A whole pack of Wolves combined to produce the greatest track season in Grandview girls history in 2017.
Eleven members of the Grandview team that scored 120 points over two days at the abbreviated Class 5A state meet — the most since George Washington’s 124 in 2000 — make up the lion’s share of the Aurora Sentinel’s 2017 All-Aurora Girls Track Team, which is determined primarily by state results.
A handful of members of third-place Cherokee Trail and individuals from Rangeview (Dawnielle Lewis) and Smoky Hill (Choying O’Brien) round out Aurora’s top performances at the state meet.
Grandview’s victory gave a combined storybook ending to the phenomenal prep athletic careers of seniors Brie Oakley and Michaela Onyenwere.
Onyenwere was the driving force behind Grandview’s first 5A state basketball championship in the winter, but the UCLA-bound star also served as one of the backbones of the track team despite fighting a hamstring injury.
Buoyed by running just finals, Onyenwere won state championships with the Wolves’ 4×200 and 4×400 meter relays, came in a city-best second in the 100 and added a third in the 200, coming in a fraction of a second behind Rangeview’s Lewis for All-Aurora honors.
Oakley spent just two seasons running competitively at Grandview, but they were nothing short of remarkable. A national champion and Gatorade Runner of the Year during the cross country season, Oakley scored significantly at the state meet with a championship in the 3,200 meters and also led Aurora runners with her runner-up 1,600 finish.
Senior Kennede Brown paced Aurora qualifiers in the 300 meter hurdles with her fourth-place finish, while she got to share the 4×200 meter relay championship with younger sister, Kameryn, and also ran on the winning 4×400 relay.
Sophomore Kaitlyn Mercer ran legs on the state championship-winning 4×400 meter relay and the fourth-place 4×800 meter relay (filled out by senior Emily Schlichting and junior Caroline Robbins), while individually she contributed a city-best third place finish in the open 800 meters.
Vigil finished fourth in the shot put for an extra boost for the Wolves, giving her another high state spot after she was last season’s runner-up while throwing for Highlands Ranch.
A lot of first time state contributors more than pulled their weight for the Wolves.
Junior Kylee Harr had the most impressive debut with two state championships in three events. She won the high jump state title — a rarity for Aurora programs — by clearing 5 feet, 8 inches, despite the fact she switched to jumping off her left foot just a few days before the meet.
Harr ran in a relay for the first time as a late addition and she got the championship-winning 800 sprint medley relay team off to a strong start with the opening 100 meters and got the baton off to senior Jordyn Moore, who took it from there in her one and only state event. Harr’s fifth-place in the long jump gave her another All-Aurora spot.
Freshman Lily Williams earned All-Aurora honors four times over with her runner-up finish in the open 400 meters and legs on three championship-winning relays — the 800 sprint medley, in which she ran the anchor leg, the 4×400 and 4×200.
Fellow frosh Kameryn Brown also made her state debut with two state relay titles as part of the sprint medley and 4×200 crews.
Cherokee Trail continued its reign of dominance in the 4×100 meter relay, as junior Taylor Watson was part of a third straight state championship in the event.
Watson ran the second leg as she got the baton from junior Jaiden Paris — another holdover from last season’s team — and then gave off to junior Chian DeLoach, who turned it over to junior Sydnee Larkin for the anchor leg in great shape.
The Jeffco Stadium PA announcer declared that Denver East’s Arria Minor was gaining on Larkin near the finish line, so she made a dramatic lean that she really didn’t need to win the title. Larkin previously defended her state championship in the triple jump, winning even with her lowest jump of the year.
The Cougars’ junior foursome combined to score the majority of the team’s third-place total of 58 points through their individual and relay combinations. Paris led Aurora competitors in the 100 meter hurdles with third-place finish.
In a down year overall for Aurora girls in the discus, senior Kayla Ahrens had the top mark for the season in the city. She finished off the medal podium a state.
As a sophomore, Lewis recorded a pair of top-three finishes in the sprint events — including a city-best second in the 200 meters — and helped pace Rangeview to a pair of top-five relay performances. The Raiders’ 800 sprint medley relay finished a close third behind Grandview and Eaglecrest.
O’Brien was the only Aurora pole vaulter to qualify for the state meet and she did more than just show up. Though she came up short of the 10-10 mark she recorded at the Centennial League Championships, she cleared 10-6 to place fifth.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
2017 AURORA SENTINEL ALL-AURORA GIRLS TRACK TEAM
100 meters: Michaela Onyenwere, Grandview, sr.; 200 meters: Dawnielle Lewis, Rangeview, soph.; 400 meters: Lily Williams, Grandview, fr.; 800 meters: Kaitlyn Mercer, Grandview, soph.; 1,600 meters: Brie Oakley, Grandview, sr.; 3,200 meters: Brie Oakley, Grandview, sr.; 100 meter hurdles: Jaiden Paris, Cherokee Trail, jr.; 300 meter hurdles: Kennede Brown, Grandview, sr.; 4×100 meter relay: Cherokee Trail (Jaiden Paris, Taylor Watson, Chian DeLoach, Sydnee Larkin); 4×200 meter relay: Grandview (Kameryn Brown, Lily Williams, Kennede Brown, Michaela Onyenwere); 4×400 meter relay: Grandview (Lily Williams, Kaitlyn Mercer, Kennede Brown, Michaela Onyenwere); 4×800 meter relay: Grandview (Kaitlyn Mercer, Caroline Robbins, Emily Schlichting, Brie Oakley); 800 meter sprint medley relay: Grandview (Kylee Harr, Jordyn Moore, Kameryn Brown, Lily Williams); High jump: Kylie Harr, Grandview, jr.; Long jump: Kylie Harr, Grandview, jr.; Triple jump: Sydnee Larkin, Cherokee Trail, jr.; Pole vault: Choying O’Brien, Smoky Hill, soph.; Discus: Kayla Ahrens, Cherokee Trail, sr.; Shot put: Leilah Vigil, Grandview, jr.
Sierra Arceneaux, Hinkley, jr. (200 meters); Raina Branch, Vista PEAK, fr. (high jump/200 meters); Alisha Davis, Grandview, soph. (high jump); Chian DeLoach, Cherokee Trail, jr. (long jump/triple jump); Mariah Gordon, Eaglecrest, sr. (400 meters); Jordan Herrera, Cherokee Trail, sr. (1,600 meters/3,200 meters); Claire Hummel, Regis Jesuit, sr. (400 meters); Mikayla Jones, Vista PEAK, fr. (high jump); Brie Oakley, Grandview, sr. (800 meters); Kamryn Scott, Vista PEAK, jr. (400 meters); Taylor Watson, Cherokee Trail, jr. (100 meters/200 meters); Julyah Wilson, Overland, jr. (200 meters); Relays: 4×100 meters — Overland (Jaivion Lattimore, Shyte’Tana Davis, Krista Rhodes, Julyah Wilson); Rangeview (Ayana Brown, Ezi Ozoma, Jasmin Bowman, Dawnielle Lewis); 4×200 meters — Cherokee Trail (Jaiden Paris, Taylor Watson, Chian DeLoach, Sydnee Larkin); Overland (Jaivion Lattimore, Shyte’Yana Davis, Krista Rhodes, Julyah Wilson); Smoky Hill (Makiya Gayles, Christine Bailey, Sarah Klatt, Amelia Johannes); 800 meter sprint medley — Eaglecrest (Maleia Stewart, Tatiana Dixon, Fanta Toure, Mariah Gordon); Rangeview (Ayana Brown, Tyjae Norman, Dawnielle Lewis, Jasmin Bowman)