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Track and field: Plenty of matchups best not to miss at the state meet

Silver Creek’s Sam Dirkes comes in second in 4A throwing events

Silver Creek's Sam Dirkes throws the discus during last year's Class 4A state championships at Jeffco Stadium.
Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Silver Creek’s Sam Dirkes throws the discus during last year’s Class 4A state championships at Jeffco Stadium.

Fresh off sweeping the shot put and discus events at the Boulder County Championships last month, Silver Creek senior Sam Dirkes admitted how he was anxiously awaiting the opportunity to face the other top thrower in the classification.

Skip forward to this weekend — and finally — the elite athletes who’ve spent their seasons chasing the feats of others from afar will get their dues at the state track and field meet.

Dirkes will join Pueblo East’s Kain Medrano in the Class 4A throwing competition with discus slated for Thursday and shot put on Saturday.  Medrano comes into the meet with the top marks in discus and shot put, while Dirkes is second in each.

With their schools separated by 150 miles, the state meet will serve as the first time this season the two will compete in the same event, according to MaxPreps.

“It’s a good excitement to know you’re going to go against the other top dog in the state — that’s going to be a lot of fun and that’s what I like about it,” Dirkes said at the BoCo Championships. “There is no one really around here for me to chase. If there was someone around here that was throwing farther than me, it would give me a little more energy to compete harder at the field events.”

Here are just a few of the other matchups to watch for at the state track and field meet, which runs May 16-18.

Monarch’s Max Manson vs. his dad

The Monarch senior is chasing the Colorado high school pole vault record set in 1986 by his father, Pat Manson, who leapt 17 feet and 7 1/2 inches. Last year, Max eclipsed his dad’s state meet record with a vault of 17-3.5.

Last weekend, Manson went 17-4 at the St. Vrain Invitational.

Niwot’s Taylor James vs. Mead’s Abbey Glynn

Brad Cochi /
Mead’s Abbey Glynn finished second in the 300-meter hurdles on Saturday at the state track and field championships at Jeffco Stadium in Lakwood.

These two stole the show at the BoCo Championships last month with James winning three events and Glynn setting two individual meet records and another in the sprint medley.

This weekend, the two are slotted to run together in the Class 4A 200 and 400 with James being the top seed in each.

James also leads the 800 and is slated to be in the high jump. Glynn has the top time in the 300 hurdles.


Peak to Peak’s Quinn McConnell vs. teammate Tiana Bradfield vs. teammate Anna Shults

There’s more than a fair chance that the winner of the girls’ Class 3A 1,600 will end up in a Peak to Peak uniform.

Which one of the three will it be? That’s where things get a bit complicated.

According to their seeds, McConnell has the top mile time at 5:00.42, then Bradfield at 5:03.44 and Shults at 5:05.05. The rest of the field is at least 6 seconds back of that.

Lyons’ Isaac Roberts vs. the rest of the 2A distance field

If you’re looking for good lap payback on your time spent, find Roberts, the small-town runner with big ability. The Lions junior is the favorite to win the 2A 3,200 and 1,600 with a top season time in the 3,200 of 9:50.74 and a 1,600 mark of 4:28.13. His two-mile time is almost 10 seconds better than the field and his mile is over 6 seconds up.

Will it hold up? That’s 12 laps of excitement right there. And throwing in another two laps, Roberts is also a within a split second of the top time in the 800.

Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Lyons’ Isaac Roberts is the favorite in 1,600 and 3,200 at this weekend’s state meet.

Niwot’s Cruz Culpepper vs. Air Academy’s Cal Banta

Culpepper’s best time in the 800 is less than a second better than Banta’s top mark. Banta’s top time in the 1,600, meanwhile, is less than a second better than Culpepper’s.

This isn’t sprints, where everything happens in a flash and seems to be decided by split seconds. So, even when these two go around the track a few times in 4A, daylight between them may be tough to come by.

Broomfield’s Sydney Holiday vs. Denver East’s Arria Minor

Minor is widely considered one of — if not THE — best high school sprinter in the nation. In saying that, it’s almost unfair to put Holiday’s name, or just about any other high school sprinter’s name here for that matter.

Eh, it’s fun to look at.

The Eagles junior should hold her own in the 5A sprint events. Holiday’s top mark is second to Minor in the 100 (11.75-11.51) and her 200 is third (24.34) behind Valor Christian’s Camille Peisner (24.21) and Minor (23.77).

Minor holds the state records in the 200 (22.89) and 400 (51.92).

What the weather should be vs. reality

Two years ago, a May snowstorm forced the meet to condense into a two-day affair Saturday and Sunday, and last year, rain caused some changes to the final day’s schedule.

But for this weekend, the forecast looks rather undaunting with warm temperatures in the 60s, 70s and even 80s through the three days.

So … it should be nice.

Probably best to plan cynically, anyway.