Interview requests came flying at Ana Holland May 18.
First after she won the 100 meter dash with the country’s top time, and again after she finished the 400 meters in a time that also marked the nation’s best.
Gracious by nature, Holland turned them down. She had t0 keep her edge as she chased one of the rarest feats at the state track meet — the sprint triple crown. One one-thousandth of a second denied her in 2011, so she had to keep her edge if she wanted to finish it off.
When she crossed the finish line to win the 200, Holland could finally smile. And do interviews.
“People kept coming up and saying ‘can I interview you?’ after my 100 and I was like ‘I still have two more races, so no,’” Holland said sheepishly afterwards.
“I don’t try to celebrate until I’m done with the whole meet, because that obviously can lead to a lack of concentration and focus. I get my game face on and get in my zone and don’t really talk to anyone.”
Holland finished her prep career with a total of six state championships, five individual — two in the 100 and 400 meters and one in the 200 meters — plus one with Regis Jesuit’s 800 sprint medley relay, which included her older sister Mia, in 2011.
And that’s minus a full season, as Holland watched the state meet from the stands in 2012 because of a nagging Achilles injury.
All this from an athlete who arrived at Regis Jesuit looking to play basketball and instead ended up on the track, where she went from “clueless” to a six-time state champion, a triple crown winner and a future Division I athlete at the University of Virginia.
And she didn’t do it against a slow field, either.
University of Kansas-bound Smoky Hill senior Zainab Sanni, Pine Creek sophomore speedster Alleandra Watt, Cherry Creek senior Emily Romo and budding Cherokee Trail sophomore Shayna Yon all stood in her way.
“I feel really blessed to be able to triple up and run against all this amazing competition in Colorado,” Holland said. “Colorado is now becoming a sprint state, so it’s nice to not have to travel to get that kind of competition.”
She credited the tenacious Watt for helping push her to a time of 52.49 seconds in the 400 meter dash, which lifted her over Malayshia George of Mill Creek, Ga., into the nation’s top spot according to Milesplit.com.
Holland almost didn’t run the 400, as she twisted her left foot in warmups. But she gutted it out.
“I was almost going to scratch it, but I thought ‘this is my last high school meet, so we’re going to go for it,” she said. “It hurts, but everything else hurts in the 400, so if that was going to hurt, too, oh well.”
Holland said she wasn’t nervous for the 200, the event she lost to George Washington’s Chyna Ries by literally a hair’s length in 2011. Watt pushed her to the edge again, but she finished it strong.
“Tripling up is honestly really stressful; you have to focus on so much at once, so I’m glad it’s over,” Holland said.
Regis Jesuit senior Kelsey Cunningham won the triple jump for the fourth state title for Aurora girls.
Cunningham led the state for most of the season in the event and didn’t quite match her wind legal-best jump of 39 feet, but 38-11 1/2 was enough to capture the title.
The Raiders came in fourth place as a team, 12 points behind third-place Cherokee Trail.
The Cougars had a relatively small squad, but racked up 57 points, keyed by two second-place relay teams and scoring in three individual events from sophomore Shayna Yon — who was third in the 100 — and two from junior Hannah Sparks.
Smoky Hill came in seventh behind three places each from Sanni (100, 200 and long jump) and distance runner Rachael Chacko, who finished second in the 3,200.
Grandview got second-place finishes from senior Anna Loken in the pole vault and senior Adaeze Obinnah in the shot put, plus two top-7 distance results from Erin Norton.
Eaglecrest took second in the 800 sprint medley and senior Christina Fasci scored in both throwing events to put up seven points for Rangeview.
Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at [email protected] or 303-750-7555
2013 CLASS 5A GIRLS STATE TRACK STANDINGS
Team scores: 1. Cherry Creek 86; 2. Arapahoe 64; 3. CHEROKEE TRAIL 57; 4. REGIS JESUIT 45; 5. Pine Creek 44; 6. Ft. Collins 42; 7. SMOKY HILL 41; T8. Fountain-Fort Carson 37; T8. Rocky Mountain 37; 10. ThunderRidge 36; T11. GRANDVIEW 33; T11. Poudre 33; 13. Denver East 30; 14. Loveland 29; 15. Fossil Ridge 24; 16. Fairview 21; T17. Legacy 19; T17. George Washington 19; T17. Monarch 19; 20. Lakewood 18; T21. Arvada West 15; T21. Brighton 15; 23. Rock Canyon 14; 24. Boulder 9; T25. EAGLECREST 8; T25. Rampart 8; T25. Littleton 8; T25. Palmer 8; T29. RANGEVIEW 7; T29. Mountain Range 7; T29. Highlands Ranch 7; T32. Montbello 5; T32. Chatfield 5; T34. Doherty 4; T34. Dakota Ridge 4; T36. Grand Junction 2.5; T36. Chaparral 2.5; T38. Legend 1; T38. Central (GJ) 1; T38. Greeley West 1; T38. Standley Lake 1; T38. Mountain Vista 1.
AURORA GIRLS STATE TRACK PLACERS BY SCHOOL
CHEROKEE TRAIL: Amanda Andrews (6th, 300 hurdles); Charley Hatcher (7th, discus); Maddie Leatherbury (8th, discus); Hannah Sparks (4th, long jump/5th, triple jump); Shayna Yon (3rd, 100 meters/5th, 200 meters/7th, long jump); Relays: 4×100 (2nd), 4×200 (2nd), 800 sprint medley (4th); EAGLECREST: Relay: 800 sprint medley (2nd); GRANDVIEW: Anna Loken (2nd, pole vault); Erin Norton (2nd, 1,600 meters/7th, 3,200 meters); Stephanie Nwagwu (4th, triple jump); Adaeze Obinnah (2nd, shot put); RANGEVIEW: Christina Fasci (6th, discus/7th shot put); REGIS JESUIT: Kelsey Cunningham (State champion, triple jump); Ana Holland (State champion, 100, 200 & 400 meters); Sydney Rohlwing (8th, 300 hurdles); SMOKY HILL: Rachael Chacko (4th, 800 meters/3rd, 1,600 meters/2nd, 3,200 meters); Zainab Sanni (2nd, 100 meters/4th, 200 meters/6th, long jump); Relay: 4×400 (8th)