LAKEWOOD — Ginger Hutton has a soft tone when she speaks, a cheery and charismatic girl who takes a smile with her every time she steps on a track for the Shining Mountain girls team.
As a senior for the Lions, though, she is well on her way to going out like a clap of thunder.
The 2015 state track meet is already taking shape like that of 2013, when Hutton won three state titles at the Class 1A level as a sophomore. In her first chance on Thursday at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood, Hutton breezed to a 3,200-meter championship with three of her closest friends and teammates right there at the end.
Paisley Sheehan described the scene as very similar to a relay race, with herself, Hutton, Emma Shaefer and Ella Baca all part of the 3,200 field. There was no denying Hutton of a title, however, as she cruised to a winning time of 11 minutes, 53.90 seconds.
“The race plan worked out really well, and I just felt really good doing the last 800,” Hutton said after capturing her fourth individual track title. “I definitely was feeling better this time around (than in 2014).”
Hutton was grateful to get a chance to race Heritage Christian junior twins Rebekah and Rachel Rairdon, the former which captured the 3,200 title in 2014 by five-hundredths of a second.
Hutton stayed back this time in order to have some legs for the final 800, and she ended up winning by nearly 21 seconds (Rachel Rairdon finished second this time). Her smile gleamed even more when talking about the way her teammates finished, though.
“We’re competing for a team championship, and we’re working hard,” Hutton said. “This year, we had the biggest team. I mean, we have 80 people in our school and we had about 40 on our track team. We just had some great runners in this two-mile race.”
Sheehan, Shaefer and Baca took fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively. The four were seeded anywhere from first to ninth coming in.
For Sheehan, the first time out on the track and the success that came with it has bolstered the expectations for the rest of the weekend.
“This being my last two-mile, going into it with teammates made it so awesome and it really kept the nerves in check,” said Sheehan, also a senior. “We got to warm up together, and it was almost like a relay.
“I’m so proud of Ginger. I was impressed with everyone and how they came out and did their best, so it makes it that much more exciting for the rest of the weekend.”
Thursday was a light day of finals all around, but the Shining Mountain girls also scored points in pole vault as Chloe Weber finished sixth.
For the Lions boys, Jordan Cherin chimed in with a fifth place finish in the 3,200 run. Seeded eighth, the junior broke 11 minutes (10:59.69) to give his team a boost on the first day of one of the most participated championship events in Colorado prep competition.
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