Track and field: Longmont’s Tara Hitchcock leaps to victory in 4A

Senior also qualified on Thursday for 100-meter hurdles final

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Longmont High School's Tara Hitchcock jumps in the long jump finals during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Centaurus High School's Riley Geldean holds her hands on her face after learning her team won 6th place in the 4x800 relay during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

  • Silver Creek High School's Hunter Potrykus clears the bar in the pole vault during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Centaurus High School's Kira Biener celebrates after clearing 10-feet-7-inches in the pole vault final during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Monarch High School's Trevor Senior hands the baton to teammate Paxton Hansburg in the 4x800 relay during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Silver Creek High School's Hunter Potrykus celebrates after clearing the bar in the pole vault finals during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Jefferson Academy's Zace Buckhold competes in the long jump finals during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Jefferson Academy's Zace Buckhold competes in the long jump finals during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Jefferson Academy's Zace Buckhold competes in the long jump finals during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Niwot High School's Ares Reading runs in the 4x800 relay final during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Erie High School's Nicole Schubert competes in the pole vault final during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Centaurus High School's Asher Sugianto competes in the long jump finals during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Legacy High School's Madelyn Stevens crosses the finish line in 4th place in the 4x800 relay final during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Centaurus High School's Audrey O'Malley smiles after finishing 6th in the 4x800 relay finals during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Centaurus High School's Grace Armstrong runs in the 4x800 relay during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Silver Creek High School's Hunter Potrykus high fives head coach Jacy Riel after winning the pole vault final during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Niwot High School's Layla Roebke, at right, runs in the 4x800 relay during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Longmont High School's Tara Hitchcock jumps in the long jump finals during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    A racer sports Colorado socks at the starting line of a race during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    A child practices his racing start pose outside a fence during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Monarch High School's Trevor Senior runs in the 4x800 relay final during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Silver Creek High School's Sam Dirkes throws his discus during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Silver Creek High School's Sam Dirkes put his discus in the rack during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    CHSAA race official Pat McGraw fires the gun to signal the start of a race during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Niwot High School's Samoree Dishon runs in the 4x800 relay during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Monarch High School's Arianna Le lays on the ground after a collision while handing off the baton in the 4x800 relay final during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Broomfield High School's Joy Fifita throws the shot put in the finals during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

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LAKEWOOD – The reality of being a state champion started to hit Longmont’s Tara Hitchcock when she saw tears on the cheeks of her coach.

“That’s what really got me, like, ‘Oh my gosh, I made it,’” she said. “Maybe I’m still on cloud nine a little bit, but it’s pretty awesome.”

On Thursday, the Longmont senior won the Class 4A championship in the girls long jump at the state track and field meet at Jefferson County Stadium. Hitchcock had a personal-best leap of 18 feet, 4.5 inches to win the title in relatively easy fashion. Vista Peak’s Raina Branch was second, at 17-5.

“Honestly, I never imagined I could be at the top of long jump,” Hitchcock said. “It’s always been my dream to jump 18 feet, even mid-18s, so this is like a dream come true for me. I’m just super excited and super happy.”

Hitchcock came into the meet seeded second, behind Palmer Ridge sophomore Madissyn Moore. In the prelims, however, Moore fouled on two jumps and went just 15-6 on the other, failing to reach finals.

Hitchcock could have won the title with any one of her three best jumps on Thursday. She had a leap of 18-0.25 in the prelims and then an 18-3 on her second jump of finals. Going into her final jump she already knew she was going to win.

“It did definitely help when I jumped the 18-3 and I was like no one is really jumping close to that,” she said. “I was like, ‘I still have to stay focused, but I’m going to have fun and we’re just going to go and get better.”

She got better, and on her final jump she broke her personal record to put a cap on her victory.

“It felt really good,” she said. “I felt powerful and I felt fast and relaxed. Right at the board, I popped up and I think I did really well in all the technique that I needed and it just flowed. It honestly felt like my best jump that I’ve had in my career.”

For Hitchcock, it was the start of what she hopes is a big weekend.

Longmont High School's Tara Hitchcock jumps ...
Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer
Longmont High School’s Tara Hitchcock jumps in the long jump finals during the CHSAA State Track and Field Championships on Thursday at the Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.

Also on Thursday, she qualified for the finals in the 100-meter hurdles, posting the third-fastest time in preliminaries (15.69 seconds).

On Friday, she will run in the prelims of the 300 hurdles – where she is seeded third – and the 400-meter relay. She will also run in the finals of the 100 hurdles on Saturday.

Winning a state title on Thursday gives Hitchcock a confidence boost going into the next two days.

“It definitely does,” she said. “I’m super excited for the 300 hurdles and the 4×100. I know the adrenaline and the excitement I’m feeling is going to carry on into tomorrow and I’m just going to have fun.”

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