LONGMONT — Distance running will always be synonymous with Boulder County, but there seems to a growing community of female prep track athletes pursuing a particular field event with abounding success.
With Monarch freshman Mia Manson leading the way, the Colorado pole vault leaderboard is chock full of Boulder County representatives — many of whom were on hand at Saturday's Boulder County Invitational at Everly-Montgomery Field.
Looking at statistics provided to MaxPreps.com — which is used to determine the top 20 rankings in each classification for May's state competition — BoCo schools held the top placing in girl's pole vault in four of the five classes. Beyond that, in the top 25 of the state regardless of class, nine are local.
"It's so much fun to compete with all these girls because we are all really pretty good friends and we train together," Manson said. "I think the competition comes from being part of the Above the Bar pole vault club. Basically everyone in Boulder and around goes there, so we're all super close.
"It's a great place to learn. Girls like Alison (White, of Broomfield), we push each other to be better."
Manson didn't improve on her state-leading mark of 12 feet, 9 inches on Saturday, but she did notch another meet victory in the event, vaulting a height of 12-3. Right on her tail was White, who moved up state-wide after a top vault of 11-9. And as a show of the all-class domination in the event, Lyons' Brenna Kuskie (2A's top marker so far) hit 10-3 with four other girls tying at that height.
Also in the mix at 10-3 were Fairview's Annalise Arant, Lyons' Logan Kuskie, Peak to Peak's Robin Peterson and Monarch's Heidi Liles. Silver Creek's Abigail Gray, the top girl in 4A so far in 2017, did not compete at the BoCo.
The name Manson may ring a bell, as MoHi's Max Manson finished second at state as a freshman and once again claimed a BoCo Invite. Mia said she has already set some lofty goals for this year, and she's elated that she is on track with a little more than one month to go.
"I am super excited for the three-and-a-half years I still have, but I'm excited for what I've done so far and just am looking to continue to improve," Mia Manson said, noting that The Classical Academy's Erika Willis is someone she has gone back and forth with state-wide. "I want to push the records at Monarch, and I've set some pretty high goals that I think I can meet. I really want to jump 13 feet in pole vault, just because that's a big milestone."
The 41st edition of the BoCo Invite welcomed pride-filled performances from all the local schools, including the Niwot girls who won the team title for the eighth straight year with 172 points. The Cougars were led by Alexis Carroll, Mackenzie Fidelak and Mary Gillett — the latter a four-event winner and a meet record-setter in the 400 on Saturday.
Gillett's 400 time of 56.29 made for the only record set on the day, but a number of others were threatened. Broomfield's Madison Mooney, a transfer from Horizon who helped the cross-country team to a 5A title in October, came down the home stretch in the 800 eyeing Claire Green's time of 2:12.12, but the heat weakened the legs just enough to keep that one in the books.
Still, Mooney finished first in 2:15.20 and just ahead of Longmont's Cammy Manes. Broomfield finished second as a team with 94 points. Monarch was third with 91 points.
"I definitely wanted to run a faster time than I did, but I think the heat took a toll on almost everyone in that race," Mooney said. "But Cammy was right on me the whole time, and she's such an awesome competitor. I'm thankful to have someone like that to keep me going."
"Track is more of an individual sport (than cross country), but I definitely think as a team we all want the best for each other and continue to do the best we can."
Other individual winners included Frederick's Julia Wyatt in the shot put — she also ran the 400 leg of the Warriors' winning 800 sprint medley team — Lyons' Ixchel Leeuwenburgh (discus), Peak to Peak's combination of Quinn McConnell and Anna Schults (1,600 and 3,200, respectively), and Silver Creek's Rylee Anderson (high jump).
BOULDER COUNTY INVITATIONAL
at Everly-Montgomery Stadium
Team scores — 1. Niwot 172, Broomfield 94, Monarch 91, Longmont 63, Fairview 57, Mead 44, Boulder 38.5, Lyons 34, Peak to Peak 28, Frederick 27.5, Erie 26.5, Silver Creek 26, Skyline 20.5, Centaurus 19.
100 meter dash — 1. Mary Gillett, Niwot, 12.46; 2. Mia Manson, Monarch, 12.48; 3. Danielle Honan, Monarch, 12.86.
200 dash — 1. Mary Gillett, Niwot, 25.58; 2. Mackenzie Fidelak, Niwot, 26.05; 3. Jamie Hegg, Boulder, 26.37.
400 dash — 1. Mary Gillett, Niwot, 56.29; 2. Marlena Preigh, Fairview, 57.70; 3. Hannah Freeman, Fairview, 58.48.
800 run — 1. Madison Mooney, Broomfield, 2:15.20; 2. Cammy Manes, Longmont, 2:16.58; 3. Tiana Bradfield, Peak to Peak, 2:20.63.
1,600 run — 1. Quinn McConnell, Peak to Peak, 5:00.93; 2. Holly Bent, Monarch, 5:08.14; 3. Audrey Lookner, Monarch, 5:09.99.
3,200 run — 1. Anna Schults, Peak to Peak, 11:14.17; 2. Jenna McCaffrey, Niwot, 11:44.57; 3. Lauren Baker, Silver Creek, 11:47.65.
100 hurdles — 1. Alexis Carroll, Niwot, 15.21; 2. Mackenzie Fidelak, Niwot 16.01; 3. Abby Croell, Broomfield, 17.15.
300 hurdles — 1. Mackenzie Fidelak, Niwot, 45.65; 2. Abby Glynn, Mead, 46.00; 3. Abby Croell, Broomfield, 48.76.
400 relay — 1. Monarch (Cherry Santos, Crouse, Honan, Manson), 49.54; 2. Longmont (Berger, Bridge, Hitchcock, Waterman), 51.50; 3. Niwot (Grant, E. Gillett, Nowlin, Timbang), 52.34.
800 relay — 1. Niwot (Timbang, E. Gilllett, Nowlin, Fidelak), 1:47.21; 2. Erie (Brett, Hawkins, Hahn, Brand), 1:47.41; 3. Mead (Chosky, Glynn, Postle, Stephen), 1:47.91.
1,600 relay — 1. Broomfield (McNeill, Casasanta, Mitchem, Thompson), 4:03.85; 2. Boulder (Hegg, Margolis, McClements, Neugeboren), 4:04.60; 3. Mead (Bell, Glynn, Postle, Chosky), 4:05.66.
3,200 relay — 1. Niwot (C. Gillett, McCaffrey, Dishon, Smith), 9:50.90; 2. Centaurus (Hooten, Gover, Geldean, Calvo), 10:10.20; 3. Monarch (Leader, Moore, A. Wexler, S. Wexler), 10:16.28.
Sprint medley — 1. Frederick (Hewitt, Neu, Nives-Martin, Wyatt), 1:55.63; 2. Niwot (Noterman, Trank, Portis, Nowlin), 1:58.25; 3. Fairview (Edfors, Sakellaris, Dalla Betta, Thornberry), 2:00.66.
Long jump — 1. Mary Gillett, Niwot, 17-7.5; 2. Alexis Carroll, Niwot, 17-0; 3. Carina Schmid, Fairview, 16-11.5.
Triple jump — 1. Alexis Carroll, Niwot, 36-11.25; 2. Carina Schmid, Fairview, 34-11; 3. Abby Glynn, Mead, 34-8.25.
High jump — 1. Rylee Anderson, Silver Creek, 5-5; 2. Katherine McCain, Longmont, 5-1; 3. Mia Manson, Monarch, 5-1j.
Discus — 1. Ixchel Leeuwenburgh, Lyons, 114-8; 2. Joy Fifita, Broomfield, 102-7; 3. Rachel Oliver, Niwot, 97-0.
Shot put — 1. Julia Wyatt, Frederick, 35-9; 2. Joy Fifita, Broomfield, 35-1; 3. Victoria Thorn, Mead, 31-6.
Pole vault — 1. Mia Manson, Monarch, 12-3; 2. Alison White, Broomfield, 11-9; 3. Brenna Kuskie, Lyons, 10-3.