LAKEWOOD — There isn't much of anything Mary Gillett won't do for her team.

The Niwot senior proved that on Saturday by weakening her chances to defend her Class 4A titles in the 200- and 400-meter dashes by trying to do everything humanly possible to score team points. On Saturday alone, Gillett competed in four individual finals - the 100, 200, 400 and 300 hurdles - all in the span of three and a half hours.

Such a rigorous schedule provided Gillett will little time to prepare for each event and progressively took a toll on her body throughout a short but jam-packed final day of her prep career. She didn't successfully defend either of her individual titles but did finish fourth or better in each of them and scored 28 team points to help the Cougars finish second in the Class 4A team scoring.

That was good enough for Gillett.

"I was always going to do the one, two and four and when long jump wasn't looking as promising for me, we went with the hurdles and that's just the way it all turned out," Gillett said. "I knew I'd be able to tough it out. It's interesting, though, because I didn't have time today to think about the last race. I just had to get in gear for the next one all day long.

"It was tough because each one made me more tired for the next. This year was a little bit different in terms of who I was racing so I knew I just had to fight for as many team points as I could get. It's a little disappointing not to repeat but I did my best and I'm proud of that."


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In cold and rainy conditions that made what she was attempting even more difficult, Gillett finished runner-up in the 100 with a time of 12.21 seconds at 10:30 a.m., ran a 56.53 in the 400 to place third at 11:30 a.m., took third with a 25.18 in the 200 at 1:10 p.m., and finished up with a 44.97 in the 300 hurdles at 2 p.m. that landed her in fourth place on the podium.

In any other year, Gillett's effort would likely have been the cornerstone of a team championship. The Cougars finished with 114 team points, which is the highest total since Mullen won the 4A title with 122 points in 1997. In the previous 20 state meets, only one 4A girls team had hit the century mark (Thompson Valley with 101 in 2009) and even during their run of three straight team championships from 2013-14, the Cougars never approached that total.

But 2018 was Valor Christian's year and the Eagles won the girls team title with an astounding 151.5 points.

Niwot’s Mary Gillett competed in four individual finals on Saturday, helping the Cougars to a second-place finish in the team race at Jeffco Stadium.
Niwot's Mary Gillett competed in four individual finals on Saturday, helping the Cougars to a second-place finish in the team race at Jeffco Stadium. Gillett finished second in the 100 meters. Go to BoCoPreps.com for more photos. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

"Any other year," Cougars head coach Maurice Henriques said. "We knew Valor was going to be tough to beat and we figured if we scored 110 points, we'd give them a run for their money. You can't even be upset because they were in every event they did a great job. But our girls fought the whole meet and we'll go back to work in two weeks and try to figure out how to beat them next year."

Cougars senior Mackenzie Fidelak, who has medaled in 15 of the 16 events she has competed in at state throughout her high school career, highlighted her Saturday by placing third in the 300 hurdles with a time of 44.65. The Cougars 1,600-meter relay team - Erika Timbang, Kelia Portis, Maggie Smith and Taylor James - finished the state meet by winning the state title with a time of 3:55.64. The Cougars also placed fifth in the 400-meter relay, placed three girls in both the 100 and 300 hurdles, placed two girls in the 1,600 and had Erin Carroll place seventh in the pole vault.

"It felt good to win the final event of the meet," Timbang said after the Cougars edged Valor Christian for the 1,600-meter relay title. "We really wanted it. It's been amazing to run with all these amazing girls who have put in so much work it even though we didn't win the team, we feel like we showed Colorado what Niwot it made of."

Brad Cochi: cochib@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BradCochi