David R. Jennings
David R. Jennings
BROOMFIELD — Broomfield High School has built a reputation over the past decade or so of having talented hurdlers, and usually more than one, on its girls track team.
Current Eagles hurdlers Katie Croell and Amanda Campbell are continuing that tradition. For Croell, that means getting back on track after a disappointing state meet her junior year in 2012.
After placing seventh in the 300-meter hurdles as a sophomore, Croell was ill for the 2012 state meet and dropped out of the top nine. Her senior season is all about regaining her true form and reclaiming her place on the awards podium where many Eagles hurdlers have stood since the turn of the century.
“I went into last year thinking I had to do well so I didn’t have to rely on my senior year to make a mark or be satisfied with my senior year,” Croell said. “I just kind of want to leave it all out on the line so that I can say my high school hurdling career wasn’t a bust. I’m really hard on myself and I know my potential so I want to see what I can achieve.”
The Eagles’ hurdling culture started in the early 2000s. Current boys coach Craig Boccard was the head coach then and current girls coach Justin Hazzard was in the midst of winning four hurdles state titles for the Eagles.
In the 100-meter hurdles at the same 2002 state meet where Hazzard capped his prep career with titles 3 and 4, Eagles senior Lisa Holeman took second place to Niwot’s Erica Galarza on a photo finish review after having been awarded the state title originally. Holeman went on to take fourth in the 300-meter race.
The Eagles girls had solid hurdlers over the next few seasons until Kayla Wein won the state title as a freshman in 2007. That same year, Eagles sophomore Ashley Miknis took third in the 300 and fifth in the 100.
Wein won the 100 state title again in 2008 and Miknis, who placed third in the 100, won the 300 state title. Wein eventually went on to run at Colorado State University and Miknis went to the University of New Mexico.
Hazzard, who says his philosophy has been to build a program in which talented older hurdlers help coach and develop younger ones, took over as head girls coach in 2009. Her freshman year in 2010, Croell had the opportunity to learn from both Hazzard, who also ran hurdles at Colorado State, and Wein, who was then a senior.
“When I came in as a freshman, Ashley Miknis was the hurdler and my freshman year, Kayla Wein was still there,” Croell said. “There’s always been two of us and last year, three of us. I feel honored to be part of the hurdler legacy for the girls here.”
Croell placed seventh in the 300 and took 15th in the 100 as a sophomore in 2011. She took 11th in the 100 as a junior last season and 14th in the 300. Just ahead of Croell was the sophomore Campbell in 13th, and senior Kate Sumerfield was right with them in 16th.
“My confidence level is different this year,” Campbell said. “I was a sophomore last year and it was my first year doing hurdles. I didn’t know what to expect to what to do. This year my skills have improved because of my coach and my teammates. I’m a lot more confident with what I can do. A lot of our qualifiers for state were younger. Everyone’s just more experienced and ready to go.”
Campbell ran a personal-best time in the 300 at state last year. But the 800-meter relay team, of which both she and Croell are a part, dropped the baton and was disqualified in preliminaries.
Both Campbell and Croell expect to be back at state in 2013, looking to improve on last year’s performances. As Broomfield’s latest hurdling duo, they’ll need each other’s help to accomplish their goals.
“What’s really awesome about Amanda and Katie is that they’re good friends,” Hazzard said. “They have to compete with one another and I encourage them to be as open as possible and try to beat each other and be healthy about it. They do a really good job of that.”
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