LAKEWOOD – Despite coming in to the Class 2A state track and field meet as a defending champion, Logan Kuskie of Lyons carried some doubts into Jefferson County Stadium.
On Friday, the senior left with a smile and another first-place medal.
Kuskie won her second consecutive title in the girls pole vault, capping her career in style.
“It feels good,” Kuskie said, with a hint of relief in her voice. “I came into this competition a little bit less confident than I would have liked, but I’m glad to have pulled it out again. It’s exciting to feel that way.”
Kuskie capped a great day for Lyons, which also got a state championship from Colton Jonjak-Plahn in the boys 800 meters.
The boys and girls teams both go into Saturday in second place in the team standings, as well. The boys trail Mancos 40-38 while the girls trail Highland 50-48.
For Kuskie, who vaulted 10 feet, 10 inches to get the win, it meant a great deal for a number of reasons, including the fact that she matched her sister with two state titles. Brenna Kuskie won the 2A pole vault in 2015 and 2017. Logan’s victories give the family four titles in the past five years.
“It was motivation,” Logan said. “I definitely want to live up to her legacy and beat her. I am very excited.”
It also meant a lot because of that lack of confidence coming in.
“I’ve kind of had a rough season,” she said. “Starting with indoor, I just haven’t hit the marks I’ve really been wanting to and dealing with personal battles and other stuff, but I’m really glad I came out here today and was able to pull it out. I feel really good right now. I would have liked to hit the state record, but I’m glad I came out here and performed the way I did.”
For the second year in a row, Wray’s Abigail Shay finished as runner-up to Kuskie.
For much of his 800-meter run, Jonjak-Plahn looked like he might come up short of a title, but he chased down Paonia’s Harley Ewert and with a lunge at the finish line he won gold. Jonjak-Plahn finished in 1 minute, 59.43 seconds, just two-hundredths of a second ahead of Ewert.
“Basically with 150 to go, (Ewert) cut in front and he started going and I was like, ‘I have to start going,’” Jonjak-Plahn said. “I was just trying to keep moving my legs and driving my arms and keep going. It worked out; it was super close.”
It wasn’t until he crossed the finish line and looked at the scoreboard that he knew he had won.
“I had no idea. I knew it was going to be super close,” he said. “I was just giving it my all; no regrets and just letting it go.”
Jonjak-Plahn won his third career state title, but his first as an individual. He helped Lyons win the 3,200-meter relay in 2018 and again on Thursday.
He said winning as an individual is “really special.”
“When you win a team title, it’s definitely amazing because you have to work as a team and each person has to put a part together and make it work as a whole,” he said. “It’s also really nice as an individual because it all relies on you. It’s all yourself.”
Katie Fankhouser had a good day, as well, for the Lions. She played third in the 800 meters and fourth in the pole vault.
Lyons also had a third-place finish in the girls 800-meter relay and a ninth-place finish in the boys 800-meter relay.