LAKEWOOD — As she unlaced her spikes for the final time and shared hugs with her teammates, Niwot senior Kela Fetters was able to look past a relatively disappointing weekend for the Cougars and focus on the remarkable ride she just finished.
"I don't think anything could compare to my high school track seasons," Fetters said at the conclusion of Saturday's Class 4A state track and field meet. "I've just had the greatest ride and I'm so lucky I was able to come and be a part of a team like Niwot that had its sights focused on a team title every single year. To be a part of that for four years is just incredible and it's a high standard."
That high standard is why Niwot left Jefferson County Stadium with some disappointment.
The Cougars won the 4A girls team title three years in a row from 2013-15 — the only three team titles in program history — and really felt they had a chance to win a fourth.
Throughout the three-day meet, however, Niwot stumbled a bit too much and wound up in third, with 58 points. The Classical Academy coasted to the title with 84.5 points, while Air Academy was second with 64.5.
"This meet, I feel like, has been hit or miss with all of our events," junior Alexis Carroll said. "It's been a lack of consistency with this meet in general."
After missing out on a few points Thursday and Friday, Niwot needed some great fortune Saturday to win another title, and didn't get it.
Carroll was trying to defend her title in the 100-meter hurdles and finished second. Still, she was pleased with that race.
"It was a good race for me for this season," she said. "I've had kind of a flat season with hurdles this year, so it was a good race for me and eight points helped us a lot."
Fetters was the defending champion in the 300 hurdles and she finished fourth.
"That was a disappointing race because I came in wanting to defend my title from last year and I felt like I was in the right mental place for that," Fetters said, "but when Bailey Sharon of Green Mountain passed me on the final 100, I just didn't have it in me to go with her."
To get 58 points, there were certainly highlights, including on Saturday.
Sophomore Mackenzie Fidelak was second in the 300 hurdles and fourth in the 400.
To cap the meet, the Cougars finished second in the 1,600-meter relay. They had won that event three years in a row and set a school record (3:54.75), but had to tip their cap to Classical Academy, which came in 2.65 seconds faster.
"We were definitely aiming for first, but the time we ran, it was a school record time — it was a really good time — so I don't think any of us are disappointed with the race," Fetters said. "I'm just glad that our girls were able to come out and finish after having such a disappointing three days."
In the end, even if Niwot had done as expected, it might have been difficult to catch Classical Academy. So, Fetters came away looking at the positive as she reflected on her four seasons.
"It definitely wasn't what we were hoping for (this week), but I think what we'll take away from it is that we're a team and we made so many great memories together and we bonded through it all," she said.
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.