Track & Field: Grandview’s Smith becomes a factor with two places to open 5A state

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Class 5A state track meet, 5.15.14
Smoky Hill senior Tesfai Holt tries to clear the bar set at 15 feet during the Class 5A boys pole vault at the state meet May 15, 2014, at Jefferson County Stadium. Holt cleared 14 feet, 6 inches, successfully and placed fifth for the second straight season. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

LAKEWOOD | JR Smith jump-started Grandview’s hopes of winning the Class 5A boys state track championship Thursday.

The Wolves’ senior beat his projections in both the long jump and the high jump on the opening day of the three-day meet at Jefferson County Stadium, contributing 10 key points to his team’s dream of taking state.

Smith popped his best jump of the day on his last attempt to finish second in the long jump and grabbed two points he wasn’t projected to get in the high jump — with junior Tristan Sisneros also grabbing an unexpected five with his fifth-place finish — to give Grandview an early boost.

Class 5A state track meet, 5.15.14
Grandview senior JR Smith stretches out during an attempt in the finals of the 5A long jump on the first day of the state track meet May 15, 2014, at Jefferson County Stadium. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

“Me and Tristan weren’t planning to score any points in the high jump, but we both ended up with 6-6 PRs, breaking our school record and getting points for Grandview,” Smith said. “The eight points I added in the long jump is also going to help us in the long run…As a team, we’re peaking at the right time.”

Through the six finals contested on the first day, Grandview finished with 15 points, good enough for fourth overall and three more than Centennial League rival Cherokee Trail, the defending 5A state champion.

Other good signs for the Wolves on the first day of the state meet included senior Kossi Tchenawou and junior Shayne Watson both qualifying for the finals of the 100 and 200 meters, Sisneros and junior Isaiah Brown making the final of the 110 meter hurdles and the 4×200 meter relay team also advancing.

Smith and Sisneros got things rolling with their finishes in the high jump. Both came in with top marks of 6-4, which put them out of the points if the meet was scored based on seeding, but both jumped two inches higher to get onto the podium.

“I kept my hips up and just executed everything,” Sisneros said.

Smith managed to clear 6-6 despite jumping with a broken plate in the left foot of his jumping shoes, which left him “crazy ecstatic” about his effort.

Later in the long jump, Smith knew he needed a big jump to beat Highlands Ranch’s Ben Morgan, who sat in first place with a jump of 22 feet, 8 1/2 inches. Smith had scratched some 23-foot-plus jumps in practice and just scratched a jump that would have been a 23-9 at recent meet, so he knew he was capable.

With his teammates doing a slow clap for him — which Smith said gives him extra adrenaline — Smith launched himself on jump that came in agonizingly short at 22-6 1/2.

“It felt longer than 22-6, but it’s no big deal,” Smith said. “Now I’m exhausted, but happy.”

Defending champion Cherokee Trail scored all 12 of its points in the field events thanks to a pair of fourth-place finishes from senior Harley Korte in the pole vault and  sophomore David Thornton in the high jump.

Korte cleared 14 feet, 6 inches — the same mark that netted him second place last season — while Thornton cleared 6-7 — a half-inch below his PR — to greatly improve on his ninth-place showing a year ago.

Cherokee Trail’s 4×200 meter relay team qualified for finals with the second-fastest time of the prelims, while senior Brandon Singleton had the top prelim times in both the 200 and 400 meters and senior Mar’Keith Bailey also made the finals of the 400.

Regis Jesuit’s 11 points came with a big boost from sophomore Austin Campbell, who finished second behind Fossil Ridge’s Tyler Russell in the high jump.

Campbell’s top jump of 6-7 was one inch short of his season PR and Russell’s winning height, but got him on the second-highest step on the medal podium after he finished 10th last season.

“I’m just looking to go to college for track, so I’ve got some time to keep improving; hopefully I’ll hit 7 feet some time,” said Campbell, who didn’t place in the long jump.

Senior Jordan Hatfield couldn’t defend the pole vault state championship he won last season, as his top height cleared was 14 feet, which left the Duke signee seventh.

Sprinter John Schmidt qualified for the finals of both the 100 and 200 meters for the Raiders, as the senior speedster recorded a top five time in both events.

Smoky Hill’s five points came courtesy of senior Tesfai Holt’s fifth-place finish in the pole vault, the same place he took in the event in 2013.

Holt topped his previous season best by almost five full inches when he cleared 14-6 successfully.

In 4A boys competition, Vista PEAK senior Ayo Sanusi failed to place in the triple jump, but qualified for the finals of the 100 meters, while fellow senior Kevin Morales grabbed the last spot in the 110 meter hurdles final.

Full results for first day, here.

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

2014 CLASS 5A BOYS STATE TRACK MEET

Team scores (through six events): 1. Fossil Ridge 24 points; 2. Chaparral 18; 3. Highlands Ranch 16; T4. GRANDVIEW 15; T4. Fountain-Fort Carson 15; 6. Cherry Creek 14; T7. Mountain Vista 13; T7. Pine Creek 13; 9. CHEROKEE TRAIL 12; 10. REGIS JESUIT 11; T11. Denver East 10; T11. Rocky Mountain 10; T11. Monarch 10; T11. Liberty 10; 15. Fort Collins 9; T16. Doherty 7; T16. Mountain Range 7; T18. Lakewood 6.5; T18. Pomona 6.5; T20. Columbine 6; T20. Boulder 6; T22. SMOKY HILL 5; T22. Chatfield 5; T22. Douglas County 5; T22. ThunderRidge 5; T26. Rampart 4; T26. Rock Canyon 4; 28. Poudre 3

CLASS 5A BOYS FINALS (May 15)

4×800 meter relay: 1. Chaparral, 7 minutes, 51.32 seconds; 2. Cherry Creek, 7:57.19; 3. Fountain-Fort Carson, 7:57.98; 4. Mountain Vista, 8:01.98; 5. ThunderRidge, 8:04.13; 6. Rock Canyon, 8:09.41; 7. Douglas County, 8:10.76; 8. Liberty, 8:10.87; 9. Fossil Ridge, 8:11.84; Aurora result: 17. Smoky Hill (Ryan Parker, Phillip Coen, Cody Miller, Jamal Ali), 8:42.07

High jump: 1. Tyler Russell (Fossil Ridge), 6 feet, 8 inches; 2. AUSTIN CAMPBELL (REGIS JESUIT), 6-7; 3. Dionne Taylor (Pine Creek), 6-7; 4. DAVID THORNTON (CHEROKEE TRAIL), 6-7; 5. TRISTON SISNEROS (GRANDVIEW), 6-6; 6. Duane McClurklin (Fountain-Fort Carson), 6-6; 7. Trevor Rex (Highlands Ranch), 6-6; 8. JR SMITH (GRANDVIEW) 6-6; 9. Gavin Lamp (Fairview), 6-5

Long jump: 1. Ben Morgan (Highlands Ranch), 22 feet, 8 1/2 inches; 2. JR SMITH (GRANDVIEW), 22-6 1/2; 3. Tyler Russell (Fossil Ridge), 22-4 1/2; 4. Bernard McDondle (Columbine), 22-1 3/4; 5. Anthony Brown (Lakewood), 21-6 3/4; 6. Charles Tigner (Fountain-Fort Carson), 21-6 1/2; 7. Connor Turnage (Highlands Ranch), 21-3 3/4; 8. Nathaneal Norris (Douglas County), 21-3; 9. Langston Stuckey (Fort Collins), 21-2; Other Aurora results: 16. Austin Campbell (Regis Jesuit), 20-2 1/2; 17. Kyree Herron (Cherokee Trail), 20-1 1/2; 18. Arsean Wilbon (Cherokee Trail), 19-4 1/2

Pole vault: 1. Andrew Barlow (Monarch), 16 feet; 2. Nolan Ellis (Chaparral), 15-0; 3. Brad Mattison (Doherty), 15-0; 4. HARLEY KORTE (CHEROKEE TRAIL), 14-6; 5. TESFAI HOLT (SMOKY HILL), 14-6; 6. Dylan King (Fossil Ridge) 14-0; 7. JORDAN HATFIELD (REGIS JESUIT), 14-0; T8. Michael Chado (Lakewood), 13-6; T8. Nate O’Niell (Pomona) 13-6

Discus: 1. Max McDonald (Rocky Mountain), 162 feet, 11 inches; 2. Matt Simmons (Liberty), 157-1; 3. Patrick Byerly (Mountain Range), 152-7; 4. Stanford Cooper (Cherry Creek), 151-1; 5. Joey Roselli (Chatfield), 148-00; 6. Adrian Brukner (Rampart), 146-7; 7. Mason Lopez (Palmer), 141-9; 8. Brad Werner (Boulder), 139-2; 9. Quinton Walton (Grand Junction), 139-00; Aurora result: Deyon Sizer (Eaglecrest), Foul

CLASS 4A BOYS FINALS (May 15)

Triple jump: 1. Peter Greco (Wheat Ridge), 45 feet, 11 1/2 inches; 2. Kyree Gerstle-Goodman (Widefield), 45-2 1/4; 3. Riley Rowles-Birdsong (Eagle Valley), 44-8; 4. Kahlil James (Mesa Ridge), 44-5; 5. Dee Lee (Vista Ridge), 44-2 1/2; 6. Robert Carlson (Broomfield), 44-0; 7. Colt Sessions (Cheyenne Mountain), 43-11 3/4; 8. Brandon King (Windsor), 43-9 1/4; 9. Landon Gonser (Greeley Central), 43-7 3/4; Aurora result: 13. Ayo Sanusi (Vista PEAK), 42-8 1/2