LAKEWOOD | Raina Branch fell short of her ideal height in the Class 4A girls high jump May 17, but settled for a state title.
The Vista PEAK junior hoped to clear 5 feet, 8 inches, in competition at Jeffco Stadium, which she thought would put her in contention to win.
It turned out that 5-6 was enough for Branch to take the state title — the program’s first since Maya Evans won the long jump in 2016 — as she won over Roosevelt’s Raquel Reese by virtue of fewer misses.
Branch cleared 5-6 on her first attempt, while it took Reese until her third for a successful jump. Both missed all three tries at 5-7. Branch lost the 4A title in similar fashion last season when she cleared 5-7 1/2 along with Silver Creek’s Rylee Anderson, but had one more miss than Anderson.
Branch finished the season with 4A’s top height, however, as she cleared 5-6 1/2 at the St. Vrain Invite May 11. That mark gave her a 1/4-inch edge over Reese for the season.
She also finished as the state runner-up in the long jump, placed fifth in the 200 meter dash and combined with Lainey Morris, Mikayla Jones and Kaya Evans on the sixth-place 4×200 meter relay to help coach Quinn Pack’s Bison to an 11th-place total of 28 points.
In an outstanding meet for Aurora high jumpers, Grandview’s Darrian Leu-Pierre and Alisha Davis won the 5A boys (story) and girls titles, respectively.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports