LONGMONT — Boulder High junior Alexis Jacobs said the Panthers’ 400-meter relay team was nervous about going up against Cherokee Trail at the St. Vrain Invitational on Friday.
If they were intimidated by the Cougars, the Panthers didn’t show it. Edging the Cougars by three-tenths of a second with a strong anchor leg from Deaydrah Williams, the Panthers finished first in 49.44 seconds.
“We were really pumped up and we just had a lot of motivation,” sophomore team member Kayla Reeves said. “We’re all really close and we’ve been working really hard together on our handoffs.”
In the 400 relay, the Panthers group felt its handoffs were on point. Winning the 400 relay in come-from-behind fashion also was a confidence boost after the Panthers were disqualified for a zone violation in the 800-meter relay earlier in the day.
“We’ve been practicing really hard,” junior Rachel Edson said. “We had a kind of hard race earlier in the day but we really pushed through it and took home a nice win.”
The fields at the St. Vrain were all tough but few were as loaded at the girls pole vault, in which 19 of the 43 competitors were ranked top 10 in their respective classifications. Amidst the tough field, Panthers senior Zoe Robb raised her personal best by 3 inches to vault 10 feet, 9 inches and take fifth place.
“It was really fun doing it on the raised runway,” Robb said. “It’s been fun to jump with all of these girls. This is the type of competition that will be at state.”
Also for the Panthers, junior Erin McLaughlin won the 1,600-meter run in 5:03.42.
CRANNY COLLECTS: Coming down the home stretch of a junior season in which she breaks a record nearly every time she runs, Niwot’s Elise Cranny set new meet and stadium records in the 800-meter run.
Two weeks after breaking Melody Fairchild’s 22-year-old state record in the 1,600-meter run, Cranny collected two more records with a 2:08.68 in the open 800 at the St. Vrain.
Monarch’s Claire Green finished second in 2:15.83, Longmont’s Molly Klotz took fourth in 2:18.14 and Fairview freshman Carys McAulay took fifth in 2:18.14.
CHANGE OF PACE: Known for their prowess in the distance events, the Monarch girls sprinters took first place in 800-meter relay.
Under their previous best time by a second, the Coyotes finished the race in 1:45.18.
“We were trying really hard to get better times and qualified in better position for state,” freshman relay member Paige Overcash said.
Also for the Coyotes, junior Kaitlyn Benner took second in the 1,600 and Ashley Litoff took second in the 3,200.
“I usually start off way too fast so I was focusing on not killing myself on the first lap,” Litoff said. “I think I did that and it was definitely a good race and I’m proud of it.”
NOLA’S NOTCHES: Leading the Lyons girls once again, senior Nola Basey set a new meet record in the high jump with a leap of 5 feet, 51/2 inches.
Basey also took second in the triple jump behind Regis Jesuit’s Kelsey Cunningham.
HOMETOWN HURDLERS: Boulder County athletes had a strong presence in the final heats of the hurdling events on Friday.
Fairview’s Justine Sherman took second in the 100-meter hurdles. Broomfield hurdlers Katie Croell and Amanda Campbell were neck-and-neck in both of their events.
Croell took third in the 300 hurdles while Campbell took fourth. In the 100, Croell placed fifth and Campbell seventh.
STACKING IT: The girls 1,600-meter relay podium featured teams from Monarch, Fairview and Niwot.
The Coyotes won the race but a final-leg push from Fairview’s Heather Harrower, whose team ran a five-second personal best, made for an exciting finish.
“I just had to go out hard. I didn’t think I was going to catch her at first,” said Harrower, who also took third in the open 400. “When I got to the last hundred meters I saw her kind of slowing up and I just went for it.”
NEWMAN’S OWN: Running with both, Erie sophomore Kyleen Newman helped the Tigers sprint medley and 400-meter relay teams take third and seventh, respectively.
“We were definitely excited to run the race,” Newman said. “Almost all the people in the medley relay have had an injury this season. But we’ve gotten back together and it’s been great.”
ALLMAN AS ALWAYS: Silver Creek’s Valarie Allman always draws a crowd at the discus.
On Friday, she set a new meet record with a 167-foot, 10-inch throw. She broke her own meet record of 154-03 from last season.
Follow Brad on Twitter: @BradCochi