Track and field: Local storylines to follow at state this weekend

  • Kira Vos / Daily Camera

    Broomfield's Madison Mooney could be in line for multiple state championships this weekend.

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Mackenzie Fidelak, left, and Mary Gillett will lead the Niwot girls pursuit of the 4A team championship this week at state.

  • Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer

    Silver Creek's Rylee Anderson will attempt to win her fourth-consecutive 4A high jump state title this weekend.

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Niwot's Cruz Culpepper takes off after receiving a handoff from Ben Bi during the Boulder County Invitational in April. Culpepper could compete for state titles in the 800 and the 1,600.

  • Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer

    Emma Schaefer of Shining Mountain is favored to win multiple state titles this weekend.

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Silver Creek's Abigail Gray will go after the 4A pole vault state title this weekend.

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Isaac Roberts leads Lyons into state competition this weekend.

  • Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Peak to Peak's Quinn McConnell could add more state championship hardware to her trophy case this weekend.




• Starting with the 5A girls 800-meter run on Friday, the stage is set for Wisconsin-bound Broomfield senior Madison Mooney to shine at this year state championships. Mooney is seeded No. 1 in the 800 with a time of 2:10.19 and is trailed closely by Fairview junior Marlena Preigh and her 2:10.79. In the 1,600, Mooney is even more heavily favored to win as she leads the field with a seed time of 4:55.24, which is 1.9 seconds faster than Mountain Vista’s Jenna Fitzsimmons and 6.36 seconds faster than teammate Katelyn Mitchem. Preigh is also seeded fourth in the 1,600, Legacy’s Brynn Siles is seeded fifth, Fairview’s Isabella Bowland is seeded sixth and Boulder’s Lauren Neugeboren and Claudia Burgess are eighth and ninth, respectively. So while the podium figures to be littered with runners, all eyes will be on Mooney to see what she will do.

• It’s looking like the 5A pole vaulting events are going to be a family affair. Junior Max Manson is chasing the state title and his father’s records on the boys side and sophomore Mia Manson is aiming to defend her state title from last season on the girls side. Mia Manson won the state title last year by clearing 12 feet, 6 inches and this year she will challenge for Rampart graduate Kelli Ehardt’s 5A state meet record of 13-1 set in 2008. With a seeding height of 12-8, Mia Manson isn’t that far off.


• With sophomore Mia Manson the favorite to win the 5A girls event, here’s the other half of a potential Manson family sweep of the 5A pole vaulting competitions. Monarch junior Max Manson is the clear favorite on the boy side with a height of 17 feet entering Thursday’s 5A boys pole vault. That mark is well above the next competitor but Max Manson will have to beat it by a lot if he’s to reach the state meet record of 17-03 or the all-time Colorado prep record of 17-7.5, both of which were set by his father Pat Manson in 1986. The event also includes Broomfield junior Samuel Godwin (14-9), Monarch senior and defending state champion Cole Rowan (14-2) and Boulder junior Dylan Rodgers (14-1).

• An exemplary two-sport athlete (soccer being the other), Broomfield’s Michael Mooney has become a dominant distance runner as a senior and has a shot to do something special at the state championships. His time of 4:11.99 in the 1,600 is the 31st fastest recorded in the country this season and is the fastest time run on Colorado soil this spring. He’ll be chasing a gold medal and potentially the Colorado prep record of 4:10.98 that was set by Widefield’s Rich Martinez back in 1981. He and his sister also have a chance to sweep the 5A 1,600 races.

• Fairview’s Max Carter-Kemp has had an emergent senior season and he will be looking for a strong finish at state. He is seeded third in the 400 with a time of 48.99 seconds, 1.44 seconds off the top-seeded runner.


• Stanford-bound Niwot senior Mary Gillett is seeded top two in four events – 100, 200, 400, 300 hurdles – and has a chance to leave Jefferson County Stadium on Saturday with four gold medals. Gillett, teammates Mackenzie Fidelak and Taylor James, and a slew of strong athletes that could make a run at sweeping the relays, are aiming to put Niwot back on top for the first time since the Cougars won three straight 4A team titles from 2013-14.

• Silver Creek has been among the programs raising the 4A bar for both the high jump and pole vault for several years now. Senior Abigail Gray enters the state meet with 4A’s top pole vaulting mark after clearing 12 feet, 4 inches at the Northern League Championships and Kansas-bound senior Rylee Anderson will be going for her fourth straight high jump title despite entering as the second seed behind Niwot freshman Taylor James. If Anderson or James are dialed in on Thursday, either appears capable of challenging the 4A state meet record of 5-8.25, set by Skyline’s Jill Fadenrecht in 1999.

• A junior at Mead, Abby Glynn has consistently recorded times on par with 4A’s top runners in both the 400 and the 300 hurdles this season. She will enter the state meet seeded third in both.


• The 800 and the 1,600 in Class 4A will have a local rivalry feel for teams in the area with a pair of nationally-ranked runners taking center stage. In the 800, Silver Creek’s James Lee has the third fastest time in the state this season at 1:53.97 and Niwot’s Cruz Culpepper’s 1:54.05 is right behind him in fourth. Things get even more interesting in the 1,600, where Lee’s 4:10.66 is 17th best in the nation and Culpepper’s 4:11.54 is 27th nationally. On top of that, both Lee and Culpepper will have to contend with Valor Christian’s Cole Sprout, the 2017 Gatorade Boys XC Runner of the Year. The 4A state meet record in the 1,600 is 4:12.61, set by Lewis-Palmer’s David Olson in 2002. The all-time state record is 4:10.98, set by Widefield’s Rich Martinez in 1981.

• Silver Creek’s Samuel Dirkes has the best shot put mark in the state after throwing 57 feet even at the Northern League Championships. Though a wrist injury has limited him throughout the season, it looks as though the junior is good to go for the state meet. Also for Silver Creek, senior Brock Dykema is among the frontrunners in the 3,200, which appears to be a race for second place behind Valor Christian’s Cole Sprout.

• Skyline’s Henry Carlson has an excellent opportunity for a top-three finish in the boys discus and the Falcons 800-meter relay team is also in position to finish the season in the top three.

• The 4A boys 3,200-meter relay race is packed with local squads that expect to take home hardware. Niwot is seeded third, Mead is fourth, Erie is fifth and Centaurus is sixth.


• Now the two-time defending cross country champions, the Peak to Peak distance runners are expected to take home plenty more hardware at state again this spring. Junior Quinn McConnell (5:07.79) is the overwhelming favorite in the 1,600. Junior Anna Shults currently leads 3A with a 2:15.18 in the 800, just ahead of Alamosa’s Lilly Lavier. Junior Tiana Bradfield is third in both events, giving the Pumas their usual dominant distance lineup. They are also the current 3A state meet record-holders in the 3,200-meter relay after running a 9:12.44 last season.

• Jefferson Academy’s Kaitlyn Thimsen will hit the state meet as a near lock to medal in the triple jump after placing eighth last season. With a smattering of state podium experience returning, the Jaguars should also show well in the relays again this year.

• Holy Family’s Jody Gallagher took home a pair of medals in the throws last season and enters her senior state meet seeded fourth in the shot put. Teammate Taylor Santangelo is also poised to take home multiple medals in the distance events.


• With a strong seed time of 9:48.99, Jefferson Academy senior Ryan Lehmuth is aiming to cap his final prep season with a solid finish in the 3,200 before heading off to run at the University of Northern Colorado. He had a rough state meet in 2017 that resulted in him placing 17th in the event so he is no doubt looking forward to a second chance at the gold as the fourth-seeded runner going in.


• Lyons sophomore Logan Kuskie finished runner-up in the pole vault to older sister Brenna Kuskie as a freshman in 2017. Now a sophomore and with Brenna Kuskie graduated, Logan Kuskie enters as the favorite in the event after clearing 11 feet at the Windsor Invitational in March.

• The Nederland Panthers have a pair of 2A’s top five 3,200-meter runners, which is not surprising considering the Panthers won the cross country state championship back in October. Sophomore Helen Cross was the cross country individual state champion and Sarah Davidson placed third. Davidson and Cross will be seeded fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 3,200 at state.


• After winning the 2A cross country title in the fall, Lyons sophomore Isaac Roberts will arrive at the state meet with the fastest 3,200 time at 9:48.61. Depending on which events he elects to enter, he’s set to battle Soroco senior Ben Kelley in the distance events and will need to be a big point-scorer if the Lions hope to edge Resurrection Christian for the team title.


• Shining Mountain has an outside shot at a team title here and Emma Schaefer is a big reason why. She has run the classification’s top times this season in the 1,600 (5:34.77) and the 3,200 (11:56.96) and it’s not even close. Expect her to defend her titles in both events.

• Also competing for Shining Mountain, senior Marina Flandrick has a clear edge for the pole vault title after finishing runner-up last season. She has set the top seed at 9 feet, 8 inches, which is more than a foot above the next competitor’s best height.


• The Shining Mountain boys have a pair of athletes who have clear top-five potential. Junior Reid Hill will enter the 1A pole vault seeded fourth and Max Saliman will enter the 3,200 seeded fourth.

Brad Cochi: or