We are the (Aurora) champions: Cherokee Trail’s Jaiden Paris, Taylor Watson, Chian DeLoach, Sydnee Larkin (5A 4×100 relay)

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From left, juniors Jaiden Paris, Chian DeLoach, Sydnee Larkin and Taylor Watson delivered a third consecutive Class 5A state championship for Cherokee Trail in the girls 4×100 meter relay. The Cougars came into the 5A state meet on May 20, 2017, as the top seed in the event and finished there with its best time of the season of 47.48 seconds. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

AURORA | City teams and athletes won one team state championship and 11 individual titles during the final weeks of the 2017 spring prep sports season. Here’s an in-depth look at Cherokee Trail’s Jaiden Paris, Taylor Watson, Chian DeLoach and Sydnee Larkin, the Class 5A girls 4×100 meter relay state champions:

Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel

CHEROKEE TRAIL’S JAIDEN PARIS, TAYLOR WATSON, CHIAN DELOACH, SYDNEE LARKIN: 5A GIRLS 4X100 METER RELAY STATE CHAMPS

Chian DeLoach, left, jumps into the arms of teammate Jaiden Paris after Cherokee Trail won the Class 5A girls 4×100 meter state championship on May 20, 2017, at Jeffco Stadium. (Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel)

In a season they universally described as difficult, Cherokee Trail juniors Jaiden Paris, Taylor Watson, Chian DeLoach and Sydnee Larkin banded together to do something special at the Class 5A state track meet. Coach Chris Faust’s Cougars finished third in the final 5A team standings and the tightknit group of juniors combined to score almost every one of their 58 points, with only senior Jordan Herrera contributing as well with her places in two distance events. The highlight of their state meet — which was abbreviated from three to two days due to weather — came in the 4×100 meter relay, when they won the program’s third consecutive state championship in the event. Watson has been a part of all three of those state winners, while Paris and Larkin have been on the last two and DeLoach joined for the first time as she picked up the leg run last year by graduated Symonne Holland. The Cougars came into the meet with the top seed time of 47.63 seconds, but knew it had a challenge coming from Denver East and star sophomore Arria Minor, who swept the open 100, 200 and 400 meter races at the state meet for the second year in a row.

Cherokee Trail junior Sydnee Larkin made sure neither Denver East nor anybody else overtook her down the stretch to win a third straight Class 5A girls 4×100 meter relay state championship for the Cougars. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

Minor pushed Larkin hard all the way to the finish line last year and Cherokee Trail hoped to avoid the same type of finish by building a lead, no matter how slight. Paris got that for them on the opening leg with a fine start and gave off to Watson, who kept that lead until she handed off to DeLoach and sent her off with a yell of “Go, Chi, Go!” Boosted by her teammate, DeLoach rocketed around the curve and gave off to Larkin, whose job it was to finish it off again. The Jeffco Stadium public address announcer proclaimed that Minor was gaining near the finish, prompting Larkin to lean toward the line. It turned out she had relatively plenty of room to spare as Cherokee Trail won the race in a time of 47.48 seconds to Denver East’s 47.71. The Cougars ran Colorado’s fastest time regardless of classification in the victory.

The same group of Cougars finished fourth in an Aurora-dominated 4×200 meter relay the previous day and all found some success in their individual events: Larkin won another individual state championship in the triple jump, Paris placed third in the 100 meter hurdles, Watson finished fourth in the 200 meters and fifth in the 100 meters and DeLoach collected fourth place in the triple jump and sixth in the long jump.

MORE WE ARE THE (AURORA) CHAMPIONS

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We are the (Aurora) champions: Grandview’s Brie Oakley (5A girls 3,200 meters)

We are the (Aurora) champions: Cherokee Trail’s Sydnee Larkin (5A girls triple jump)

We are the (Aurora) champions: Hinkley’s Darrien Wells (5A boys 400 meters)

We are the (Aurora) champions: Grandview’s Kylee Harr (5A girls high jump)

We are the (Aurora) champions: Hinkley’s Angel Heredia (5A boys 300 meter hurdles)

We are the (Aurora) champions: Grandview’s Kennede Brown, Kameryn Brown, Lily Williams and Michaela Onyenwere (5A girls 4×200 meter relay)

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