There was no sophomore slump in Aurora girls track — quite the opposite, in fact.
Five sophomores — including four from Cherokee Trail — combined to win four of the six individual and relay state championships for city girls at the Class 5A and 4A state track meet, and they appear to just be getting started.
The state championship-winning youngsters make up a key part of the 2016 Aurora Sentinel All-City Girls Track Team, which includes 19 athletes from six city programs who achieved a massive amount of success in the three-day meet at Jefferson County Stadium.
Sophomores Aumni Ashby, Sydnee Larkin, Jaiden Paris and Taylor Watson combined to win two state relay crowns (the 4×100 and 4×200 meter relays) and an individual title (Larkin in the triple jump) to help the Cougars finish an Aurora-best third as a team.
Due to injury, coach Chris Faust’s team didn’t have quite enough firepower to defend its state title from last season, but Cherokee Trail scored heavily in relays (senior Symonne Holland ran on both winning relays) and earned All-Aurora honors in four of the five relay events.
Minnie Harrison, Kelly Penney, Amaya Poole and Anastacia Johnson also contributed to the Cougars’ relay dominance. Johnson was also the city’s top high jumper, though she didn’t qualify for state in the event.
Larkin hoped to win last season’s triple jump crown, only to see teammate Amazing Ashby win the event, but she got her title this time.
Vista PEAK’s own super sophomore, Maya Evans, won her second 4A state championship in the long jump, though with a touch of drama as she landed just one of her six attempts to take the title.
Evans landed the top non-wind-aided long jump in the country of 20 feet, 6 1/4 inches at the Liberty Bell Invitational and she admitted she put too much pressure on herself to try to eclipse the mark at the state meet.
Grandview’s Brie Oakley may have been a junior in school, but it was her first state meet after she recently took up competitive running.
The state runner-up at the 5A state cross country meet in the fall had no trouble with the big stage in track, either. Oakley set a 5A state meet record in the 3,200 meters and took the 1,600 title as well, despite getting tripped during the race and still almost getting back in the lead near the finish line.
The Wolves also got a phenomenal showing from junior Michaela Onyenwere, a basketball star who also happens to be Aurora’s top sprinter. Onyenwere was most pleased with her time in the 400 meters, while she also posted the city’s best times in the 100 and 200 meters as well, in addition to a fifth-place finish in the long jump, though she admitted she hardly practiced the event at all.
Freshman Kailtyn Mercer topped city performers in the 800 meters and combined with Oakley, junior Caroline Robbins and senior Kayla Vallin as the Wolves ruled the city in the 4×800 meter relay.
Regis Jesuit sophomore Kylie Davis swept the All-City spots in the hurdles for a second straight season.
Smoky Hill athletes got the best of a pair of field events as freshman Choying O’Brien made a strong debut in the pole vault and senior Jaye Cooney was the only Aurora athlete to make state in the girls discus, though she scratched on all three of her attempts.
Eaglecrest senior Codi Jarmond got on the medal podium in ninth place in the shot put to take the All-City position.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
2016 AURORA SENTINEL ALL-CITY GIRLS TRACK & FIELD TEAM
100 meters: Michaela Onyenwere, jr., Grandview; 200 meters: Michaela Onyenwere, jr., Grandview; 400 meters: Michaela Onyenwere, jr., Grandview; 800 meters: Kaitlyn Mercer, fr, Grandview; 1,600 meters: Brie Oakley, jr., Grandview*; 3,200 meters: Brie Oakley, jr., Grandview*; 100 meter hurdles: Kylie Davis, soph., Regis Jesuit; 300 meter hurdles: Kylie Davis, soph., Regis Jesuit; 4×100 meter relay: Cherokee Trail (Jaiden Paris, Taylor Watson, Symonne Holland, Sydnee Larkin)*; 4×200 meter relay: Cherokee Trail (Jaiden Paris, Taylor Watson, Aumni Ashby, Symonne Holland)*; 4×400 meter relay: Cherokee Trail (Aumni Ashby, Symonne Holland, Kelly Penney, Minnie Harrison); 4×800 meter relay: Grandview (Kaitlyn Mercer, Kayla Vallin, Caroline Robbins, Brie Oakley); 800 sprint medley relay: Cherokee Trail (Amaya Poole, Anastacia Johnson, Taylor Watson, Kelly Penney); High jump: Anastacia Johnson, sr., Cherokee Trail; Long jump: Maya Evans, soph., Vista PEAK*; Triple jump: Sydnee Larkin, soph., Cherokee Trail*; Pole vault: Choying O’Brien, fr., Smoky Hill; Shot put: Codi Jarmond, sr., Eaglecrest; Discus: Jaye Cooney, sr., Smoky Hill
* — State champion
Honorable mention: Aumni Ashby, soph., Cherokee Trail (triple jump); Kennede Brown, jr., Grandview (300 meter hurdles); Maya Evans, soph., Vista PEAK (100 & 200 meters); Sydnee Larkin, soph., Cherokee Trail (long jump, 100 meters); Dawnielle Lewis, fr., Rangeview (100 & 200 meters); Brie Oakley, jr., Grandview (800 meters); Michaela Onyenwere, jr., Grandview (long jump); Kamryn Scott, soph., Vista PEAK (400 meters); Taylor Watson, soph., Cherokee Trail (100 meters); Relays: Eaglecrest 4×200, 4×400 & 800 sprint medley (Deisy Borunda, Fanta Toure, Deme McDowell, Mariah Gordon); Hinkley 4×100 (Sierra Arceneaux, Maegan Walker, Kierra Arceneaux, Raquel Isaac); Overland 4×100 & 4×200 (Julyah Wilson, Jaivion Lattimore, Krista Rhodes, Shyte’yana Davis); Regis Jesuit 4×100 (Bree Hysaw, Claire Hummel, Kylie Davis, Kayla Carmen)