Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley

Near “perfect day’ in early season track and field


March 22, 2018

Photo by Jocelyn Rowley Niwot sophomore Cruz Culpepper runs the 800M at the Windsor Invitational on March 17.

Even on St. Patrick’s Day, it wasn’t hard to spot the green-clad Niwot athletes competing in the Windsor Invitational, as they were almost always out in front of the pack. On a sunny spring day, tailor made for running fast, both veterans and newcomers set new personal bests in many of the meet’s sprint events, helping both the boys and girls to their second top-ten finishes of the still-early season.

“It’s a perfect day,” Niwot head coach Maurice Henriques said. Now in his eighth year, Henriques will be assisted this season by cross-country coach Kelly Christensen and football coach Jeremy Lanter, among others. “At the Frederick Pow Wow last night, the wind was blowing so hard, it felt like a blizzard. But to come out here today, it’s like ‘Welcome to Colorado.’”

The beautiful weather also seemed to bring out the best in his athletes, though they are just as apt to bring their best in inclement weather. Two weeks into the brand new season, Henriques and Christensen see a lot to like from their talented squad, and fully expect to see a full complement of Niwot competitors at the state meet in May.

“We’re excited,” Henriques said. “The numbers are growing, and there are good things all around.”

On the girls side, senior Mary Gillett has proved more than ready to defend her 200M and 400M state titles. In her first two meets of the season, the Stanford-bound sprinter has posted victories in six individual events and two relays, including the 4x400 at Windsor that beat second place Roosevelt by more than 20 seconds. In her other Windsor events, she took first in the 100M (with a time of 12.58 seconds), 300M hurdles (45.25), and the long jump (17’-2.75”).

Gillett is one of the few senior girls returning to the varsity lineup this season. Joining her is volleyball standout and fellow Stanford-commit Mackenzie Fidelak, who took first in the 100M and 300M hurdles at the Boulder Snow Invite at Broomfield HS on March 10, but missed the Windsor meet due to another obligation. Senior Sophie Grant is back full time this year, and will compete in hurdles and triple-jump, as is Jeri Wilcox, who runs in distance events.

Also returning from last year’s team are sophomores Elise Gillett, Joelle McDonald, Samwarit Dishon, Julea Trank, and Kelia Portis, who competed in the triple jump for the first time ever at Windsor, and shocked Henriques with an “outstanding” 34-foot jump that was good for third place.

Returning juniors this year are Kayla Nowlen, Erika Timbang, Erin Carroll, and Maggie Smith, who took second in the 800M at Windsor with a personal best of 2:20.18.

Christensen also pointed to an exciting group of freshmen to watch, including Margot Disabeyguawardena, who competes in short sprints, as well as Lucca Fulkerson, Annabelle Huddle, and Taylor James, who will run in the longer events.

Both Henriques and Christensen expect to see top performances from the girls, so the early season performance on the boys side has been especially gratifying to watch. They took first by a comfortable margin at the Boulder Snow Invite, and finished third at Windsor, just four points behind cross-town rival Silver Creek.

“I’m really proud of our boys,” Henriques said. “It’s the best we’ve looked this early on the boys side.”

Leading the pack for Niwot this year is senior Alex Herman, who had a breakout performance at the Boulder Snow Invite, with first place finishes in the100M (11.44) and 200M (22.83) and fourth place in the 400M (52.08). He followed that up with fourth place in the 100M at Windsor. Henriques pointed to the senior’s training regimen as a key to his gains in the off season.

“Alex and some of those kids have been going since August,” he said. “Kids are training and now they’re seeing what training does.”

Other seniors back with the team this season include Nicholas Grant, Kamran Elahi, Ethan Steiner, Max Towlen, and Oskar Wells, who won the 800M at the Boulder Snow for his first career individual win. Other returners include sophomores Rayan Elahi, Emrick Wells, Luke Robinson, and juniors Benjami Bi, Jack Volf, Jensen Douillard, and Daniel Thomas. Junior Ares Reading, who came to Colorado after starting high school in California, took second in the 3200M at Windsor with a time of 9:46.40.

Sophomore Cruz Culpeppper is also enjoying some early season success, with second-place finishes in the 1600M at Boulder Snow (4:23.68), and in the 800M at Windsor (1:57.71), the latter a personal best by nearly 14 seconds.

“Cruz opening up helps bring a better attitude on the guys, as does Oskar winning the 800,” Christensen said.

Nothing breeds success like success, and Henriques has a waiting list for Niwot track hoodies to prove it. More than 120 students—a full 10 percent of the student-body—came out for the team this season, thanks in part to the persuasive Christensen, who is on the counseling staff at Niwot.

“Having Mr. Christensen in the building, he recruits the hallways,” Henriques said. “It’s awesome.”

Among the talented bevy of newcomers are speedsters Elise Crall and Lauren Cranny, who split time with the girls soccer team. Both have been impressive in the early going, with top finishes in the 100M at the Boulder Snow and Windsor Invites. Crall also took fourth in the Windsor long-jump. Henriques also noted their competent handoffs in the Windsor 4x100 relay, an impressive feat for first-timers.

Also new to the team this year is senior Cameron Carlson, late of the Niwot boys soccer and basketball teams, who is trying his hand at the jumping events. The 6’6” senior has proved a natural at the high jump, with a second place in Broomfield and third place in Windsor.

Both coaches agreed there is a new buzz around the program this year, thanks to an exciting mix of veteran talent in Gillett and Herman, and some emerging stars, such as Culpepper and Smith.

“A year later, we’re a lot better,” said Christensen. “We’ve got some athletes out, and they’re finding what they want to do, and it’s been fun.”

Up next for the Cougars is the RE1J Meet at Mead High on March 22, followed by the Broomfield Shootout on March 24.

3/17—Windsor Invitational, Windsor HS


Team Scores — 1. Roosevelt 79.50, 2. Silver Creek 70, 3. Niwot 66, 4. Mead 51, 5. Platte Valley 50.50, 6. Windsor 47, 7. Valor Christian 41, 8. Cheyenne Central 38, 9. Lyons 34, 10. Loveland 28, 11. Lakewood 27, 11. Berthoud 27, 13. Prairie View 22, 13. Skyline 22, 15. Fort Morgan 20, 16. Erie 18, 17. Resurrection Christian 13, 17. Greeley Central 13, 19. Adams City 11, 20. Cheyenne South 10, 21. Northridge 6, 22. Eaton 3

100m — 4. Alex Herman 11.60, 19. Byron Holmes 11.89, 58. DaeMonte Terry 12.80

200m — 41. DaeMonte Terry 26.95, 45. Abel Dishon 27.14

400m — 6. Oskar Wells 53.24, 12. Benjamin Bi 55.11.

800m — 2. Cruz Culpepper 1:57.71, 9. Kamran Elahi 2:04.64, 14. Jack Kenkel 2:08.90.

1600m — 7. Ares Reading 4:37.62, 9. Benjamin Bi 4:42.68, 11. Ethan Steiner 4:52.50.

3,200m — 2. Ares Reading 9:46.40, 5. Ethan Steiner 10:08.82, 6. Jack Volf 10:12.53.

100 hurdles — 15. Nicholas Grant 17.88, 16. Jensen Douillard 17.95, 30. Cameron Carlson 20.84.

300 hurdles — 9. Jensen Douillard 43.45, 13. Nicholas Grant 45.82.

4x100 relay — 7. Niwot (Herman, Holmes, Terry, O. Wells), 46.48.

4x200 relay — 4. Niwot (Herman, Douillard, Holmes, O. Wells), 1:34.77

4x400 relay — 1. Niwot (Douillard, O. Wells, Culpepper, K. Elahi), 3:29.73

4x800 relay — 2. Niwot (K. Elahi, Kenkel, Land, Bi), 8:37.99

High jump — 3. Cam Carlson, 5-10.00.

Pole Vault — 7. Rayan Elahi, 10-0.00

Long jump — 19. Daniel Thomas, 17-08.00, 54. Harrison Bartlett 13-8.25.

Triple jump — 10. Daniel Thomas, 38.05, 35. Brandon Oliver, 31-7.75, 36. Cameron Carlson 31-7.00

Shot put — 54. Isaiah Shurtleff, 28-2

Discus — 13. Isaiah Shurtleff, 120-6.0


Team Scores — 1. Valor Christian 137; 2. Niwot 114; 3. Cheyenne Central 95; 4. Roosevelt 68; 5. Silver Creek 56; 6. Lakewood 43; 7. Eaton 31; 8. Lyons 29; 9. Platte Valley 28; 10. Prairie View 23; 10. Windsor 23; 12. Mead 18; 13. Erie 17; 14. Denver Christian 15; 15. Denver North 13; 16. Berthoud 12.50; 17. Loveland 6; 18. Peak to Peak Charter 4; 19. Fort Morgan 2.50; 20. Skyline 2; 20. Wiggins 2; 20. Cheyenne South 2

100m — 1. Mary Gillett 12.58, 6. Kayla Nowlin 13.30, 8. Elise Crall 13.35.

200m — 9. Kayla Nowlin 27.19, 10. Kelia Portis 27.32, 17. Lauren Cranny 28.81.

400m — 4. Kayla Nowlin 01:01.31, 5. Kelia Portis 01:01.93.

800m — 2. Maggie Smith 02:20.18, 6. Erika Timbang 02:29.14,15. Samrawit Dishon 02:35.96.

1600m — 8. Lucca Fulkerson 05:38.28,11. Joelle McDonald 05:40.44,15. Mallory Finley 05:48.52.

3,200m — 6. Joelle McDonald 11:55.20,11. Samrawit Dishon 12:24.60,15. Eva Lennert 12:49.78.

100 hurdles — 5. Sophia Grant 17.06, 9. Elise Gillett 17.75, 37. Kelia Portis 22.07.

300 hurdles —1. Mary Gillette, 45.25; 11. Elise Gillett, 51.31, 13. Margot Diasabeygunawardena, 51.34.

4x100 relay — 2. Niwot (E. Gillett, Trank, Cranny, Crall), 51.97.

4x200 relay — 1. Niwot (Trank, Disabeyguawardena, Smith, Nowlin), 1:47.33

4x400 relay — 1. Niwot (Timbang, Gillett, Disabeyguawardena,Smith), 4:01.10

4x800 relay — 8. Niwot (Finley, Fulkerson, Lennert, Bottke), 11:22.34

800 Sprint Medley— 1. Niwot (Trank, Timbang, Cranny, Disabeyguawardena), 1:56.36.

High jump — 13. Erin Carroll, 4-04.00.

Photo by Jocelyn Rowley Niwot sophomore Kelia Porter took third in the triple jump with 34-foot jump.

Pole Vault —9. Erin Carroll, 9-00.00, 12. Nicole Sims, 7-00.00.

Long jump — 1. Mary Gillett, 17-02.75, 4. Elise Crall, 15-09.75, 14. Elise Gillett, 15-04.00

Triple jump — 3. Kelia Portis 34.02.50, 5. Sophie Grant 32-03.00

Shot put — 19. Megan Herring, 27-00.50

Discus — 20. Megan Herring, 77-01


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