LONGMONT — Silver Creek's James Lee had a decision to make.

And it wasn't necessarily an easy one.

The Raptors junior was successful both on the track and on the pitch. But he felt like excelling in both, running and soccer, took away from one another.

"Last year when I did both, I felt like I slightly under-performed in both of them and I knew I could do better in one if I just picked one," Lee said. "Basically it came down to the fact I thought I was a little more talented at running than I was at soccer."

On a warm Saturday afternoon at Everly Montgomery, in the finals of the Northern League's 800 meters, Lee showed why he made the right decision.

He bided his time in the first 400 meters, riding the shoulder of Centaurus pace setter Torey Puckett and then exploded on the final lap — which he ran two seconds faster than his first — and won by three seconds in a comfortable time of 1:55.39.

"The heat was definitely a factor today, so I just wanted to go out there and see how I felt," said Lee, who also won the 1,600. "I felt good after the first lap and I felt like I could take off to try and PR.

"I'm happy with 1:55 and I felt strong at the end of the race and if I had someone pushing me, I'm sure I could go faster."


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One of the biggest reasons Lee went with the running was the hiring of Roger Powley as the Raptors cross country coach and assistant/distance runners track coach. Lee and Powley had combined to do big things on the middle school level and are now making it work on the high school scene.

"He obviously had a lot of talent going all the way back to middle school," Powley said. "The first thing you teach is how to race, and now we are the point with him where I don't think even he knows how fast he can go. Everyday, it's just a matter of how hard can he push himself."

Jack Weis of Mead wins his heat of the 400 meters at the Tri-Valley League Track Meet in Longmont on Saturday.
Jack Weis of Mead wins his heat of the 400 meters at the Tri-Valley League Track Meet in Longmont on Saturday. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

Lee is the ultimate competitor, too, and maybe a bit of that feeds over from his time on the pitch. He is fearless on the track and the results prove that.

"He has that attitude that there is no one out there that he is going to let dominate him in a race," Powley said. "And that is how he runs."

Lee is in a good spot headed into the next few weeks and feels like his preparation for the state meet is right on coarse, as does his coach.

"Now it's just about putting a fine edge on that speed and get him ready to go and run hard for those two days," said Powley, a native of New Zealand.

Another one of the more impressive runs on Saturday was that of Skyline's Jack Wathen in the 400 meters.

He won the Tri-Valley League title in an nifty 50.42 seconds, but post race it was easy to see that he was a little disappointed with his effort and has some work to do in the coming weeks.

"I've been at 50.4 the last couple of weeks and it has been a little frustrating," said Wathen, who got a chance to see what he was up against two races prior when Mountain View's Nolan Kembel went 48.10 to win the Northern title. "It was pretty cool to see how fast he was running and you wish you could run with him, cause stuff like that pushes you a little more.

"Maybe I'll see him over at state."

Jon Yunt: yuntj@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/JonEYunt

NORTHERN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS

At Everly Montgomery

BOYS

Team scores — Silver Creek 146, Longmont 142.33, Mountain View 137, Thompson Valley 87.33, Niwot 83, Centaurus 39.83, Greeley Central, 35.5, Northridge 27.

100 meter dash — 1. Nolan Kembel, Mountain View, 10.88; 2. Gift Chinda, Thompson Valley, 11.18; 3. Luke Gordley, Mountain View, 11.28.

200 dash — 1. Nolan Kembel, Mountain View, 21.86; 2. Luke Gordley, Mountain View, 22.58; 3. Marcel Gutierrez, Mountain View, 22.93.

400 dash — 1. Nolan Kembel, Mountain View, 48.10; 2. Marcel Gutierrez, Mountain View, 50.37; 3. Jose Limas, Longmont, 50.92.

Daniel Ford of Silver Creek wins his heat in the 400 meters at the Tri-Valley League Track Meet in Longmont on Saturday.
Daniel Ford of Silver Creek wins his heat in the 400 meters at the Tri-Valley League Track Meet in Longmont on Saturday. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

800 run — 1. James Lee, Silver Creek, 1:55.39; 2. Adam Marcus, Mountain View, 1:58.80; 3. Oskar Wells, Niwot, 1:58.97.

1,600 run — 1. James Lee, Silver Creek, 4:27.72; 2. Brock Dykema, Silver Creek, 4:30.14; 3. Josh Torres, Northridge, 4:30.65.

3,200 run — 1. Brock Dykema, Silver Creek, 9:51.42; 2. Josh Torres, Northridge, 9:58.27; 3. Kenny Lang, Niwot, 9:59.67.

110 hurdles — 1. Nolan Kembel, Mountain View, 15.04; 2. Luke Gorley, Mountain View, 15.07; 3. Charlie Brunner, Thompson Valley, 15.19.

300 hurdles — 1. Luke Gordley, Mountain View, 38.33; 2. Charlie Brunner, Thompson Valley, 40.23; 3. Carter Osteen, Niwot, 41.96.

400 relay — 1. Longmont (Cruz Garcia, Nick Paone, Carson Willis, Yarib Estrada) 44.04; 2. Niwot 44.61; 3. Silver Creek 44.71.

800 relay — 1. Longmont (Yarib Estrada, Nick Paone, Danny Ahern, Alex Santucci) 1:30.45; 2. Niwot 1:31.75; 3. Mountain View 1:32.65.

1,600 relay — 1. Longmont (Jose Limas, Danny Ahern, Daniel Nichols, Alex Santucci) 3:27.76; 2. Niwot 3:33.51; 3. Greeley Central 3:39.26.

3,200 relay — 1. Silver Creek (Eliott Cassidy, Logan Simington, Brock Dykema, James Lee) 8:08.16; 2. Greeley Central 8:16.71; 3. Centaurus 8:18.35.

Long jump — 1. Gustaf Backman, Longmont, 21-2.5; 2. Marcel Gutierrez, Mountain View, 20-11; 3. Carson Willis, Longmont, 20-9.75.

Triple jump — 1. Gift Chinda, Thompson Valley, 45-10; 2. Gustaf Backman, Longmont, 42-7; 3. Trent Dykema, Silver Creek, 41-8.

High jump — 1. Charlie Brunner, Thompson Valley, 5-9.5; T2. Will Murphy, Longmont, 5-9.5; T2. Owen Koonce, Centaurus, 5-9.5; T2. Braydon Besse, Thompson Valley, 5-9.5.

Discus — 1. Brock Knechtel, Silver Creek, 170-0; 2.Sam Merrill, Longmont, 154-0; 3. Samuel Dirkes, Silver Creek, 144-6.

Shot put — 1. Samuel Dirkes, Silver Creek, 48-0; 2. Brock Knechtel, Silver Creek, 47-1.5; 3. Roch Croteau, Mountain View, 44-3.

Pole vault — 1. Gustaf Backman, Longmont, 12-10; 2.Austin Leech, Silver Creek, 11-10; 3. Colin Roberts, Centaurus, 11-4.

TRI-VALLEY LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS

BOYS

Team scores — Roosevelt 166, Windsor 126, Mead 107, Skyline 93.5, Berthoud 73.5, Holy Family 68, Erie 54, Frederick 12.

100 meter dash — 1. Luke Desmond, Windsor, 11.30; 2. Braden Kram, Skyline, 11.33; 3. Brayden Hamby, Roosevelt, 11.39.

200 dash — 1. Luke Desmond, Windsor, 22.37; 2. Braden Kram, Skyline, 22.77; 3. Kyle West, Skyline, 22.79.

400 dash — 1. Jack Wathen, Skyline, 50.42; 2. Cameron Hurtado, Roosevelt, 52.29; 3. Brayden Hamby, Roosevelt, 52.30.

800 run — 1. Hunter Payne, Mead, 2:00.18; 2. Rasce Engelhardt, Holy Family, 2:02.32; 3. Jack Weis, Mead, 2:02.86.

1,600 run — 1. Cale Englert, Windsor, 4:29.86; 2. Justin McDaniel, Mead, 4:32.42; 3. Braden Bartlett, Holy Family, 4:40.90.

3,200 run — 1. Cale Englert, Windsor, 9:48.45; 2. Hayden DeBuse, Mead, 10:13.14; 3. Justin McDaniel, Mead, 10:14.03.

110 hurdles — 1. Brett Freitag, Windsor, 15.40; 2. Angelo Hurtado, Roosevelt, 15.51; 3. Robert Pagano, Roosevelt, 15.72.

300 hurdles — 1. Brett Freitag, Windsor, 40.20; 2. Joseph Meek, Roosevelt, 41.36; 3. Angelo Hurtado, Roosevelt, 41.80.

400 relay — 1. Skyline (Moses Rivera, Jack Wathen, Kyle West, Braden Kram) 43.16; 2. Berthoud 44.22; 3. Erie 45.06.

800 relay — 1. Windsor 1:29.74; 2. Berthoud 1:31.91; 3. Erie 1:32.96.

1,600 relay — 1. Skyline (Braden Kram, Moses Rivera, Kyle West, Jack Wathen) 3:30.94; 2. Erie 3:33.52; 3. Holy Family 3:34.49.

3,200 relay — 1. Mead (Isaac Dukes, Orion Gorham, Hunter Payne, Jack Weis) 8:21.31; 2. Erie 8:25.08; 3. Holy Family 8:30.57.

Long jump — 1. Michael Zeman, Holy Family, 20-1; 2. Andrew Meza, Roosevelt, 19-8.5; 3. Quintin Hyrup, Erie, 19-4.25.

Triple jump — 1. Brock Voth, Berthoud, 42-2.75; 2. Caleb Kimball, Roosevelt, 40-5; 3. Stone Samaras, Holy Family, 39-11.5.

High jump — 1. Jalen Butkus, Windsor, 5-11.5; 2. Giovanni Lara, Roosevelt, 5-9.5; T3. Jack Wathen, Skyline, 5-9.5; T3. Connor Siruta, Berthoud, 5-9.5.

Discus — 1. Henry Carlson, Skyline, 142-11; 2.James Heater, Roosevelt, 140-10; 3. Austin Majerus, Mead, 133-4.

Shot put — 1. Mikey DeRock, Roosevelt, 47-4; 2. James Heater, Roosevelt, 46-9.75; 3. Henry Carlson, Skyline, 45-0.5.

Pole vault — 1. Brayden Davis, Roosevelt, 12-10; 2.Jason Ayres, Windsor, 12-4; 3. Rydman Terry, Roosevelt, 11-10.

MILE HIGH LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS

BOYS

Team scores — Lyons 199, Heritage Christian 168.5, Highland 163.5, Denver Christian 54, Dayspring Christian 42, Gilpin County 27, Twin Peaks 12, Denver Academy 7, Nederland 4.

100 meter dash — 1. Caleb Urwiller, Dayspring Christian, 11.26; 2. Trey Allmon, Highland, 11.62; 3. Jojo Bork, Heritage Christian, 11.67.

200 dash — 1. Tyron Booysen, Denver Christian, 23.24; 2. Josh Damir, Heritage Christian, 23.48; 3. Jojo Bork, Heritage Christian, 23.71.

400 dash — 1. Jeremiah Mascarenas, Highland, 53.60; 2. Josiah Bowsher, Heritage Christian, 53.63; 3. Jack Ball, Gilpin County, 53.81.

800 run — 1. Isaiah Bowsher, Heritage Christian, 2:00.94; 2. Colton Jonjak-Plahn, Lyons, 2:01.04; 3. Levi Kilian, Highland, 2:06.13.

1,600 run — 1. Levi Kilian, Highland, 4:35.65; 2. Colton Jonjak-Plahn, Lyons, 4:36.29; 3. Isaac Roberts, Lyons, 4:37.85.

3,200 run — 1. Isaac Roberts, Lyons, 10:19.38; 2. Seth Bruxvoort, Heritage Christian, 10:35.09; 3. Levi Kilian, Highland, 10:40.38.

110 hurdles — 1. Nate Christy, Lyons, 16.12; 2. Josh Damir, Heritage Christian, 16.52; 3. Connor Salem, Heritage Christian, 17.18.

300 hurdles — 1. Josh Damir, Heritage Christian, 40.92; 2. Connor Salem, Heritage Christian, 44.10; 3. Thomas Varra, Highland, 44.55.

400 relay — 1. Denver Christian 45.29; 2. Lyons 45.98; 3. Heritage Christian 46.70.

800 relay — 1. Heritage Christian 1:34.86; 2. Denver Christian 1:35.83; 3. Lyons 1:36.02.

1,600 relay — 1. Lyons (Ethan Burton, Field Soosloff, Isaac Roberts, Colton Jonjak-Plahn) 3:42.16; 2. Heritage Christian 3:45.56; 3. Highland 3:51.29.

3,200 relay — 1. Lyons (Landon Milbrath, Adam Crowl, Jaiden Batts, Field Soosloff) 9:02.08; 2. Highland 9:06.70; 3. Heritage Christian 9:17.26.

Long jump — 1. Caleb Urwiller, Dayspring Christian, 20-8; 2. Trey Allmon, Highland, 19-2.5; 3. Jaden Johnson, Heritage Christian, 18-7.

Triple jump — 1. Tristan Chavez, Lyons, 38-9; 2. Connor Salem, Heritage Christian, 37-11.5; 3. Levi Kilian, Highland, 37-7.

High jump — 1. Colton Jonjak-Plahn, Lyons, 5-8.5; 2. Tristan Chavez, Lyons, 5-6.5; 3. Isaiah Bowsher, Heritage Christian, 5-6.5.

Discus — 1. Kyle Frohling, Lyons 120-9; 2.Colton Hanratty, Lyons, 105-7; 3. Koby Anderson, Highland, 103-8.

Shot put — 1. Ulysses Jaquez, Highland, 40-9.5; 2. Koby Anderson, Highland, 40-6.5; 3. Kyle Frohling, Lyons, 38-7.5.

Pole vault — 1. Chase Jonjak, Lyons, 9-10; 2.Thomas Varra, Highland, 9-4; 3. Noah Krier, Denver Christian, 8-10.