Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
Daily Camera file photo
BROOMFIELD — Julia Pattison is a runner. She’s a track star. But she won’t run away when it gets hard.
In the months leading up to the high school season, the Monarch senior has focused her energy much more acutely into making improvements on and off the track, and she’s already seeing each of her individual adjustments pay off.
Before she even stepped foot onto the track at Elizabeth Kennedy Stadium for the Broomfield Shootout on Saturday, Pattison boasted the top times in all of Colorado in all three sprinting disciplines: the 100-meter dash (12.17 seconds), the 200-meter dash (25.35 seconds) and the 400-meter dash (57.21 seconds).
She did all that in her first meet of the 2022 season two weeks back.
“I really picked up my training since last season,” Pattison explained. “I ran some pretty good times and I really just wanted to see where I could go, so I just kind of started talking to the right people, doing the right thing, just really put all my effort into it. I kind of made track my life. I came out of the indoor season with a PR, so it’s all really paying off. Now, I’m opening with times that I couldn’t have dreamed of last season, so it’s pretty amazing.”
Since the end of her junior year, she’s put in extra time in the weight room, recorded and analyzed each of her starts and researched the best methods for nutrition and recovery. Even her social media is flooded with track paraphernalia.
On Saturday, she saw all of that pay off even more when she recorded even better results than the ones she previously couldn’t have dreamed of. She won the 200 with a 24.78 time and just barely missed her PR in the 100 with a 12.18. She couldn’t overcome Sheridan’s Addie Pendergast in the 400, but she still beat her own, previous Colorado-best time with a 56.89.
Pattison’s biggest improvement, she said, came from believing in herself. Now, the Colorado track community gets to see firsthand just how much it, too, will get to believe in her as the season wears on.
A talent-heavy track meet to kick off the season
Long before the Broomfield Shootout even took place, it set itself up to be quite the exciting event.
In welcoming 46 full teams and individual athletes from five more, there was no shortage of talent enjoying the sunny, windy day. Some of the state’s top teams, from Cherry Creek and Mountain Vista down to Niwot, were in attendance. Some of the best athletes in six events came to play: the girls 3,200-meter run, boys and girls hurdles, the girls pole vault, the boys 800, the girls sprints and the boys long jump.
Broomfield coach Justin Hazzard, up in his penthouse of the press box announcing booth, was thrilled with how the meet had turned out. He did, after all, have a bird’s eye view of all the action and the 1,508 athletes that came out.
“It’s kind of cool, and it wouldn’t be possible without our great coaching staff and our volunteers,” Hazzard said. “That’s the one thing I think we pride ourselves on this meet. Sometimes, you go to track meets and they force you to try to run a field event. We try to make sure, so that the coaches can coach their kids, that we take care of as much as possible.”
Jumping toward greatness
When Jefferson Academy’s Chrisly Kelly-Cannon won the school’s first track title last season in the long jump, he did so in style. That 23-foot, 1.5-inch mark not only won him the gold, but it also set the Class 3A state meet record.
He chalked that up to pure talent.
After realizing just how good he can be, he shifted his attention toward lifting, tweaking his techniques and studying the plyometrics of jumping. It paid dividends when he broke his previous PR with 24 feet at an indoor meet at Colorado School of Mines in early December. Just weeks into the high school season, he already holds the top 100-meter dash time in Colorado with a 10.84, which he set at the Ralston Valley Invitational. He barely missed that mark with a 10.91 in Broomfield.
“I think it makes me a lot hungrier because I know that I can do it,” Kelly-Cannon said. “I know that only I can stop myself from pursuing those goals so I think this year, I’ve been working harder to push myself to get to that level.”
Leaping around tough competition
Much like Kelly-Cannon and Pattison in their events, Niwot’s Kimora Northrup is already making noise on the hurdling scene this year.
The junior leaper, who dominated in her first track season last year, entered the Shootout as the only girl in all of Colorado to run a sub-15 in the 100 hurdles at 14.82 and the only one to hit a sub-46 in the 300 hurdles with a 44.56.
That changed during her races on Saturday, as Regis Jesuit’s Fabiola Belibi and Pine Creek’s Regan Thorne both ran under 15 seconds, but they still couldn’t beat her previous best time. Belibi beat her out in the 300 as well with a 45.35, mainly due to the fact that Northrup couldn’t train all week courtesy of the flu.
Still, the grandiose meet opened her eyes to the possibilities of her skills within the state.
“It’s nice when we come to meets like this, where I can see girls who are not just in 4A because a lot of the competition lies in the other divisions as well,” Northrup said. “It definitely puts some more competition into my head because obviously, I want to go to the next level and run in college, so I can’t only want to win in 4A, I want to win across the state. I have to be so much better in every other aspect.”
Silencing the haters
Holy Family’s Grayson Arnold had been hearing the smack talk all season long, but he internalized it each time, letting it fuel him.
On Saturday, after lagging a bit during the first 30 meters of his 100, he kicked it into high gear to outsprint the rest of the field and win with a 10.77. He came into the meet with a state-best time in the 200 with a 21.81.
In his 400, toward the end of the day, he shot far ahead of the rest of the field for the first 200 meters before Highlands Ranch’s Luke Dry edged him out at the finish line. He finished second, but that was good enough for him in his first crack at the 400 outside of a relay.
“There are so many teams out here that just have a lot of talent and I think my coach has done a good job preparing me,” Arnold said. “If I’m being honest, a lot of what’s been driving me to take these times out is people talking smack. I listen but I don’t talk back so it feels good to beat them out on the track.”