AURORA | City individuals and relay teams combined to win five individual event championships at the Class 5A girls state track & field championships June 24-26, 2021, at Jefferson County Stadium. Here’s a quick look at each state champion and how they won:
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
Overland’s Zeaniah Wedgeworth: Class 5A girls 100 meter hurdles — Wedgeworth placed fifth in the event back in 2018 as a freshman and moved up to third her sophomore season, but the coronavirus pandemic scrubbed her chance to win a state championship as a junior. Wedgeworth took advantage as a senior by winning the event, gritting through injury to cross the finish line in 14.36 seconds to top of field in which five of the nine finalists were from Aurora programs. Her time of 14.27 seconds that netted her the Centennial League championship in the event a week before state finished the season as the tops in Colorado regardless of classification and she ran 14.28 in the state prelims.
Grandview’s Melody Nwagwu: Class 5A girls triple jump — The Wolves’ senior multiple-event standout popped 5A’s best triple jump of the season of 40 feet, 7 inches, at the Centennial League Championship meet, which was an inch off her PR and sent her into state as the top seed in the event by a full foot. The Cal Poly recruit ended up winning by less than six inches, however, over Fort Collins’ Taryn Burkett when competition came to a close. But it wasn’t really that close as any one of Nwagwu’s four attempts that went over 39 feet would have won the championship, has efforts of 39-7 1/2, 39-8 3/4, 39-5 and finally 39-9 all topped Burkett’s 39-3 1/4. Nwagwu finished her career as a three-time state finalist in the triple jump, as she finished 10th as a freshman in 2018 and ninth in 2019.
Regis Jesuit’s Fabiola Belibi: Class 5A long jump — The first state championship for Belibi came with a little bit of a everything, just not the distance she had been hoping to hit. The younger sister of former Regis Jesuit hoops star Fran Belibi popped a jump of 19 feet, 7 inches, the week before state at the Continental League Championship meet and the junior came in as the top seed by more than a foot. Weather conditions in part conspired to prevent Belibi’s quest to jump over 20 feet — as well as losing her mark, which caused her to scratch on her final attempt of her prelim flight — and she settled for a winning jump of 18 feet, which came on the first jump of the day. Belibi’s finals flight got interrupted for an hour by lightning, rain and wind and she officially took the title with most of the Jefferson County Stadium stands cleared out due to the weather.
Grandview’s Saniya Craft, McKenzie Droughns, Amber Davis and Molly Skurcenski: Class 5A girls 800 meter sprint medley relay — The Wolves finished the season with their best performance of the season of 1 minute, 46.71 seconds, and won a state championship by more than two full seconds with 5A’s fastest time of the season. Senior Craft got Grandview off to a flying start, sophomore Droughns and senior Davis grew the lead and junior Skurcenski flew to the finish without a threat as the team posted the second-fastest in Colorado regardless of classification behind 4A Niwot’s 1:45.16 at the Erie Tiger Invitational. Grandview ran 1:49.92 in the prelims, a time that was No. 2 in qualifying behind Valor Christian (1:48.60), which came into state with the top time by more than two seconds over the Wolves. The Eagles got disqualified in the finals, however, for a zone violation.
Grandview’s Saniya Craft, Gabriella Cunningham, Amber Davis, Molly Skurcenski: Class 5A girls 4×200 meter relay — Just two hours after winning the sprint medley relay, seniors Craft and Davis and junior Skurcenski had plenty left in the tank and teamed up with freshman Cunningham to deliver the Wolves another relay state championship. With a time of 1 minute, 42.07 seconds, the Grandview team had the second-fastest time in prelims behind Valor Christian (1:41.95), but dropped a full second in the final with a 5A-best time of 1:41.07 seconds, to finish 0.82 of a second in front of the Eagles, who had also been the top seed coming into state. Craft led off as she had the previous championship-winning relay, gave off to Cunningham, who tapped Davis for the third leg and Skurcenski finished.