LAKEWOOD - In the moments after she won her first state title as a freshman two years ago, the thought of winning four in a row had yet to cross the mind of Rylee Anderson.
It's been a goal ever since, however, and on Sunday, the Silver Creek junior took another step toward achieving it. Anderson won the Class 4A state title in the girls high jump at Jefferson County Stadium, giving her three titles in three years in the event.
"It feels great to win a third consecutive and to three-peat," she said after a winning jump of 5 feet, 8 inches. "I totally credit the people who have been competing with me and how they push me to make me better."
Anderson's victory was one of many highlights for the Raptors on Sunday. James Lee won a state title in the boys 800 and placed third in the 1,600; Brock Knechtel finished as runner-up in the boys shot put; and the Silver Creek boys claimed five medals on the day and finished third overall in the team standings.
Anderson, the first Raptor to win three state titles, did miss out on the state meet record. She had a personal best of 5-10 earlier in the year, but on Sunday missed on her three attempts at 5-8.5. Skyline's Jill Fadenrecht still holds the 4A state meet record, at 5-8.25, from 1999.
"I was disappointed, but I also just won state, so it's hard to really be disappointed in yourself," Anderson said. "I always have next year to get (the record), so I'm really hoping for that. The state title is what I was going for this year."
By winning the state title yet again, Anderson is set up for a run at No. 4 in her senior year.
"That's a huge motivator for me," she said. "When I won it my freshman year, I thought, 'I want to win it four times, because I think that would be really cool.' That kind of motivates me when I have off days or when I'm out of it mentally; I think about that and it re-motivates me."
Lee has been motivated all year and capped a remarkable surge over the past 12 months with three top-three medals. In addition to winning the 800 and finishing third in the 1,600, he helped the Raptors place second in Saturday's 3,200 relay.
Although favored to win both of his individual events, he wasn't complaining about taking just one of them.
"Obviously I wanted two championships," he said. "I was ranked first and felt like I had them, or at least had a really good chance and I didn't quite come through, but at the same time, last year I didn't even make state in the 1,600 and in the 800, I got 13th. I had no idea I'd be where I am today a year ago. I thought I'd be lucky to win state as a senior."
In the 800, Lee posted a personal-best time of 1 minute, 54.21 seconds and cruised to the finish line.
"When I got to the last 100 meters, I realized that I had it," he said. "It just all of a sudden dawned on me and I was very happy."
Knechtel, who won the discus on Saturday, tied his personal record in the shot put (52 feet, 11.25 inches), but was topped by Widefield's Nathaniel Miller for the title.
Brock Dykema added an eighth-place medal in the 1,600 and Samuel Dirkes an eighth-place medal in the shot put.
The Raptors, who scored 52 points, had scored a total of 33 points in the previous six state meets combined. This was their first top-10 finish since placing sixth in 2010.
Lee credited first-year head coach Craig Sherman and his staff for helping the Raptors this year.
"We made a big leap this year," he said. "It's because of the new coaches."