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Track and field: Niwot, Longmont boys keep in stride of each other at state meet

More titles for both schools lead to 1-2 team finish

  • Niwot's Taylor James wins the 4A 200 meters during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Niwot's Taylor James wins the 4A 400 meters during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Lilly Nichols wins the 5A pole vault during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Peak to Peak's Aidan Graziano, right, wins the 3A 110 meter hurdles during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Peak to Peak's Aidan Graziano, right, wins the 3A 110 meter hurdles during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff photographer)

  • Peak to Peak's Aidan Graziano wins the 3A 110 meter hurdles during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Rain during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Fairview's Sophie Pierce in the 5A pole vault during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Holy Family's Skylar Hawk wins the 3A300 meter hurdles during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Niwot's Taylor James wins the 4A 200 meters during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Rain was the name of the game during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Niwot's Taylor James closes out another relay win during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021.

  • Fairview's Olivia Kosanovich in the 5A pole vault during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Frederick's Ryan Chacon wins the 3A 400 meters during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021.

  • Longmont's Eddie Kurjak wins the 4A triple jump during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Niwot's Margaret Gillett, right, hugs Taylor James after setting a relay record in the 4 X 100 during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Niwot's Margaret Gillett, right, hugs Taylor James after the team set a relay record in the 4 X 100 during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Niwot's Julia Rudolph, left, hugs her teammate, Taylor James, after the 400 meters during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Niwot's Katie Carroll jumps in the 4A triple jump during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Longmont's Eddie Kurjak wins the 4A triple jump during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Fairview's Will Chiang in the 5A pole vault during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Fairview's Leo Sundstrom in the 5A pole vault during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Longmont's Sally Marshall competes in the triple jump during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Monarch's Timo Heine competes in the pole vault during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Niwot's Taylor James wins the 4A 400 meters during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Holy Family's Skylar Hawk runs in the 3A 400 meters during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021.

  • Niwot's Kimora Northrup competes in the 100 meter hurdles during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Hallie Williams, of Jefferson Academy, in the 100 meter hurdles during the second day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Fairview's Sophie Pierce in the 5A pole vault during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Longmont's Eddie Kurjak wins the 4A triple jump during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Lilly Nichols wins the 5A pole vault during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Fairview's Olivia Kosanovich in the 5A pole vault during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Niwot's Zane Bergen (2) wins the 4A 1600 meters during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    Niwot's Zane Bergen (2) wins the 4A 1600 meters during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021.

  • Niwot's Lucca Fulkerson, left, finished second to Michalak, of Air Force, in the 1600 meters during the third day of the Colorado Track and Field State Championships at Jeffco Stadium on June 26, 2021. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

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LAKEWOOD — The Niwot boys track and field team ended up running away with the Class 4A state team championship trophy at Jeffco Stadium on Saturday afternoon, but the Longmont boys certainly made it interesting going into the day.

It helped, of course, that Cougars like Zane Bergen put up banner performances on Saturday to seal the deal with 90 points, while Longmont placed second with 59. Bergen, a junior who didn’t even qualify for state as a freshman, crushed the 4A state meet record in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 4 minutes, 9.51 seconds to easily beat out David Olson’s 2002 mark of 4:12.61.

He also took home the state crown in the 800 as he clocked in at 1:51.26. But that didn’t matter to him when compared to the bigger picture.

“It’s a different mindset in that we’re trying to score as many points for the team as possible. We’re trying to win as a team,” Bergen said. “It’s nice to be able to hurt for something other than yourself and that aspect of you’re trying to score as many points.”

The Cougars also saw podium-worthy Saturday performances from Ben Classen (400 dash, fourth, 49.55), Nick Stade (300 hurdles, eighth, 41.79), Simon Saia (1,600, fifth, 4:15.25), Grayden Rauba (1,600, sixth, 4:15.27) and Connor Grant (triple jump, eighth, 41 feet, 6.50 inches) to help earn them the coveted team trophy.

“We’ve had an amazing group of boys come through this year and it’s just showing all the hard work that we’ve been doing together,” Bergen said. “With everybody scoring a lot of points in each event, it’s really cool to see, especially in some of the events that we haven’t excelled at in the past. We have had good sprinters in the past but for Ben Classen to get fourth in the 400 and then Nick Stade to qualify for the 300 hurdles, it’s showing that we’re starting to become an all-around amazing program, which is exciting.”

The Trojans relied heavily on the stylings of Eddie Kurjak, who not only broke the 4A meet record in the high jump on Friday but also put up a gold-standard performance in the triple jump on Saturday. He flew 45 feet, 5.75 inches to defeat Roosevelt’s Logan Champa handily.

“I knew people were going to bring it,” Kurjak said after the triple jump. “They always bring it. It’s the state track meet and everyone wants to win so I just felt that if I keep my composure today, I should be able to win. I came in with a pretty solid seed, so I was the favored person but I do know you don’t always win this way. I just had to make sure that I brought it and I think I did a pretty good job of doing that.”

Longmont’s boys also enjoyed strong performances from Connor McCormick (1,600, second, 4:13.47) and the 400 relay team (sixth, 44.59) en route to that runner-up team finish.