LAKEWOOD — Niwot senior Alyssa Jenkins figured she had nothing to lose, and with that approach, she wound up surprising even herself with her results.
Jenkins placed sixth in the Class 4A girls long jump at the state track and field championships at Jefferson County Stadium on Friday. Her best jump of 17 feet, 3 inches, exceeded her previous best by eight inches.
"I felt like it's what I knew I could do all along, but it wasn't working, so it's really satisfying to finally put it all together and get a good jump in," Jenkins said.
Jenkins came into the competition seeded 17th out of 18 competitors.
"No (I didn't expect to place), and I think that's part of the reason I jumped well," she said. "Since I was going in 17th, no one really expected me to do anything, so it was just kind of fun. I figured just go after it and do my best."
Although Jenkins had a great day, it was a tough day for Niwot in general.
Chasing a fourth consecutive Class 4A team title, the Cougars have made it difficult on themselves as they go into Saturday. Air Academy is first with 44.5 points, followed by Cheyenne Mountain (25), Classical Academy (24.5) and Niwot and D'Evelyn (tied with 21).
"(Saturday) would have to be super great," Niwot head coach Maurice Henriques said. "If we step up and we pull off (some great results), which anything can happen in track and field, then we have a chance."
Niwot missed out on some points Friday, though.
Alexis Carroll went into the long jump seeded third, but her best jump (16 feet, 5.5 inches) was nearly two feet below her best and she didn't make the finals.
The heartbreaker, though was the 800-meter relay. Niwot finished fifth, which is where it was seeded, but was disqualified for a zone violation.
"I don't think we've ever been DQ'd on a relay in my whole coaching career and it's disappointing that we get DQ'd because we just don't line up right, so we didn't give ourselves a chance," Henriques said. "It's disappointing, but I also call it a teaching moment. We have a young team and there's first-timers. You're going to have some mistakes."
Niwot still has plenty of chances to score points on Saturday, especially in the hurdles, but the competition has plenty of chances, too.
Fourth for Hellenberg
A day after claiming the state title in the 4A girls triple jump, Skyline senior Alex Hellenberg placed fourth in the long jump.
Like many of the long jump competitors, though, Hellenberg was well below her best.
"The two longer jumps I did were both scratches, so it was kind of disappointing," said Hellenberg, who still improved upon last year's eighth-place finish in the long jump. "Kind of disappointed in my performance today, but overall, I'm OK with it. I have the summer to compete."
She also has one last event in high school, as she will compete in the pole vault on Saturday.
Cranny's records still stand
Throughout her prep career, former Niwot and current Stanford University distance runner Elise Cranny set a number of records.
Over the two years since she graduated, many of Cranny's records have been under siege from Air Academy's Katie Rainsberger, Cranny's successor as Colorado's top prep female runner.
On Friday at the state championships, Rainsberger took a run at Cranny's record in the 3,200-meter run and fell just six seconds short. Cranny's Colorado prep record and the 4A state meet record of 10:17.48 still stands.
Later in the day on Friday, Rainsberger came within 1.47 seconds of Cranny's state meet record of 2:08.50 in the 800-meter run.
Fournier finishes strong
Boulder senior Isaac Fournier placed fourth in the 5A boys 800-meter run with a personal-record time of 1:57.10.
Fournier came into the meet not expected to place, as he was seeded 14th.
In the girls 800, Boulder sophomore Lauren Neugeboren came up just short of a medal, finishing 10th, but she set a school record with a time of 2:15.65. The old mark of 2:16.19 was set by 2015 graduate Emery Bradlina at the Front Range League championships last year.
Niwot's Gregory Trippe shined in both the mixed 100-meter dash and the mixed 200-meter dash on Friday.
Trippe placed third in the 200 with a time of 29.96 seconds and took sixth in the 100 with a time of 15.68. Niwot's Naomi Bastow finished the 200 in 43.51 to take 14th.
In the 100, Boulder's Fernando Hern placed 13th with a time of 16.77.
Fairview's Hannah Freeman placed fourth in the 5A girls 800 meters with a personal record time of 2:12.83. ... Mead senior Dane Myers and Niwot senior Noah Woeste came into the 4A boys long jump competition seeded 16th and 17th, respectfully. Despite not jumping their best, both won medals, as Myers was sixth (20-11.75) and Woeste was eighth (20-9). ... Jefferson Academy junior Christian Van Cleave finished fifth in the Class 3A boys 800-meter run with a season-best time of 1:59.40. He came in seeded 17th. ... In Friday's paper, Mark Pilmore's name was misspelled in listing the members of Boulder's 3,200-meter relay team that set a school record in 1971. That record was broken on Thursday.