LAKEWOOD — A year ago at the state track and field meet, Silver Creek's Brock Knechtel let nerves get the best of him.
He didn't let that happen this year.
On Saturday at Jefferson County Stadium, Knechtel claimed the Class 4A state title in the boys discus with a personal best throw of 176 feet, 4 inches. He won by nearly 14 feet over second-place Nathaniel Miller of Widefield (162-07).
"It means a ton," the Utah State-bound Knechtel said. "I'm so thankful for my family, my coaches, my Lord, Jesus Christ. I'm so grateful for this.
"Last year, it was just my nerves; I wanted it so bad. This year I wanted it just as bad, but the past few meets, it's been my nerves I've been trying to calm down and get all together."
Fourth place a year ago, Knechtel got off to a rough start by fouling on his first throw Saturday.
"The first throw I was freaking out because I fouled and you start to psych yourself out," he said.
He then threw a personal-best 173-7 on his second throw before launching his winning throw on his third attempt.
"I got my mark and then I was just trying to improve each throw," said Knechtel, who is favored to win the shot put on Sunday.
Longmont's Sam Merrill placed fifth in the discus, while Silver Creek's Samuel Dirkes was eighth.
In the 4A 3,200-meter relay, Silver Creek's Eliott Cassidy, Logan Simington, Brock Dykema and James Lee teamed up to place second with a time of 7:59.56.
Schaefer shines for Lions
Shining Mountain junior Emma Schaefer didn't waste any time claiming her first state title at the state championships on Saturday.
In the morning's 1A 3,200-meter run, Schaefer took first place with a time of 12:36.77.
"It was really good to start the day off with the two-mile and I think things are going really great, which is exciting," Schaefer said. "One of our runners in the four by eight is sick so we had to throw in someone else. But all three of the other girls are freshmen, so they did really great."
Also for Shining Mountain, junior Marina Flandrick finished as runner-up in the 1A girls pole vault. Her best vault of 8 feet, 11 inches was just an inch shy of her season best. Teammate Phoebe Nicault, a freshman, was seventh.
On the boys side, three Mountain Lions won medals in the 1A pole vault - Jack Colvin (fourth), Reid Hill (sixth) and Howie Seim (eighth) - and Max Saliman was fifth in the 3,200 meters.
Lyons vaulters raise the bar
The Lyons girls pole vaulting group expected to have a good first day at the track and field state championships, but maybe didn't expect to do quite as well as they did.
In the final event of the evening, Lions senior Brenna Kuskie cleared 11 feet, 1 inch to place first while her sophomore sister cleared 10-7 to take second. Freshman Katie Fankhouser cleared 8-1 to place eighth.
In his first state meet event, Lyons freshman Isaac Roberts, the latest in a long line of talented runners in his family, placed fifth in the 2A boys 3,200-meter run.
Later in the day, Roberts helped the Lions to a runner-up finish in the 3,200-meter relay. He teamed with Field Soosloff, Ethan Burton and Colton Jonjak-Plahn for a time of 8:24.05, just .14 of a second behind first-place Cedaredge.
The Lyons girls also finished second in the 3,200 relay. Senior Ceann Udovich, junior Georgia Barone and freshmen Katie Fankhouser and Hannah Paton teamed up on that race.
Knights claim relay title
The Fairview girls cruised to the state championship in the 5A 3,200-meter relay, posting a winning time of 9:13.42 that was nearly 14 seconds faster than their previous best this season.
It was the first event championship for any Fairview relay or individual since 2014. The Knights, who were runner-up in the 3,200 relay a year ago, finished 9.5 seconds ahead of second-place Broomfield.
Seniors Sarah King and Hannah Freeman teamed with junior Isabella Bowland and sophomore Marlena Preigh for the Knights.
Broomfield also posted a season-best time in the event, clocking in at 9:20.92. The Eagles had four juniors on the team: Emily and Katelyn Mitchem, Madison Mooney and Laura Thompson.
Gorman finishes 4th
This season, Broomfield junior Mitchell Gorman posted the 15th-best time in the Class 5A boys 300-meter hurdles.
On Saturday, however, only three could beat him. Gorman posted a personal-best time of 39.02 seconds - more than a second faster than his previous best - to place fourth at state. Gorman finished sixth a year ago.
Fairview placed seventh in the 5A girls 800 medley relay. ... Mead's Sophia Maeda finished sixth in the 4A girls 3,200-meter run, while teammate Abby Glynn was sixth in the 300 hurdles. ... In the 4A girls 800 medley relay, Mead placed fourth, while Erie came in fifth. ... Skyline had its season-best time of 1:29.72 in the 4A boys 800-meter relay, placing fourth. Longmont was seventh. ... Holy Family's Jody Gallagher placed fourth in the 3A girls shot put, while Jefferson Academy's Kelli Raff was sixth. ... The Holy Family boys 3,200-meter relay team placed fourth with a time of 8:13.10.