The Colorado State Track Meet is always an exciting end of the season for the Lyons Lions, and the normal schedule of three days at Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood for all five classifications has become a well-known routine since the combined meet began in 2009. However, the late winter weather that rolled in Wednesday night threw a monkey wrench into the schedule this year, and when the snow cleared, the meet had been consolidated to two long days on Saturday and

Sunday. The normal schedule of prelims and finals was condensed to finals-only and heats against time. In the field events, the long jump, triple jump, shot put and discus saved time by allowing four attempts for all competitors and no round of finals afterwards.

The young Lions had fifteen girls and thirteen boys competing in a variety of events with additional team members volunteering as student workers to help with the meet. The girls qualified all five relays, and the boys qualified all four (girls still compete in the 800 medley relay, originally added because girls didn’t start vaulting until the early 90’s, and so they have one more event than the boys).

Following is a quick rundown of all the girls’ individual events. Freshman Charlotte Rogers placed 17th in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 17.91. Freshman Alexa Karsel placed 16th in the 100-meter dash with a season-best time of 13.31. Junior Ixchel Leeuwenburgh placed 15th in the shot put with a throw of 31’ 1”. Junior Hana Fankhouser placed 13th in the pole vault with a jump of 8’ 1”. Junior Bianca Mesagno placed 13th in the long jump with a leap of 15’ 5”. Charlotte Rogers placed 11th in the 300 hurdles with a time of 50.02. Junior Georgia Barone placed 10th in the 3200-meter run at the state meet with a season best time of 11:59.84, and also placed 10th in the 1600 meter run with a season best time of 5:31.64. The top nine in each event score points and are all-state. Senior CeAnn Udovich placed 9th in the 1600-meter run with a season-best time of 5:27.17. Bianca Mesagno placed 9th in the triple jump with a season best bound of 33’ 4.75”. Freshman Katie Fankhouser placed 8th in the pole vault with a height of 8’ 1”. Freshman Hannah Paton place 6th in the 400-meter dash with a season-best time of 60.81. Sophomore Logan Kuskie finished 2nd at State in the pole vault with as season-best height of 10’ 7”. Ixchel Leeuwenburgh finished 2nd at State in the discus with a throw of 119’ 3”. Senior Brenna Kuskie was State Champion for the 2nd time (she also finished first as a sophomore) in the pole vault with a height of 11’ 1” and a new school record breaking her own record of 11’ 0” set last year.

In the girls’ relays, the 800-medley relay team of Charlotte Rogers, Raven Moe, Emily VanLeeuwen, and Maddison Frohling placed 17th at State with a time of 2:01.45. The 400-meter relay team of Hana Fankhouser, Alexa Karsel, Charlotte Rogers, and Hayley Karsel place 12th with at State with a season-best time of 52.53. The 800-meter relay team of Hayley Karsel, Hannah Paton, Ixchel Leeuwenburgh, and Alexa Karsel placed 7th at State with a season-best time of 1:50.55. The 1600-meter relay team of Hayley Karsel, Hannah Paton, Katie Fankhouser, and Alexa Karsel placed 2nd at State and ran 4:15.41. The 3200-meter relay team of Katie Fankhouser, CeAnn Udovich, Georgia Barone, and Hannah Paton finished 2nd at State with a season-best time of 10:10.37. The girls scored in 9 out of 19 opportunities at State. The girls finished fifth as team with 51.75 points.

In the individual boys’ events, junior Landon Milbrath placed 18th in the 3200 meter run with a time of 11:04.07. Junior Field Soosloff placed 16th in the 1600 meter run with a time of 4:46.44 and also placed 16th in the 800 meter run with a time of 2:05.02. Sophomore Colton Jonjak-Plahn placed 12th in the 1600-meter run with a time of 4:45.24. Junior Chase Jonjak placed 11th in the pole vault with a height of 10’ 3”. Freshman Jackson Reeves place 10th in the pole vault with a height of 10’ 3”. Freshman Isaac Roberts placed 10th in the 1600 meter run at the state meet with a time of 4:42.12. Senior Kyle Frohling placed 8th in the discus with a throw of 134’ 10”. Isaac Roberts placed 5th in the 3200 meter run in a time of 10:09.90. Junior Nate Christy placed 3rd in the 110 hurdles with a time of 15.93.

For the boys’ relays, the 400-meter relay team of Jackson Reeves, junior Jake Laurienti, sophomore Tristan Chavez, and Nate Christy placed 14th with a time of 46.00. The 800-meter relay team of Jackson Reeves, Jake Laurienti, junior Nathan Radich, and junior Cobey Faubus placed 14th with a time of 1:36.10. The 1600-meter relay team of Jake Laurienti, junior Ethan Burton, Isaac Roberts, and Colton Jonjak-Plahn placed 4th with a season-best time of 3:36.62. The 3200-meter relay team of Field Soosloff, Isaac Roberts, Ethan Burton, and Colton Jonjak-Plahn placed 2nd with a season-best time of 8:24.05. The boys scored in 5 out of 15 opportunities at State. The boys finished in a tie for 8th place with 28 points.

Highlights from the first day included the girls from Lyons running to a comfortable 2nd place finish in the 3200 relay, besting their previous time by 18 seconds, but it was the boys’ 3200 relay that provided some fireworks the end of the first day. Field Soosloff handed off to Isaac Roberts in first place, and Isaac held off a challenge from Mancos to give Ethan Burton a small lead heading into anchor Colton Jonjak-Plahn. With senior Brendon Klaseen from Cedaredge, one of the top 400/800 runners in the state, on the anchor leg, Colton did his best to build on the lead, but Klaseen slowly whittled down the lead until the homestretch where he pulled alongside Colton and managed to out lean him at the line by .14 of a second, 8:23.91 to 8:24.05. Klaseen’s closing split of 1:59 was the fastest in the race. The four Lyons runners are underclassmen and look forward to coming back next season and hopefully climbing one more step on the podium.

The rest of the team wrapped up their events by 5 p.m., and with the girls’ vault starting at 6:30, they reluctantly loaded the bus to head home for Mrs. Roberts’ “spaghetti pizza,” and an early bedtime since Sunday still contained over half of the events. The Kuskie sisters (Brenna and Logan) and Fanhkousers (Hana and Katie), were left with the other eighteen competitors as the stadium emptied. Hana and Katie both cleared 8’ 1”, and Katie did it on her first attempt to end up in a tie for 8th. Logan came in at 9’ 1” and was the new leader after her second vault at 9’ 7”. Brenna joined in at 10’ 1”, and when both cleared, they were assured of a 1-2 finish with place and height the only details left to be sorted out. Logan took the lead from her older sister when she cleared 10’ 7” on her first try, while Breann took two attempts to get her clearance. The bar moved to 11’ 1” with Brenna clearing a new school record and Logan missing her next three. Brenna chose to move the bar to 11’ 10”, 1” more than the current state record, and gave several valiant efforts. They wrapped up their awards and headed to the Roberts’ to claim the remainder of the “spaghetti pizza.”

Sunday started with junior Ixchel Leeuwenburgh competing in the girls’ discus. She steadily improved with each throw, and on her fourth and final throw, she moved from 6th to 2nd with a new personal best of 119’ 3”, just 6” short of the school record. Nate Christy provided the next points with a strong race in the 110 hurdles and his first race under 16 seconds as he finished 3rd in 15.93. Running in lane 9 of the girls’ 400-meter dash, freshman Hannah Paton dropped her best time from 62.21 to 60.81 to claim 6th place! Senior CeAnn Udovich overcame a late-season injury to claim a 9th place in the 1600-meter run in a season-best time of 5:27.17. She also ran the fastest split on the 3200 relay on Saturday to help her young teammates to their 2nd place. While the team had some strong performances during the day, no more points went on the board until the final event of the day, the 1600 relay, affectionately known as the “Race of Champions” among the Lyons’ faithful. The whole team downed their traditional watermelon before the big race and then set off to their various positions on the track.

The girls were seeded 2nd in the fast heat, but Meeker exploded out of the first heat to run 4:08, a fourteen second improvement on their seed time, and the fastest time in the state by six seconds. Following their race, the wind picked up before the start of the second, and (theoretically) faster heat. Hayley Karsel started things off with a solid sub-65 leg in the wind, and Hannah Paton took the baton with the leaders. She came out of the first turn stagger in 6th place, but she was just getting started. With the rest of the Lyons team chanting their names and pounding the fence at the 250-meter mark of the race, the support always ignites gallant efforts from the Lyons runners, and Hannah responded with a great finish and a 15-meter lead for fellow freshman Katie Fankhouser. Katie opened another few meters of breathing room before handing off to the final freshman on the team, and

Alexa Karsel brought the baton home with a win in the second heat and 2nd place overall in 4:15.41. They’ll be back for a shot at the young Meeker team next year.

For the boys, Jake Laurienti led things off with another solid leg out of lane 1, and junior Ethan Burton, the fastest Lion over 400 meters, came off the turn in 8th place right on the back of a pack of three. He navigated his way through the group and handed off to freshman Isaac Roberts in 4th place after a 52.3 split. Isaac was passed by several runners on the backstretch, but they paid the price the last 150 meters, and Isaac managed to reclaim the 4th position and give Colton Jonjak-Plahn a comfortable lead heading into the anchor leg. Colton, more of an 800/1600 type and tired from his two earlier races in the day, was quickly passed by three teams on the backstretch, but, once again, with his teammates hammering his name on the fence at the top of the last turn, he found new strength the last 150 meters and propelled himself all the way back to 4th place at the finish line beating 5th, 6th, and 7th by less than a second in a photo finish!

The closing race typified the fighting spirit of the team all season, and with so many young runners, the experience was priceless as they prepare to chase team trophies again next year. The team is thankful for their seniors and the leadership they provided this year, and they look forward to building on this state experience as they head into summer break. The coaching staff and team thank all the parents, fans, and alumni who supported the team all season.

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