Joe Mitchem is a man of few words, even when it comes to moving on to one of the nation’s top distance running programs. But if anything, the Broomfield middle distance ace plans on letting his actions speak for him at the University of Colorado.
“Their great coaching and history with the program, it’s an incredible opportunity for my career,” Mitchem said Wednesday.
Eagles track had a heyday in its third signing ceremony of the season on Wednesday, with the team moving two runners to NCAA Division-I programs. In addition to the Buffs recruit, Harrison Einspahr inked his letter of intent to continue his sprinting career at the University of Wyoming. Both the runners have produced the times to turn heads this season.
Mitchem owns Class 4A’s top 800-meter run time, a 1:55.52 registered at the Runner’s Roost Invite in Fort Collins. His 4:25.24 in the 1,600 at the April 21 Boulder County Championships also puts him among the elite in his classification.
Einspahr produced the state’s fasted 200-meter dash time at the Boulder County meet, finishing with a 21.68. And while he is smoking it in the 100, his 10.73 from the March 23 ThunderRidge Invitational lags behind 4A’s top time by a few tenths of a second.
“Really, I didn’t think I had Division-I times,” Einspahr said. “But (the Wyoming coaching staff) thought they were appropriate.”
Einspahr’s run this season is especially heartening given the senior was sidelined with a torn ACL his junior year.
Former Broomfield state champion Trent Ireland use to tell his younger teammate he had the potential to be among the state’s best when healthy. But even with the present BYU freshman sprinter’s words proving prophetic, Einspahr is still in disbelief with how far he has come in one season.
“It’s been a surprise, but also a blessing from above,” he said.
Broomfield also signed off a pair of basketball players at the ceremony.
The boys team moved its sharp-shooting guard to La Junta, with Nick Ongarato committing to Otero Junior College. The senior was his team’s second top scorer, averaging 12.2 points per game; and he was the Eagles’ top 3-point shooter, finishing the team’s run to the 4A Final Four with 52.
“When I visited Otero, they told me they could definitely get me to a good Division-I or II school in the next two years,” the guard said. “It’s about me using that time to get bigger, stronger and better.”
Brittney Zec committed to Division-III University of Redlands in California, writing a happy ending to what was a tough season for the senior. The point guard suffered a torn ACL the night before the 4A Great Eight, the round that ended Broomfield’s run at a sixth-consecutive state championship.
“But sometimes those things are blessing in disguise,” Zec said. “The injury really showed me how much I missed basketball and how much I love the game.”
Follow Woody on Twitter: @Elwood K. Shelton