If you go
What: State Track and Field Championships
When: Thursday through Saturday, 7:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m.
Where: Jefferson County Stadium, 500 Kipling Street, Lakewood
Cost: $10 general admission, $7 students/senior citizens
More info: chsaa.ticketleap.com
BROOMFIELD — It's one of the oldest cliches around, but it's also true — you just can't teach speed.
In Broomfield senior Brenna Chase's case, you make a few adjustments to the style and to the approach to enhance it even more.
"It's been fun having her out, that is for sure," said Broomfield girls coach Justin Hazzard, who along with Craig Boccard have transformed the first-year track star into a three-event state qualifier. "It has also been painful having her in the school and knowing what she was capable of."
Like a majority of the Eagles' track coaching staff that was drooling at the prospect of having her show off her skills, they had to sit and watch as she continued her first love on the hardwood, playing club basketball in the spring.
But with her basketball future locked up with a scholarship Brigham Young University in the fall, Chase had a little extra free time this spring and decided to strap on the cleats and give it a go.
"I figured why not," she said. "It keeps me in shape and it's fun."
It's especially fun when you are winning, and she has done that a lot.
"I think after a couple of races I realized that I wasn't half bad at this," said Chase, who will compete in the 100, 200 and 400 meters this Thursday at the state track and field meet at Jefferson County Stadium. "So I continued to do it."
But it hasn't been as simple as just lacing up the cleats and going out and running. Boccard and Hazzard knew the skill was there, it was just a matter of tinkering with a few things.
The coaches noticed that early on her arms were "really sloppy," according to Hazzard. Boccard made it a point of emphasis to get her arms under control and moving down the track in a more seamless manner.
Even at her most raw, Chase was able to rewrite the Broomfield record book almost right out of the gate. She broke a 30-year-old record in the 400 and heads to state with a personal best 57.01-second run.
"I think she had more speed than I initially thought," Hazzard said. "From a technical side she has really improved her upper body and from a strategy side in the (200) and the (400) she has learned to run them a lot better."
At the BoCo Invite, where she was named the female Most Outstanding Performer, Chase swept the three sprints and, earlier in the month, at the St. Vrain Invitational, she came within .01 seconds of vanquishing Alexi Cox's 2012 record in the 200.
Chase is obviously used to being center stage, leading the Eagles on the basketball court, so the spotlight at state track should be no big deal.
Still she has expectations and wants to go and perform well and let the chips fall where they may.
"I'm just going to have fun with it and whatever happens, happens," she said. "I hope I do well, but if I don't, I'm not going to be torn up about it."
Elsewhere around Class 5A: The distances have always been a strength in the BoCo area and this year is no different. Especially in the 3,200 meters, where five of the 18 qualifiers — led by Boulder's Claudia Burgess (7th fastest time at 11:19.97) — are from the region.
Keep an eye on the pole vault. Fairview's Annalise Arant (3rd best jump at 11-6) and Heidi Liles (11-0) are in line to make the podium, and with a few breaks could be at the top.
In Class 4A: It has been about the dominance of Niwot over the past three seasons and while some of the names are gone, the Cougars still have a chance to leave their mark.
Niwot's strength this year is certainly in the hurdles. Both Kela Fetters (300 hurdles) and Alexis Carroll (100 hurdles) are both legitimate contenders in the respective events. The Cougars 1,600 relay team is also the fastest qualifier.
There are a whole host of field competitors that figure to challenge for titles: Skyline's Alex Hellenberg (long jump and triple jump), Silver Creek's Rylee Anderson (defending champion in high jump) as well as teammate Abigail Gray (pole vault).
In Class 3A: Peak to Peak's talented underclassmen burst on to the seen during the cross country season and have turned the Pumas into a force.
That same group has enjoyed success on the track and there will be plenty of blue and white represented on the podium, especially in the 800. Quinn McConnell (top qualifier), Tiana Bradfield (3rd) and Christina Hamerly (4th) should wage their own personal Puma battle in that race.
Peak to Peak's field prowess is notable too. Keep an eye on both Robin Peterson (high jump) and Tessa Anderson (shot put).
In Class 2A: Sierra Tucker and CeAnn Udovich are the latest in the long line of Lyons distance runners. The duo are highly seeded in both the 800 and 1,600 and are both a part of the Lions' 3,200 relay team that enters the state meet seeded first by 16 seconds ahead of the nearest competition.
Finally in Class 1A: Abby Leuchten and Emma Schaffer carry the flag for the Shining Mountain Lions into the state meet.
Leuchten is seeded third in the 1,600 and Schaffer has qualified fourth, as well as third in the 3,200. The Lions also have the second fastest time in the 3,200 relay.