Kraker leads West Grand athletes at state track
Sky-Hi News Sports Correspondent
Grand County, Colo.
All five of West Grand’s state qualifiers in track and field earned a medal at the three-day meet held last weekend, May 20-22. Senior Melissa Kraker had the highest finish for the Mustangs when she took third place in the high jump competition.
The all-classification state meet held at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood began with a few field event finals and preliminaries in the sprints, hurdles and spring relays.
Travis Gore was the lone competitor for West Grand on opening day. He ran in the preliminaries of the 110-meter high hurdles. After struggling with his rhythm over the first three hurdles, Gore regained his stride and raced well through the last seven barriers. His time of 16.74 was enough to let him advance into Friday’s finals.
The sophomore ran his finest hurdle race of the season in the finals, posting a time of 16.14 and taking seventh place for the meet. Gore began competing in the hurdles in mid-April.
The Class 2A pole vault competition was held on Friday and junior Tim Ritschard and freshman Logan Cummings vaulted for the Mustangs.
Ritschard finished the season as the leading scorer for the boys team and qualified first from the regional meet in the pole vault. In the early part of the competition, Ritschard appeared in control and comfortable while moving through the first three heights easily. He hit a snag at the 11-foot mark and eventually went out at that height, finishing in sixth place.
Cummings had the opposite experience. The freshman chose to move up to a larger pole for the state meet and had his share of trouble early-on. Cummings needed all three trials at the first two heights in order to advance in the competition. Coach Joe Shields said Cummings demonstrated composure that is rare for a freshman and he made the necessary adjustments to advance.
The result was he vaulted one-foot higher than his previous season best and had three good attempts at 12 feet before going out of the competition and finishing in fourth place.
The pole vault competition for the girls followed on Friday afternoon. Brook Cecil represented the Mustangs in the event for the second consecutive year. She has qualified for the state meet in all four years of high school competition and has earned five medals in three different events over that time. This year, she has been hampered by tendonitis in her knees. Coach Shields noted that she competed well in her events at the state meet, but the injury was a factor in her performances. Cecil placed eighth in the pole vault.
Kraker and Cecil both qualified for the high-jump competition held on Saturday. This marked the fourth consecutive year that Cecil has qualified for state while Kraker was competing in her third state competition. Both girls finished in the top five in the event as juniors.
This year, Cecil went out at 5 feet while Kraker sailed through 5 feet with no misses. Her state meet ended at 5′ 2″ and the third-place medal in the competition.
Kraker and Cecil led the girls team in scoring this past season and both girls have had stellar track and field careers at West Grand. Coach Shields added that they will be difficult to replace both as competitors and as excellent role models.
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