LAKEWOOD — The second day of the Colorado state track and field championships was a blur for Holy Family's Rasce Engelhardt.
What happened in the Class 3A boys 800-meter run was so unexpected that he had to keep reminding himself for hours afterwards that he hadn't imagined it.
Engelhardt entered the 800 finals with a seed time of 2 minutes, 0.83 seconds that put him in 15th place and pegged him as a long shot if not a near impossibility to even make it onto the podium. Well, the Tigers junior took that shot and ran with it, recording a 1:56.41 in the race to win one of the more improbable state championships in recent memory.
"I don't really know where it came from," Engelhardt said. "I just ran a PR by like five seconds. I wasn't really thinking about it too much and it just kind of worked out. I never thought I would have a chance to win it. I was at the 250-to-go mark and I counted six guys ahead of me. I just thought that this is one of the last races I'm going to run this year so I might as well give it all I've got."
In the 400-meter preliminaries the night before, Engelhardt was seeded 17th and finished 16th. He was expecting the 800 on Friday to play out similarly.
Engelhardt was boxed in by several other runners coming around the first turn of the second and final lap. But he found and alley and broke free, kicking with 250 meters left and narrowly edging Denver West's Yasin Sado by four hundredths of a second to claim the title.
"I thought it was going to turn out the same way as the 400," Engelhardt said. "But I had my buddy Braden (Bartlett) in there with me and he was seeded fifth. He was a little bit ahead of me and he definitely helped me kick it in there at the end with about 100 to go."
Tigers junior Braden Bartlett placed fourth with a time of 1:57.85.
Also for Holy Family on Friday, junior Diandra Romero placed fifth in the 3A girls discus with a mark of 112 feet, 4 inches. Senior Payton Corah placed seventh in the 3A girls 800 with a time of 2:18.57.