After a 2018 season without a state championship, Aurora boys made up for it with a handful of championships at this season’s Class 5A state meet.
Those five state winners highlight Sentinel Colorado’s 2019 All-Aurora Boys Track Team as determined by results from the 5A meet held May 16-18 at Jeffco Stadium.
Regis Jesuit senior Zion Gordon capped an outstanding season with a pair of state championships, as he grabbed both the 100 meter dash and 110 meter hurdles. He is joined by other state champions in Gateway senior Elijah Williams (200 meter dash), Grandview senior Darrian Leu-Pierre (high jump) and Eaglecrest sophomore Langston Williams (400 meters), who also won their first state titles.
Gordon committed to the University of Southern California during a season in which he won two-event state championships and turned in the top time in Colorado in the 110 meter hurdles (13.77 seconds) regardless of classification. That time put him in the top 10 nationally as well, then he topped it with a 13.62 at the Great Southwest Classic a few weeks later.
In the 100 meters, Gordon crossed the finish line in a personal best 10.67 seconds to win a championship heat with friend Cameron Harris of Brighton and fellow Aurora competitor Elijah Williams of Gateway coming in a fraction of a second behind him.
Both results were big jumps for Gordon, who finished seventh in the 100 and sixth in the 110 hurdles in 2018. He was also ninth in the 110 hurdles in 2017.
Though denied in the 100, Elijah Williams captured a state title in his favorite event, the 200 meters. In winning the first event for a Gateway individual at the state meet since Mike Ware took the 400 meters in 2015, Williams finished the season unbeaten in the 200.
His time of 22.11 seconds in the prelims was the fastest in the state field and he saved a season-best 21.67 (a shade off his PR of 21.60 run in the prelims at the 2018 state meet) for the championship final to finish nearly a half-second in front of runner-up Jackson Connelly of Regis Jesuit.
Williams, a Colorado Mesa University signee, had a phenomenal final season for coach Marty Wittmer’s Olys as he won all three sprint events at the EMAC Championships and powered Gateway to relay success before his two top-three state finishes.
Leu-Pierre’s state championship in the high jump proved to be one of the most inspiring moments of the Aurora track season as well as the state meet.
First, he had to overcome grief as his best friend, Cherokee Trail student Lloyd Chavez, was killed several days earlier. Second, Leu-Pierre hadn’t competed in the event until a couple of months earlier and never been to the state meet.
But inspiration, raw athletic ability and technique work with Grandview high jump guru Dylan Baumgarten pushed him to clear 6 feet, 6 1/2 inches to win the Centennial League championship and then clear 6-8 at state to come away victorious.
Langston Williams was one of only two state qualifiers for Eaglecrest — both sprinters — and he made the most of his appearance, including a state championship victory in the 400 meters, arguably the most grueling event on the track.
Williams qualified for state as a freshman and finished 16th out of 17 competitors in prelims for the 400, but not only qualified with the fastest time in prelims this season, but finished it with a time of 48.59 that was good enough to win despite being slower than the 48.40 that won him the Centennial League championship. Williams’ PR in the event of 48.38 — 5A’s top time for the season — came back on April 5 at the Thomas Jefferson Twilight meet.
The budding Raptors star grabbed a second All-Aurora spot in the long jump, as his season-best leap of 23 feet, 3/4 inch brought him in as the state runner-up behind runaway winner Micaylon Moore of Fort Collins.
Grandview senior Mason Schultz and Gateway senior Yonas Mogos joined Gordon and Langston Williams as two-event All-Aurora individuals.
Schultz — who had outstanding football season in the fall — swept city honors in the discus and shot put for coach John Reyes’ Wolves. He fouled on his final attempt of prelims and all three times in the final during the discus competition, but his personal best throw of 156 feet, 9 inches, was good enough to land him fifth place in a week after he threw just 122-4 1/2 at the Centennial League Championships.
Conversely, Schultz was at his best at the league meet in the shot put with a throw of 47-2 1/4 that made him the runner-up, while his top successful state throw of 44-2 1/4 left him well short of qualifying for the finals.
Mogos was an All-State first team cross country performer in the fall and kept his form in the distance events in the spring despite some injury issues. He finished the season as Aurora’s best in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters.
The EMAC champion in both events (as well as the 800 meters), Mogos turned in a strong performance in the 3,200 meter run in which he crossed the finish line in fourth place. Not at full strength, he still recorded a time of 9:33.29 in the event, which trailed his 9:24.08 from the Lyons Invitational March 30 for this season best.
Mogos found the going more difficult in the 1,600, where he was the lone Aurora runner in the state field and crossed the finish line 18th in 4:57.24, a far cry from the PR of 4:22.62 he ran just a week earlier at the St. Vrain Invitational.
Cherokee Trail had no state champions, but coach Chris Faust’s Cougars have strong representation on the All-Aurora team in senior Dillon Andrews (300 meter hurdles) and sophomore Caden Smith (800 meters) individually, along with Andrews, junior Kenny Greene, freshman Quinton Babcock and sophomore Bobby Williams in the 4×400 meter relay team, while Greene along with sophomore Nii Yartey, junior Chase Monestime and senior Malik Sparrow in the 4×200 relay.
Andrews missed making the finals of the 110 meter hurdles by 0.05 of a second, but he had the third-fastest prelim time of a season-best 38.26 seconds and qualified for the finals. He hit a hurdle and went down near the midway point in the race, but managed to collect himself and cross the finish line well behind the field for ninth place.
With Mogos scratched from the 800, Smith was the only Aurora runner in the field and he finished just slightly slower than the time that got him second place in at the Centennial League Championships (a PR of 1:57.34) as his 1:57.82 brought him 14th place.
Both Cherokee Trail relay teams finished in third-place and both turned in their fastest times of the season during the meet (1:27.21 for the 4×200 — in prelims — and 3:20.56 for the 4×400 in the finals). The 4×400 team ran almost four seconds faster in the finals than in prelims to finish behind Fort Collins and Arapahoe, which dueled to the finish line.
Individually, junior triple jumper Camwrin Harris earned Overland’s only individual All-Aurora honor, while the Trailblazers also landed two relay spots for the 4×100 (seniors Faisal Kaweesa and Nathaniel Ansah, junior Dylan Boateng and sophomore Kai Ilela) and 4×800 (senior Kobe Jara, juniors Grant Bradley and Abdi Abade and sophomore Jonael Cid Gonzalez).
Harris qualified for state for the first time to compete in the triple jump and long jump and placed sixth in both events. In a triple jump final that included three Aurora qualifiers (Rangeview’s Kobe Frazier and Braidon Nourse were the others), Harris finished fourth place with a top effort of 45-3 1/2, four inches shy of his Centennial League-winning mark from a week earlier.
The Trailblazers’ 4×800 relay team clocked a season-best time of 8:01.46 in the finals, which earned them a fifth-place spot on the medal podium. It was a massive jump for Jara, Bradley, Abade and Cid Gonzalez, who came into the event as the No. 16 seed among 18 teams.
Kaweesa, Ansah, Boateng and Ilela finished behind Rangeview in the prelims of the 4×100 relay, but topped the Raiders by 0.02 of a second in the final to claim All-Aurora honors. They ran 43.63 in the finals, while their season-best of 42.61 came earlier at the Mullen Invitational.
Senior pole vaulter Nicholas Manning put Smoky Hill on the All-Aurora team. He just missed the medal podium as he finished in a tie for 10th place with a top height of 13 feet, 6 inches, cleared on his final attempt.
Manning — who was also 10th in 2018 — matched his PR of 13-6 (accomplished earlier at the Cherry Creek Invitational) then went out of the competition when the bar was set at 14 feet. He finished as the Centennial League runner-up in the event behind Cherry Creek’s Alex Argust, who he bettered at the state meet.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected]ntinelcolorado.com. Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
2019 SENTINEL COLORADO ALL-AURORA BOYS TRACK TEAM
4×800 meter relay — Overland (Grant Bradley, Kobe Jara, Jonael Cid Gonzalez, Abdi Abade); 110 meter hurdles — Zion Gordon, sr., Regis Jesuit*; 100 meter dash — Zion Gordon, sr., Regis Jesuit*; 4×200 meter relay — Cherokee Trail (Nii Yartey, Kenny Greene, Chase Monestime, Malik Sparrow); 1,600 meter run — Yonas Mogos, Gateway, sr.; 4×100 meter relay — Overland (Faisal Kaweesa, Nathaniel Ansah, Dylan Boateng, Kai Ilela); 400 meter dash — Langston Williams, soph., Eaglecrest*; 300 meter hurdles — Dillon Andrews, sr., Cherokee Trail; 800 meter run — Caden Smith, soph., Cherokee Trail; 200 meter dash — Elijah Williams, sr., Gateway*; 3,200 meter run — Yonas Mogos, sr., Gateway; 4×400 meter relay — Cherokee Trail (Dillon Andrews, Kenny Greene, Quinton Babcock, Bobby Williams); Long jump — Langston Williams, soph., Eaglecrest; High jump — Darrian Leu-Pierre, sr., Grandview*; Pole vault — Nicholas Manning, sr., Smoky Hill; Triple jump — Camwrin Harris, jr., Overland; Discus — Mason Schultz, sr., Grandview; Shot put — Mason Schultz, sr., Grandview
Honorable mention: Sterling Brassfield, Eaglecrest, soph. (100 meters); Jackson Connelly, Regis Jesuit, jr. (200 meters); Kobe Frazier, Rangeview, sr. (triple jump); Ian Gray, Cherokee Trail, sr. (110 meter hurdles); Camwrin Harris, Overland, jr. (long jump); Anthony Hicks, Cherokee Trail, jr. (long jump); Jacqui Lee-Ricks, Rangeview, jr. (400 meters); Braidon Nourse, Rangeview, jr. (triple jump); Malik Sparrow, Cherokee Trail, sr. (200 meters); Bobby Williams, Cherokee Trail, soph. (400 meters); Elijah Williams, Gateway, sr. (100 meters); Nii Yartey, Cherokee Trail, soph. (200 meters); RELAYS: Rangeview (Davon Desmond, Rashid Seidu-Aroza, Tre’vion Weddington, Jeremiah Reed), 4×100 meter relay; Grandview (Chase Hakes, Jaden Castle, Bradley Shafer, Nico Ionnides), 4×200 meters; Rangeview (Davon Desmond, Jahmir Baker, Jacqui Lee-Ricks, Rashid Seidu-Aroza), 4×200 meter relay