LAKEWOOD — Shining Mountain senior Jordan Cherin wasn't quite sure what to expect out of himself at the track and field state championships on Friday, but like many athletes competing, he was hoping for a state title.
Not only did he get it, Cherin's first state championship was a big one.
In the Class 1A boys 800-meter run, Cherin finished first with a time of 1 minute, 54.83 seconds. That's a new 1A state meet record.
"I wasn't really expecting that and I kind of walked off the track not knowing what to think and I was shocked," Cherin said. "That's a huge PR for me. The competition out here is so great and it really pushed me to show what I can do."
Cherin's first state title wasn't a cheap win in a slower year, either.
Also in Friday's state finals was Idalia junior Erick Enriquez-Acosta, the 2015 champion and current state meet record-holder. Enriquez-Acosta set the record at 1:56.08 last season and ran fast enough to reset it this year.
But having finished runner-up to Enriquez-Acosta last season and seeing first-hand how strong the Idalia junior was in his second lap, Cherin had a good plan that he executed well in the rematch. Cherin went out fast into the first turn and led the entire first lap. When Enriquez-Acosta overtook Cherin in the first straightaway of the second lap, there was just enough gas left in the tank to retake the lead coming out of the final turn and hold on for the win.
"I knew from the beginning that I would have to start strong or else I wouldn't have a chance," Cherin said. "Then I knew that I had to stay with him. If I gave him any bit of a gap, I never would have been able to catch up. I've had a bit of a distance background in the past, so that really helped me at the end of the race so that I could have that kick.
"But my time, I couldn't have done it without Erick pushing me at the end. That was huge for me."
Cherin will compete in the 100, 200 and 400 on Saturday. If he can finish all three, he will end his prep career having medaled in the 100, 200, 400, 800, 1,600 and 3,200.
On an overall good day for Shining Mountain, senior Mahito Henderson threw 130 feet, 3 inches to place third in the boys discus. In the girls 800, freshman Abby Leuchten (2:29.43) placed fifth and sophomore Emma Schaefer (2:29.86) took sixth. The Lions 3,200-meter relay team also placed third with a time of 10:52.51.
"Halfway through the state, everything is looking really good, even better than we expected," Lions head coach Tyler Haughness said. "The kids are really focusing on what they can and letting the rest of the chips fall where they may. This is one of the best years in terms of all the 1A schools stepping up and we would not be doing as well as we are without that competition."