LYONS — Peak to Peak's Anna Shults has a history of stress fractures in her feet dating back to her eighth-grade and freshman seasons, so this winter the junior distance runner opted for more of a preventative training strategy.
Forgoing indoor track and field over the winter months, Shults instead competed in club Nordic skiing. While still getting the opportunity to prepare her body for the rigorous spring track and field season, Shults gained the added benefit of giving her feet and legs a much-needed reprieve from the constant pounding that running demands.
So far in 2018, it seems as though that method has paid off.
At the Lyons Invitational on Saturday, Shults won the 800-meter race with a time of 2 minutes, 17.66 seconds. Not only did she outpace a loaded field, Shults also ran Colorado's third fastest 800 time of the season thus far.
"I hit the first split I was going for in the 400," Shults said. "I feel pretty good about getting a 2:17 this early in the season because I didn't do any indoor track and just skied over the winter with a few of my Boulder friends. Now it's all about getting back into training and getting back into racing. I know the times will come later."
The fast overall pace of Saturday's 800-meter race helped Shults meet her early-season expectations. Pumas teammate Tiana Bradfield finished runner-up to Shults with a time of 2:18.64, which is now the fourth fastest time in the state. The field also included Roosevelt's Madi Kenyon (2:19.74) and the fifth fastest time, Niwot's Maggie Smith (2:20.18 at Windsor Invite) and her ninth fastest time, Boulder's Claudia Burgess (2:21.49) and the 13th fastest time, as well as Monarch's Hailey Leader, who ran the state's 14th fastest time of 2:21.
Also helping Class 3A Peak to Peak finish 10th in the team scoring, two-time cross country champion Quinn McConnell won the 1,600-meter race in 5:07.79.
"This year we're really focused on bonding as a team, especially the top four girls," Shults said. "We're all really close and we're trying to stick together so we can help each other in races. That's a big goal of ours. Everyone on the team is really focused not just on ourselves, but on the bigger aspect that is the team."
Led by Mary Gillett's meet record (56.60) in the 400, and freshman Taylor James' meet record (5 feet, 3.5 inches) in the high jump, the Niwot girls won the team competition by 24 points over runner-up Lutheran. The Cougars also won the 800-meter relay and set a meet record of 4:05.19 in the 1,600-meter relay.
"Taylor James is really improving," Niwot head coach Maurice Henriques said. "She was up to 5-4 last week and today she runs the 4-by-8 and still comes back having an 800 on her legs and was still able to perform in the high jump. That's a good sign from a freshman. She's going to be a big part of our season and we expect her to be a big contributor at state."
Monarch sophomore Mia Manson's time of 12.29 in the 100-meter dash and mark of 16-11 in the long jump each would have been meet records had she not finished second to nationally-ranked Maya Evans from Lutheran in both events. Manson, who won the 5A pole vault state title last spring, took first in the event on Saturday.
The Broomfield girls were sixth as a team, led by their 3,200-meter relay team - Katelyn Mitchem, Vanessa Kort, Lauren Felknor and Madison Mooney - setting a meet record of 9:30.62.
At Lyons H.S.
Team scores — Niwot 117, Lutheran 93, The Classical Academy 69, Valor Christian 69, Roosevelt 54, Broomfield 46, Monarch 43, Mead 36, Longmont 34, Peak to Peak 30, Arvada West 27, Vista Ridge 24, Thompson Valley 21, Jefferson Academy 20, Boulder 20, Lyons 13, Nederland 9, Shining Mountain 6, Frontier Academy 6, Faith Christian 2, Air Academy 1, Erie 1.
100 meter dash — 1. Maya Evans, Lutheran, 12.28; 2. Mia Manson, Monarch, 12.29; 3. Kayla Waterman, Longmont, 13.11.
200 dash — 1. Maya Evans, Lutheran, 25.13*; 2. Mary Gillett, Niwot, 26.09; 3. Claudia Valenzuela, The Classical Academy, 26.34.
400 dash — 1. Mary Gillett, Niwot, 56.60*; 2. Madison Mooney, Broomfield, 58.07; 3. Camille Peisner, Valor Christian, 58.54.
800 run — 1. Anna Shults, Peak to Peak, 2:17.66; 2. Tiana Bradfield, Peak to Peak, 2:18.64; 3. Madi Kenyon, Roosevelt, 2:19.74.
1,600 run — 1. Quinn McConnell, Peak to Peak, 5:07.79; 2. Kenadi Krueger, Thompson Valley, 5:15.55; 3. Liz Hogan, Monarch, 5:15.76.
3,200 run — 1. Katie Flaherty, Classical Academy, 11:46.65; 2. Claire Pauley, Arvada West, 11:49.09; 3. Mikaela Hansis, Mead, 12:08.81.
100 hurdles — 1. Destiny Grimes, Valor Christian, 15.43; 2. Lizzie Waters, Valor Christian, 15.47; 3. Mackenzie Fidelak, Niwot, 16.16.
300 hurdles — 1. Lizzie Waters, Valor Christian, 45.32; 2. Mackenzie Fidelak, niwot, 45.79; 3. Karla Degadillo, Vista Ridge, 46.82.
400 relay — 1. Vista Ridge (Karla Delgadillo, Kaylin King, Reganice Small, Cadence Huntsinger), 50.66; 2. Niwot, 51.30; 3. Roosevelt, 53.60.
800 relay — 1. Niwot (Mackenzie Fidelak, Mary Gillett, Maggie Smith, Kayla Nowlin), 1:43.55; 2. The Classical Academy, 1:44.61; 3. Lutheran, 1:46.03.
1,600 relay — 1. Niwot (Maggie Smith, Kayla Nowlin, Erika Timbang, Taylor James), 4:05.19*; 2. Vista Ridge, 4:16.74; 3. Lutheran, 4:17.78.
3,200 relay — 1. Broomfield (Katelyn Mitchem, Vanessa Kort, Lauren Felknor, Madison Mooney), 9:30.62*; 2. Niwot, 9:5562; 3. Valor Christian, 10:07.70.
Sprint medley — 1. The Classical Academy, 1:55.43; 2. Roosevelt, 1:591.0; 3. Arvada West, 2:02.08.
Long jump — 1. Maya Evans, Lutheran, 18-01.50*; 2. Mia Manson, Monarch, 16-11-.00; 3. Mary Gillett, Niwot, 16-04.50.
Triple jump — 1. Caitlin Simmons, Lutheran, 35-05.00; 2. Lily Margolis, Boulder, 34-04.50; 3. Abby Glynn, Mead, 33-11.50.
High jump — 1. Taylor James, Niwot, 5-03.50; 2. Aaliyah Robinson, Jefferson Academy, 4-11.00; 3. Emily Black, Roosevelt, 4-09.00.
Discus — 1. Logan DeRock, Roosevelt, 124-06*; 2. Kaitlyn Bridge, Longmont, 108-04; 3. Joy Fifitan, Broomfield, 104-09.
Shot put — 1. Katie Dack-Howell, Lutheran, 36-07.50; 2. Joy Fifita, Broomfield, 36-00.00; 3. Logan DeRock, Roosevelt, 35-02.00.
Pole vault — 1. Mia Manson, Monarch, 12-02.00; 2. Erika Willis, The Classical Academy, 11-08.00; 3. Avery Vieregger, Valor Christian, 11-02.00.
* Denotes meet record