LAFAYETTE — After resisting the change initially, Mead senior thrower Jaxon Bennett finally caved and decided to implement a scream during his release in order to generate some additional power.
While working on the new addition during the week, Bennett broke the Mead High School shot put record during practice and he promptly did it again in official competition during the Boulder County Championship at Centaurus High School's Spangenberg Field on Saturday. Considering the fact that he threw multiple personal bests on his way to a mark of 49 feet, 3 inches and a Boulder County shot put championship, it's fair to assume that Bennett will be screaming when he throws from now on.
With a few breakout performances like Bennett's and three other first-place finishes led by sophomore sprinter Jake Wachter, the Mavericks boys also won their first-ever Boulder County team championship.
"It was a really awesome day and the fact that my team came up after I threw both of those PRs and congratulated me made it more awesome," Bennett said. "We had great weather and I had a great week before and screaming definitely turned out to be a difference-maker and played a big part in my big day. I was really happy with how it turned out."
Just from hanging out around the shot put pit and the discus cage over the past year or so, regional opponents like Bennett, Silver Creek's Sam Dirkes and Skyline's Henry Carlson often become friends. Those friendships don't change the fact that top-tier guys like Dirkes and Carlson know they will provide some of the each other's top competition at the state championships on May 17-19.
Dirkes, who placed eighth in Class 4A in both throwing events as a sophomore at state last year, is Colorado's current leader in the shot put with a mark of 54 feet, 6 inches. Carlson, who placed 10th in the 4A state discus and 14th in the shot put as a junior last spring, is currently third in the state in the discus with a mark of 164-5. Dirkes is sixth in the discus at 162-9.
Though Dirkes has the edge in the shot put and Carlson has the advantage in the discus, it was Dirkes who prevailed in the discus when they renewed their friendly rivalry during the Boulder County Invitational.
"It was a lot of fun," Dirkes said after winning the discus with a mark of 152 feet even. "Me and my buddy Henry, we're both right at it. I love having competition with Henry. Me and him going back-to-back, we just had a great time together. We always have. It was stressful to start because I wasn't hitting my spots but I'm thankful to my coaches for calming me down and getting my mental game going. I got my 152, so that's good. I was having an off day but I came back and at least got the victory."
With Dirkes unable to compete in the shot put because of a wrist injury, Carlson finished runner-up to Bennett despite throwing a personal-best 47-05.25 of his own.
Elsewhere at the Boulder County Championships, Fairview's Max Carter-Kemp set a stadium record while winning the 400-meter dash in 49.65 seconds and was named Most Valuable Athlete on his birthday. Monarch's Max Manson set the meet record at 16 feet even in the pole vault and Silver Creek's James Lee tied the meet record of 1:53.97 while winning the 800-meter run.
"I just wanted to get out in the lead and try to PR," said Lee, who owns the second-best 1,600-meter time in the country at 4:10.66. "Normally, I sit in second so it was good to see what I could do leading the race from the beginning."
Broomfield's Mitchell Gorman swept the hurdles to help the Eagles finish second in the team scoring. Clearing 6-03 in the high jump, Longmont's Eddie Kurjak was the only male freshman to win an individual event on Saturday.
Boulder County Championship
At Centaurus H.S.
Team scores — 1. Mead 97, Broomfield 95, Monarch 79.5, Longmont 68, Niwot 67.5, Silver Creek 66, Fairview 61, Centaurus 54.5, Lyons 31, Skyline 28, Boulder 22, Erie 20, Frederick 7, Peak to Peak 5.5.
100 meter dash — 1. Jake Wachter, Mead, 11.39; 2. Max Carter-Kemp, Fairview, 11.47; 3. Nathan Bailey, Mead, 11.61.
200 dash — 1. Jake Wachter, Mead, 22.27; 2. Max Carter-Kemp, Fairview, 22.32; 3. Alex Herman, Niwot, 22.43.
400 dash — 1. Max Carter-Kemp, Fairview, 49.65; 2. Hunter Payne, Mead, 51.01; 3. Jack Wathen, Skyline, 51.55.
800 run — 1. James Lee, Silver Creek, 1:53.97; 2. William Dixon, Monarch, 1:55.97; 3. Adam Huonder, Erie, 1:59.03.
1,600 run — 1. Michael Mooney, Broomfield, 4:23.71; 2. Brock Dykema, Silver Creek, 4:25.32; 3. Joseph Carwin, Broomfield, 4:31.31.
3,200 run — 1. Isaac Roberts, Lyons, 9:50.25; 2. Justin McDaniel, Mead, 9:52.72; 3. Henry Bownman, Centaurus, 10:00.17.
110 hurdles — 1. Mitchell Gorman, Broomfield, 15.72; 2. Charley Sagrillo, Centaurus, 15.74; 3. Zackery Collins, Mead, 16.05.
300 hurdles — 1. Mitchell Gorman, Broomfield, 39.98; 2. Mitchell Waters, Monarch, 40.34; 3. Tyler Waters, Monarch, 40.86.
400 relay — 1. Mead (Ryan LaVanchy, Nathan Bailey, Riley Martin, Jake Wachter), 44.07; 2. Broomfield, 44.60; 3. Longmont, 44.62.
800 relay — 1. Broomfield (Robert Ortega, Caden Peters, Mitchell Gorman, Kaleb Foreman), 1:31.64; 2. Monarch, 1:33.29; 3. Longmont, 1:33.62.
1,600 relay — 1. Niwot (Emrick Wells, Alex Herman, Cruz Culpepper, Oskar Wells), 3:28.11; 2. Mead, 3:28.56; 3. Broomfield, 3:32.37.
3,200 relay — 1. Niwot (Kamran Elahi, Benjamin Bi, Oskar Wells, Cruz Culpepper), 8:07.87; 2. Erie, 8:16.15; 3. Monarch, 8:16.57.
Long jump — 1. Asher Sugianto, Centaurus, 21-01; 2. Cole Bragstad, Fairview, 20-06; 3. Maliek Swain, Centaurus, 20-04.5.
Triple jump — 1. Trent Dykema, Silver Creek, 43-03.75; 2. Will Murphy, Longmont, 42-06.5; 3. Bryson Tillema, Mead, 41-07.5.
High jump — 1. Eddie Kurjak, Longmont, 6-03; 2. Will Murphy, Longmont, 6-01; 3. Owen Koonce, Centaurus, 5-11.
Discus — 1. Sam Dirkes, Silver Creek, 152-00; 2. Ben Fuchs, Monarch, 134-09; 3. Henry Carlson, Skyline, 132-11.
Shot put — 1. Jaxon Bennett, Mead, 49-03; 2. Henry Carlson, Skyline, 47-05.25; 3. Caleb Kennedy, Broomfield, 46-04.25.
Pole vault — 1. Max Manson, Monarch, 16-00; 2. Samuel Godwin, Broomfield, 13-04; 3. Dylan Rodgers, Boulder, J13-04.