LAKEWOOD — Rylee Anderson has officially finished what she started.
Four years ago, Anderson won the Class 4A high jump state championship as a freshman at Jefferson County Stadium. The Silver Creek senior defended her title as a sophomore and again as a junior last spring.
On Thursday, Anderson's final trip to Jefferson County Stadium for the Colorado track and field state championships ended in final high jump state title and a fitting end to a truly outstanding prep career.
"I definitely wanted to do it," Anderson said. "I've tried to keep my goals closer and to things like PRing, getting all-conference and things like that. But that has always been there in the distance and has always been my main goal. It feels amazing to finish it."
In Thursday's high jump finals, Anderson and Vista Peak sophomore Raina Branch were the final two jumpers remaining at the end. Both girls cleared 5 feet, 7.5 inches and took several tries at 5-8.5 trying to break the 4A state meet record of 5-8.25 set by Skyline's Jill Fadenrecht in 1999. Both girls cleared the final height and since both Anderson and Branch cleared 5-7.5 on their second tries, the officials had to go back to number of attempts at 5-6.5 to decide the title. While Branch needed three tries, Anderson cleared the 5-6.5 bar on her first attempt and was awarded the tiebreaker and the 2018 state championship.
She may not have gotten the state meet record but Anderson tied her personal best mark to this point in the outdoor season. After winning her first three state titles by at least an inch, having her last victory as a Raptor before she heads off to the University of Kansas next season come down to a tiebreaker also made it more exciting.
"It's amazing and I'm so happy to get it," Anderson said. "I think it's the competition pushing me that has allowed me to do it. I'm pretty competitive and it's hard for me to keep going so having Taylor (James of Niwot) and Raina there today was the best."
Niwot freshman Taylor James, who entered the state meet seeded first in the high jump, cleared 5-5.5 to place third. As one of five freshmen to qualify, James said competing against Anderson and Branch made her state meet debut extra thrilling given the gravity of the historic moment.
"It was a serious competition," James said. "We all had goals and we all wanted to get that number one spot. It ended up that the person with the most focus who won and that was Riley. I'm proud of how I competed against those great girls. I feel like I scored good points for my team. Riley has always been a role model that I've looked up to and tried to emulate. Now that she's graduating, I'm excited to see how I can improve myself and just keep trying to get higher heights."
Now that Anderson is moving on, James appears poised to begin her own run of high jump dominance in the BoCoPreps.com area. With a personal best of 5-8.25 already, she wants to break the Niwot school record of 5-9 and clear six feet before she graduates.