Hinkley’s continued resurgence again marked the biggest story in Aurora boys track in 2017.
Stars Darrien Wells and Angel Heredia each won individual state championships for the second straight season — and threw in a relay title to boot — as the Thunderbirds headline the Aurora Sentinel’s 2017 All-Aurora Boys Track Team, which is based primarily on results from the Class 5A state track meet.
Cherokee Trail, Regis Jesuit, Grandview, Rangeview, Overland and Smoky Hill also earned at least some representation among the city’s top performers.
Wells streaked to his second straight 5A state championship in the 400 meters and finished just 0.3 seconds out of first in the 100 and 200 as well. Wells’ performance as the anchor leg on the Thunderbirds’ 4×200 meter relay is the most memorable, however, as he dove across the finish line to give his team the state title.
Heredia also ran a leg on that winning relay along with fellow juniors Oscar Sarabia and Casey Sharpe, which tuned him up for his attempt at a second straight state title in the 300 meter hurdles. Running alongside the most serious challenger, Cherokee Trail’s Kellen Monestime, Heredia earned his coveted repeat. He also earned All-Aurora honors in the 110 meter hurdles with a third-place finish.
In his one and only state meet, Monestime made the medal podium four times in all and twice as a runner-up, as he teamed up with KJ Sapp, Tyler Kruse and Nelson Alluce to finish second in the 4×100 relay. The Cougars (fourth as a team) challenged top-seeded Fountain-Fort Carson until the end, but couldn’t overtake the Trojans.
Senior Rylan Wallace led Aurora runners in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters, while senior Ruben Estrada’s fifth-place finish in the discus provided another shot of points for Cherokee Trail.
Regis Jesuit scored points here and there, with the big totals coming primarily from the field events.
Senior Geoffrey Lord rushed to the pole vault competition shortly after the school’s graduation ceremony and got ready enough earn a podium spot in the event. One of only four vaulters in the state to clear 15 feet during the season (15-4), Lord’s 14-7 — achieved in fewer attempts than a handful of others who cleared the same height, including Eaglecrest’s Josiah Barker — put him in fourth place.
Junior Tama Tuitele made a name for himself as a linebacker for Regis Jesuit in the fall, but he performed well in the shot put all season as well. Tuitele managed to leapfrog in front of another Aurora football player — Grandview’s Robert Moss — to earn the All-Aurora spot with his second place finish.
Overland sophomore Lacina Sangare represented the only Aurora state qualifier in the high jump and he made something of his first state appearance. Sangare cleared 5-11 and grabbed a spot on the medal podium in a logjam for ninth place. The Trailblazers finished 16th as a team.
Grandview picked up points at the state meet in a variety of places, but neither of the two All-Aurora spots gained by the Wolves came with points.
Junior Caleb Randolph finished the season as Aurora’s top 800 meter runner, though his season-best time of 2:01.67 left him out of a top 18 spots that qualified for state. Randolph combined with Chris Liston, Erick Valencia and Dan Karny on a 4×800 meter relay performance that didn’t make them particularly happy in terms of time or place (14th), but led Aurora competitors.
Aurora’s most accomplished jumper was Rangeview senior Chance Walker, who paced the city in both the triple jump and long jump. Keeping his focus despite some challenges in his personal life, Walker finished as the state runner-up in the long jump, while he grabbed four in the triple jump.
Smoky Hill had no individual qualifiers for the state meet, but the 4×400 meter relay team of Josh Cordova, Calvin Nguyen, Karson Avila and Darrius Gaw managed to secure All-Aurora honors in the event. The Buffaloes’ finished in 12th place, just in front of Regis Jesuit.
Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
2017 AURORA SENTINEL ALL-AURORA BOYS TRACK TEAM
100 meters: Darrien Wells, Hinkley, sr.; 200 meters: Darrien Wells, Hinkley, sr.; 400 meters: Darrien Wells, Hinkley, sr.; 800 meters: Caleb Randolph, Grandview, jr.; 1,600 meters: Rylan Wallace, Cherokee Trail, sr.; 3,200 meters: Rylan Wallace, Cheroke Trail, sr.; 110 meter hurdles: Angel Heredia, Hinkley, jr.; 300 meter hurdles: Angel Heredia, Hinkley, jr.; 4×100 meter relay: Cherokee Trail (Nelson Alluce, Tyler Kruse, KJ Sapp, Kellen Monestime); 4×200 meter relay: Hinkley (Casey Sharpe, Oscar Sarabia, Angel Heredia, Darrien Wells); 4×400 meter relay: Smoky Hill (Josh Cordova, Calvin Nguyen, Karson Avila, Darrius Gaw); 4×800 meter relay: Grandview (Caleb Randolph, Erick Valencia, Dan Karny, Chris Liston); High jump: Lacina Sangare, Overland, soph.; Long jump: Chance Walker, Rangeview, sr.; Triple jump: Chance Walker, Rangeview, sr.; Pole vault: Geoffrey Lord, Regis Jesuit, sr.; Discus: Ruben Estrada, Cherokee Trail, sr.; Shot put: Tama Tuitele, Regis Jesuit, jr.
Josiah Barker, Ealgecrest, sr. (pole vault); Jackson Connelly, Regis Jesuit, fr. (200 meters); Ruben Estrada, Cherokee Trail, sr. (shot put); Paulison Fosu, Overland, sr. (110 meter hurdles); Zion Gordon, Regis Jesuit, soph. (110 meter hurdles); Aaron Harris, Grandview, jr. (long jump); Angel Heredia, Hinkley, jr. (400 meters); Blaize Holland, Cherokee Trail, jr. (400 meters); Kellen Monestime, Cherokee Trail, sr. (110 meter hurdles/300 meter hurdles); Robert Moss, Grandview, sr. (shot put); Cameron Murray, Overland, jr. (200 meters/400 meters); Oscar Sarabia, Hinkley, jr. (300 meter hurdles); Mathew Thomas, Rangeview, sr. (long jump); Kevin Traylor Jr., Gateway, jr. (long jump); Kenny Wantings, Eaglecrest, jr. (100 meters/200 meters); Relays: 4×200 meters — Cherokee Trail (Kellen Monestime, Tyler Kruse, Blaize Holland, KJ Sapp); Regis Jesuit (Ike Gholston, Jackson Connelly, Zion Gordon, Medhane Kiflom); Grandview (Joseph Blount, Hayden Blubaugh, Brandon Bodner, Aaron Harris)