Track and field: Niwot’s Lorne Jenkins leaps to 4A state title

Greg Lindstrom
Niwot’s Lorne Jenkins competes in the triple jump during the Colorado state track and field championships on Thursday at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

LAKEWOOD — With one jump to go on Thursday afternoon, Lorne Jenkins had run out of wiggle room.

To win a state title, the Niwot senior needed to bust out a great jump on his final try.

With Niwot fans cheering him on from the Jeffco Stadium sidelines, Jenkins took off down the runway and put everything he had into his final attempt. When the mark of 47 feet and one-half inch was posted, he pumped his fists and let out a loud “Whooooo!”

Jenkins’ final jump gave him the Class 4A state title in the boys triple jump.

“It feels great,” Jenkins said. “This year, I just really wanted it.

“I just tried to put everything I had into my last jump.”

Jenkins’ championship capped a great first day of the state meet for Niwot. The Cougars’ girls 3,200-meter relay team finished second in school-record time to kick off what is expected to be a huge weekend for the girls squad.

A fourth-place finisher in the triple jump a year ago, Jenkins came into Thursday’s meet as the No. 1 seed. Entering his final jump, he was in line for a top five medal, but had ground to make up. He knew exactly how to make it up, too.

“It was honestly just all my third phase because on my third phases before I’d been leaning back,” Jenkins said. “My coach kept telling me to ‘lean forward, lean forward.’ When I get excited, I lean back and try to jump straight up. When I lean forward, I can jump up and out.”

Jenkins said that as soon as he landed his final jump, “It felt like a really good jump.”

“I’ve been working at this for two or three years now and the work finally paid off,” he said.

Scoring 10 team points with his win, Jenkins is just getting started at this meet. He still has the long jump, 300-meter hurdles and 1,600-meter relay to go.

“I’m honestly going to try to come out of here with 40 points,” he said. “I’m not going to be disappointed if I don’t, but that’s my goal.”

The Niwot girls team has lofty goals this weekend, too. The Cougars believe they can win a team state title this year. Placing second in Thursday’s 3,200-meter relay was a good start.

“Overall, today was a really big first step in the right direction,” said Deyja Enriquez, the lone senior on the relay team.

Enriquez was joined by sophomores Katie Gillett and Louise Vandenberghe and junior Elise Cranny on the 3,200 team. The Cougars came into the meet favored to win, but could not catch Thompson Valley, which finished in 9 minutes, 20.94 seconds. Niwot finished in 9:22.44 — more than six seconds faster than its previous best time.

“When you think about the time we ran and how fast the race was, it’s still a school record and we still (set a personal record) as a group,” Enriquez said. “I feel like individually each of us pushed ourselves really well.”

Thompson Valley built a huge lead during the first 800 meters and maintained that lead through much of the race. Cranny, who earlier this season set a state record in the mile, ran the anchor leg for Niwot and she nearly caught the Eagles. Third when she got the baton, Cranny shaved nearly eight seconds off the deficit.

“They just had such a big lead, it’s very hard when you’re so far away to try to make contact and stay in the race,” Cranny said.

“I wish I would have had a little more at the end to give. I gave it everything I had and I would have loved to have won as a team, but we ran our best time by like six seconds. We did the best that we could.”

Like Jenkins, Cranny has a busy weekend ahead. She is seeking individual state titles in the 800 meters, 1,600 meters and 3,200 meters. She is slated to run the 3,200 and 800 on Friday and the 1,600 on Saturday.

Follow Brian on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.