Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer
Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer
Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
During the 2017 track and field season, the Skyline boys set these school records:
4x100m (Moses Rivera, Jack Wathen, Kyle West, Braden Kram), 42.85, 2017 state championship
4x200m (Moses Rivera, Jack Wathen, Kyle West, Braden Kram), 1:29.72, 2017 state championships
4x400m (Braden Kram, Kyle West, Calvin Davis, Jack Wathen), 3:28.75, St. Vrain Invitational
LONGMONT – The Skyline football team surprised prep sports fans across Colorado in the fall when it had its best season in decades and posted back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1999.
A closer look at what a small group of players did during the preceding track and field season last spring might have helped predict the football team’s 2017 success.
Take Kyle West, for example.
Before West finished sixth-best in the state with 1,200 receiving yards for the Falcons, he and several of his multi-sport teammates combined to break just about every relay record the school had in the spring.
With track and field season getting ready to kick off this week, the Falcons’ pioneering group of football and track crossover athletes has its mind set on breaking those records again.
“I know we have the talent and the quality of athlete to run fast in every race,” West said. “Numbers-wise, we’re not really worried about it right now. We’re just focused on taking it one race at a time and getting faster. We all have that brotherhood and friendship from football. We know that if we push each other, there aren’t going to be many groups that can compete against us.”
At the St. Vrain Invitational last season, West, Braden Kram, Jack Wathen and Calvin Davis ran a school record time of 3 minutes, 28.75 seconds in the 1,600-meter relay. Then at the 2017 state championships, West, Kram, Wathen and Moses Rivera set school records of 42.85 in the 400-meter relay and 1:29.72 in the 800-meter relay.
Kram, who now runs at Utah State University, and Davis graduated after the 2017 season but Wathen and West were just sophomores then, and Rivera was a junior. Though they lost a pair of their fastest runners, the Falcons relays will be getting a boost this spring in the form junior Jeremy Hollingsworth, who rushed for 1,913 yards and 31 touchdowns to finish fourth in the state despite playing fewer games than the top three rushers last fall.
“We have a pretty good returning team and we’re actually gaining Jeremy,” Wathen said. “I think overall, our goal is just to place at state. Since we have three returning guys and Jeremy, we’re thinking we can run around the same times, maybe faster.”
Wathen took ninth in the Class 4A 400-meter dash at last year’s state meet. The relays took sixth in the 400 and fourth in the 800. Getting started early so that they may hit the ground running with their reloaded sprint relay lineups, the Falcons are bechmarking the upcoming season with the goal of at least returning to the 4A podium at state.
“We’ve pretty much worked every day since just before the holiday break,” Wathen said. “We’re ready to put the work in and see what we can do to follow up last season.”
Having improved steadily each year under fourth-year head coach James Davis, the Falcons boys placed 25th in the 4A team scoring last season. Their girls team, which also returns a young group of talented sprinters and jumpers, placed 38th at state in 2017.