Granby " Middle Park girls finish sixth at state on Samantha Berggren’s swift feet |

Granby " Middle Park girls finish sixth at state on Samantha Berggren’s swift feet

Will Bublitz
Sky-Hi Daily News

Courtesy Sarah BerggrenMiddle Park High freshman Samantha Berggren leads the field in the 1,600-meter race Saturday at the state meet in Pueblo. She finished five seconds behind Classical Academy sophomore Kaitlin Hanenburg, center. It was the only one of the four races Berggren was in that she didn't finish in first place.

In another outstanding individual performance, Middle Park High freshman Samantha Berggren raced to victory at the 2008 Colorado High School Track and Field Championships in Pueblo last weekend.

Berggren won three state championship titles in the 200-, 400- and 800-meter dashes. She also took second place in the 1600-meter run.

“It was amazing,” said coach Christine Dubois-Miller. “Sam not only won three state titles and a runner-up spot, but also set two 3A division state records.”

In the first day of competition Friday at Pueblo’s Dutch Clark Stadium, Berggren shattered both of those state records. The first came in the preliminary heat of the 400-meter dash where she sprinted to victory in a time of 55.94 seconds.

Her second record-breaking performance on Friday came in the finals of the 800-meter dash. Her time of 2:12.70 set the new state record and won Berggren her first state title.

Saturday’s second day of competition at the Pueblo began with Berggren taking a second-place finish in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 5:05.85. The winner was Classical Academy sophomore Kaitlin Hanenburg with 5:00.52.

The race was a rematch between Berggren and Hanenburg, who first raced one another during last fall’s 2007 Colorado High School Cross Country Championships. In that 5-kilometer race, Hanenburg also won first place with Berggren finishing second.

“Sam was leading the 1,600 until the last 250 meters,” Dubois-Miller said. “Sam ran a perfect race for herself at this time. Her time of 5:05.85 set a new Middle Park High School record.”

After an hour’s break, Berggren was back on the track for the finals of the 400-meter dash. Once again, she sprinted to victory in that event and captured a state title with a time of 57.06 seconds.

Rounding out her performance Saturday, Berggren picked up her third state title in the open 200-meter dash. She sprinted down the track and broke the tape in a time of 25.23 seconds, almost a second ahead of her closest opponent.

Also earning a state medal at the 2008 meet was Panther senior Jacqueline Thomas. Competing in the girls pole vault, she earned a sixth place by going over the bar at a height of 9 feet, 6 inches.

“Thanks to Sam and Jacqueline’s results, our girls team tied for sixth place in the overall team competition,” Dubois-Miller said.

Freshman Quincey Pedersen, Middle Park’s third female state qualifier, finished just short of earning a medal in the high jump. She went over the bar at 5 feet to take ninth place. The top eight places at the meet took medals.

Two Panther boys also competed in the 2008 state meet at Pueblo last weekend.

Mike Schmidt, a junior, placed 10th in both the discus and shot put. He set a personal record in the shot put with a throw of 44 feet, 5-1/4 inches. In the discus, his throw of 135 feet was just inches short of making the finals.

Middle Park senior Zack Peterson competed in the boys 400-meter dash. He sprinted the preliminary heat in a time of 54.62 seconds to place 17th.

“It was an outstanding state meet for our five athletes,” Dubois-Miller. “All of them competed to the best of their abilities, and it was really something to watch. In some of these events, we were so close. It makes me hungry to see what we’ll do next year.”

With the end of the team’s 2008 season, the Panther tracksters are saying goodbye to their seniors who are graduating this spring ” Zack Peterson, Jacqueline Thomas, Amanda Lange and Kathy Childress.

Coach Dubois-Miller not only praised the hard work of her athletes but also wanted to express her thanks to others who contributed to the team’s success this season.

“What we accomplished this season was not possible without the expert coaching by Jim ‘Cajun’ Courville, Mike Loftsgard and Dick Romshek,” she said. “And as always, I want to thank the administration for all their help as well as the amazing support that has been given our team by the parents and fans.”