Greg Lindstrom
Monarch runners, left to right, Karina Mann, Claire Green, Kaitlyn Benner and Elissa Mann celebrate after finishing second in the 3,200-meter Thursday.

LAKEWOOD — Claire Green and the rest of her teammates did all they could to help deliver a state title to the Monarch girls track team on Thursday.

The Coyotes came up a bit short, but they certainly weren’t disappointed.

Green ran a stellar anchor leg in helping the Coyotes to a second-place finish in the 3,200-meter relay at the Class 5A state track and field championships at Jeffco Stadium. Arapahoe was first with a time of 9 minutes, 10.51 seconds, with Monarch coming in at 9:11.89.

“It was beyond exciting,” Greene said. “I’ve never been more proud of the girls. We’ve been working so hard. We really wanted to win, but we gave everything we had today and I could not be more happy.”

The team of Green, Kaitlyn Benner, Karina Mann and Elissa Mann came into the meet seeded fifth. Their best time of the year was 9:30.41, so they took nearly 20 full seconds off of that on Thursday.

Benner and the Mann sisters positioned Monarch in third place for Green. Then the standout junior had to practice some patience. Arapahoe’s anchor runner, Devan Foster, and Fort Collins’ anchor, Devynn Miller, both had solid leads on Green. Knowing she needed to attack her 800 meters in a smart way, however, Green sat back.

“It was really hard to have to let Devan and Devynn just go, but I knew that if I held off I could almost catch both of them at the end,” she said.

And, she did. Green passed Miller and then, with about 200 meters to go, she passed Foster and took the lead. Foster quickly regained the lead, however, and held on at the end.

“I stepped off the track and I just started crying because I was so proud of us,” said Green, who is also slated to compete in the 800, 1,600 and 1,600 relay this weekend. “It’s a really great way to start off the weekend.”

Fairview was fourth in the 3,200 relay. Juniors Kendall Richarz, Emma Sanchez and Heather Harrower and freshman Carys McAulay finished in 9:19.42, blowing away their previous best time of 9:34.75.

 

Gallagher thrilled with third

Of the 23 girls to qualify for the 4A high jump, Erie’s Haley Gallagher was ranked 23rd coming into the state meet.

She walked out of the meet with a third-place medal.

“I was like the last one to get in,” said Gallagher, a junior who set a new personal record with a jump of 5 feet, 3 inches. “It feels so great to know that I had it in me and this was the place to do it.

“I can’t even stop smiling. I don’t think I’ll be able to stop smiling for the next couple of weeks.”

With a year to go, Gallagher said she is eager to see what she can do in 2014.

“I really want to keep improving and maybe I’ll be able to even break our school record (5 feet, 5 inches) next year,” she said.

 

Three-peat for Allman

For the third year in a row, Silver Creek’s Valarie Allman finished eighth in the 4A girls shot put. She had a season-best throw of 38 feet, 1.25 inches on Thursday.

“I’ll take pride in being a three-peat; nobody has to know it’s eighth place,” she joked.

Shot put has never been Allman’s best event. The state record holder in the discus, she will go for a second state title in that event on Saturday. She said Thursday helped her to get mentally prepared for Saturday.

“It’s getting me excited and motivated to be in the state environment,” she said. “I think that state really brings out the best in competitors. Even just to watch gets you motivated.”

 

Johnson fifth in shot put

Longmont’s Marcus Johnson doesn’t agree with Allman’s assessment that the state meet brings out the best. For the second year in a row, he was part of a group of underachieving shot putters.

Seeded second coming in, Johnson finished fifth on Thursday.

“Maybe that’s a runners’ thing, because with throws it just doesn’t work like that,” Johnson said. “It’s just one of those things with throwing. Some days you’re on and some days you’re off and I just had an off day today.”

Johnson threw 51 feet, 9.5 inches on Thursday — well below his previous best of 54-5.5. Discovery Canyon’s Jackson Spalding won with a throw of 52-9.75. Spalding was the only one of the top seven finishers to post a season-best throw.

 

Robb takes home medal

Boulder senior Zoe Robb had hoped for a better result Thursday in the 5A girls pole vault. Still, she won a state medal for the second year in a row. Robb was eighth, with a vault of 10 feet, 8 inches.

“I was a little disappointed,” she said. “I had really good practice this whole week and I jumped a lot higher than I thought I would in practice.”

Robb was seventh a year ago, but added, “I jumped eight inches higher than I did last year, so that’s kind of fun. But the competition was amazing this year and the girls did a great job.”

Finishing eighth wrapped up Robb’s prep career. She said she’s looking forward to competing next year at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill.

 

Notable

Despite an off day, Longmont’s Forrest Wetterstrom finished sixth in the 4A boys triple jump, with a leap of 44 feet, 3.75 inches. … Fairview was fifth in the 5A boys 3,200-meter relay. The Knights’ foursome of Rich Sanchez, Kyle Lund, Zane Vanderberg and Zach Swenson finished in 8:01.59. … In the 4A boys 3,200 relay, Broomfield was eighth (8:10.06) and Skyline was ninth (8:12.33). The Falcons set a new school record. … Fairview’s Jacob Kirlan-Stout was seventh in the 5A boys pole vault (13 feet, 6 inches). … Silver Creek’s Megan Foster tied for ninth in the 4A girls high jump (5-1).

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