AURORA | City teams and athletes won one team state championship and 11 individual titles during the 2017 spring prep sports season. Here’s an in-depth look at Grandview’s Lily Williams, Kaitlyn Mercer, Kennede Brown and Michaela Onyenwere, the Class 5A girls 4×400 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
GRANDVIEW’S LILY WILLIAMS, KAITLYN MERCER, KENNEDE BROWN & MICHAELA ONYENWERE: 5A GIRLS 4X400 METER RELAY STATE CHAMPS
The Grandview girls track team didn’t need to win the final event of the Class 5A state meet — the 4×400 meter relay — to win the program’s first state championship, but the Wolves won it because they could. The abbreviated two-day meet at Jeffco Stadium, caused by bad weather, set up perfectly for coach John Reyes’ well-rounded Grandview team by eliminating prelims. The Wolves had a knockout punch lined up if they needed it in their attempt to dethrone 2016 state champion Fort Collins in a combination of freshman Lily Williams, sophomore Kaitlin Mercer and seniors Kennede Brown and Michaela Onyenwere. After an opening day in which Grandview put up 70 points — with Williams, Brown and Onyenwere running on a championship-winning 4×200 meter relay and Williams contributing to a title-grabbing 800 meter sprint medley relay — the final race would be nothing but a cherry on top from a team perspective.
Grandview came into the meet with just the seventh-fastest time in the 4×400 relay, but put together an outstanding performance in the one-race finals format. Williams — who earlier finished as the 5A runner-up in the open 400 meters — got the Wolves off to a slight lead on the opening leg and gave off to Mercer, who was third in the open 800 meters in the first event of the day to essentially wrap up the state title for Grandview. She built slightly on the lead on her lap against Fort Collins’ star Lauren Gregory and gave off to Brown — a Colorado School of Mines signee and hurdle standout — who opened the gap even wider before giving off to Onyenwere, her teammate on the Wolves’ 5A state championship-winning girls basketball team in the winter. In a fitting way to end a superb athletic career filled with team and individual success at Grandview, Onyenwere — with her nagging left hamstring wrapped tight — took the baton and crushed the anchor leg, going so hard she ended up face down in exhaustion on the infield after the race was over.
The Wolves’ foursome posted a time of 3 minutes, 55.75 seconds that ranked as the fastest in 5A all season long and was just a bit off the best time in all of Colorado regardless of classification. Green Mountain, the 4A state champion, turned in a time of 3:55.15 at a meet during the regular season. The victory represented the fifth event state title for the meet for Grandview and added 10 more points to its soaring total, which sat finally at 120 points. The Wolves finished a cool 37 points clear of runner-up Fort Collins and accrued more points than any girls team had put up at the 5A state meet since George Washington scored four more in 2000.
MORE WE ARE THE (AURORA) CHAMPIONS
We are the (Aurora) champions: Grandview girls track team (5A state track)
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: Cherokee Trail’s Jaiden Paris, Taylor Watson, Chian DeLoach, Sydnee Larkin (5A girls 4×100 meter relay)
We are the (Aurora) champions: Grandview’s Kennede Brown, Kameryn Brown, Lily Williams and Michaela Onyenwere (5A girls 4×200 meter relay)
We are the (Aurora) champions: Hinkley’s Casey Sharpe, Oscar Sarabia, Angel Heredia and Darrien Wells (5A boys 4×200 meter relay)
We are the (Aurora) champions: Grandview’s Kylee Harr, Jordyn Moore, Kameryn Brown and Lily Williams (5A girls 800 meter sprint medley relay)
We are the (Aurora) champions: Grandview’s Amy Chitkoksoong (5A girls golf)