The young Lions continued their march toward the Colorado State track meet in May with their first qualifying meet earlier this month. The team competed in Aurora at the Bob Caviness Invitational on Saturday, April 8, and responded with forty “season-best” performances! With nearly everyone back and available from spring break, the Lions were able to load up some of their relays and move up a few spots in the state rankings.

The meet started with two victories in the 3200 relays. The girls’ team of Katie Fankhouser, Alora Cross, Hannah Paton, and Georgia Barone won the race with a time of 10:58, just off the 10:56 they ran with CeAnn Udovich in place of Georgia before spring break, and good for 6th place in the 2A state rankings. They were followed by the boys’ team of Field Soosloff, Ethan Burton, Isaac Roberts, and Colton Jonjak-Plahn, who ran 8:39 to move into 2nd place in the state behind rival Cedaredge’s 8:32. Other strong relays were turned in by the girls’ 400 meter relay team of Raven Moe, Alexa Karsel, Charlotte Rogers, and Hayley Karsel. Their 53.37 was good for 4th place in the meet and has them in 5th place in the state rankings. Alexa and Hayley combined with Katie Fankhouser and Hannah Paton to win the 1600 relay in a state-leading time of 4:20.76. The boys’ 1600 relay team of Ethan Burton, Colton Jonjak-Plahn, Isaac Roberts, and Jake Laurienti took a couple seconds off their time from last week for a third-place finish in 3:39.91, and that also has them in 3rd place in the state rankings for 2A. Liz Jonjak-Plahn, Raven Moe, Hana Fankhouser, and Ixchel Leeuwenburgh placed 4th in the 800 relay (1:57.16), and Nate Christy, Tristan Chavez, Cobey Faubus, and Dante Traghella took 7th (1:41.4).

Individually, there were a number of strong performances. The throwers had a good day with Ixchel Leeuwenburgh taking first in discus (101’ 7”) and 2nd in shot put (32’ 1.75”), Liz Jonjak-Plahn claiming 6th in discus (81’ 8”) and 4th in shot put (30’ 9.5”), Kyle Frohling finishing 2nd in discus (119’ 10”), and Colton Hanratty finishing 7th (104’ 7”), and 5th in shot put (37’ 11.5”). The jumpers also had some break-through performances. Colton Jonjak-Plahn cleared 5’ 10” in the high jump for 3rd, Tristan Chavez went 5’ 4” for 7th, Katie Fankhouser soared 4’ 6” for 6th, sisters Hana and Katie Fankhouser took 2nd and 3rd respectively in the pole vault, and Jackson Reeves and Chase Jonjak finished 6th and 8th in the boys’ vault. The races on the track had concluded by the time finals began for Bianca Mesagno in the girls’ triple jump and for Tristan Chavez in the boys’ long jump. With all of her teammates rhythmically clapping on the side of the runway, Bianca soared to a new personal best of 31’ 9” for 3rd place in the meet and 9th place in the 2A state rankings. Tristan Chavez responded to the same team support as he flew through the air for an 8th place effort of 18’ 7”.

On the track, Alexa Karsel sprinted to a 5th place finish in the 100 meter dash (13.77), Hannah Paton ran her first open 400 in 64.97 for 3rd, Georgia Barone led the 1600 from start to finish with a 5:44.03 and was followed by teammates Alora Cross in 6th (6:19.37) and Sarah Roberts in 7th (6:26.03), and freshmen Charlotte Rogers and Olivia Cope placed 6th (18.81) and 7th (19.67) in the 100 hurdles, and 5th (53.16) and 8th (60.21) in the 300 hurdles. Both of Charlotte’s times were season bests and have her ranked 17th and 18th respectively in the 2A state rankings. Top-8 placers for the boys included Colton Jonjak-Plahn winning the 800 meter run (2:08.22), Isaac Roberts finishing 3rd in the 1600 (4:49.51), Field Soosloff and Landon Milbrath running 4th and 5th in the 1600 in 4:56.42 and 4:56.68 (close finish!), Nate Christy claiming a 7th in the 110 hurdles (16.87), and freshman Simon Stone taking over thirty seconds off his previous 3200 time with a 2nd place finish in 11:06.77.

The high school team is preparing this week for the 41st Annual Boulder County Invitational, Saturday, April 15,  which brings the Boulder Valley and St. Vrain Valley high schools together for one of the longest-running meets in the state. The sixteen competing high schools range from Fairview (over 2000 students) to Nederland (less than 200 students), and Lyons has had a “David and Goliath” relationship to the meet over the past 15 years. The young Lions hope to defend their Bob Charles Trophies, an award that takes into account school size in determining the winner. The boys have won the award for the last 16 years in a row, and the girls have won 16 out of the last 17 years. The meet takes place at Longmont High School this year from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition to recognizing John Creighton, former school board president, and Bob Banning, long-time Niwot and Silver Creek coach, for their contributions over the years, there will also be over $5000 in scholarships given to seniors participating in the meet by original co-founder Lonnie Nixon. Along with the late Bob Charles, these two men’s generosity has made this meet a great event for local tracksters for more than four decades, and Lyons looks forward to honoring their sacrifices with a dedicated effort this weekend.

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