LONGMONT — It's looking early on like a banner year could be in the cards for the Skyline track and field program.
Neither the Skyline girls or boys track teams have finished higher than 31st at the state championships in the past three seasons. The spring weather in 2016 has hardly provided Colorado's track teams with opportunities to compete and register marks, but the Falcons are already making a case that this might be the year they take a big leap forward.
At the Boulder Snow Invitational, the first meet of the season, senior Alex Hellenberg set a school record of 17 feet, 10.25 inches in the long jump. That's about a good start as she and the Falcons could have asked for.
"This is definitely a strong team and the program has definitely evolved since getting (head coach) James Davis," Hellenberg said. "Not only are we better physically, but we're better as a team. The team is honestly shaping up to be one of the best we've ever had so I'm excited to see what happens at state."
Hellenberg competes in all the jumping events - the long jump, triple jump, pole vault and high jump - but has been resting since the season opener after spraining her foot during pole vault practice. At last year's state championships, she placed fourth (36-6.5 feet) in the triple jump, eighth (16-11.5) in the long jump and 10th (5-1) in the high jump.
For the first three years of her prep career, Hellenberg's best event has been the triple jump. After setting a significant personal best in the long jump, she's looking forward to seeing what she can do in the triple jump this season as well. She figures to be in the mix for a top-three triple jump medal this season, as she is one of three returning jumpers to finish in the top five in 2016 along with Longmont senior Sydney Wetterstrom and Berthoud senior Alyssa Strong.
"Coming out and breaking the school record is a great start for me because usually you don't come out and do something like that to start the season that well off," Hellenberg said. "There are always a lot of ways to improve so it was great to come out of swim season and straight into track, it's really awesome to go way further than my PR has ever been."
Hellenberg isn't the only Falcons athletes to have claimed a school record already in 2016. On the boys side, senior Aaron Carmichael cleared 13-4 in the pole vault to set a school record.
"I haven't been vaulting even a year yet," Carmichael said. "I started midway through last summer. Right when I was over, I just had a burst of happiness and I screamed a bit. I'm excited. I'm really, really excited."
The Falcons' talent doesn't stop at Hellenberg and Carmichael and it doesn't appear the Falcons will stop at resetting the school record books twice this season.