. Colten Rogers, Telluride, 4:31.55

2A boys 110 hurdles

1. Bradey Scherrer, Limon, 15.35

2. Logan Merrill, Akron, 15.47

3. Justin Lowder, Sargent, 15.93

7. Hayden Blake, Hayden, 16.64

2A Boys 300 hurdles

1. Alex Bernholtz, Dolores, 40.38

2. Logan Merrill, Akron, 40.78

3. Spencer Cure, Burlington, 41.16

8. Hayden Blake, Hayden, 42.02

2A boys team standings

1. Lyons, 88 points

2. Wray, 59

3. Burlington, 48

12. Hayden, 23

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

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