Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley

Track & Field: Freshman Taylor James shines at Mullen Invite


April 12, 2018

Photo by Jocelyn Rowley Niwot freshman Taylor James (left) and sophomore Samrawit Dishon after running the girls 800 meter at the Mullen Invitational on April 7. James won her heat with a time of 2:20.06, which was good for eighth overall.

After her breakout cross country season, which included an impressive win in the regional meet, it would be easy to pigeonhole Niwot freshman Taylor James as mainly a distance runner. In her inaugural track and field season, however, the ninth-grader has shown a surprising depth of talent for both sprinting and jumping.

Case in point is her performance at the exclusive Mullen Invitational, where she extended her streak of high jump wins to five with a mark of 5’6”, both a personal best and the second highest in the state so far this year. Later, she set a new personal record in the 800M, finishing in 2 minutes, 20.06 seconds, which was good for eighth place overall, and the fastest freshman time by more than three seconds.

James, who also ran the 400M and 4x400M relay at Mullen, said it’s gratifying to see her times drop in such varied events.

“I’ve been running the 800 for the longest time, and I’m just trying to improve in that,” she said. “But the 400 is kind of new to me, and I’m really trying to break that 60-second barrier. I do a lot of events, but I really enjoy them all.”

Niwot Head Track Coach Maurice Henriques was impressed by the freshman’s high jump, which was just two inches shy of last year’s Class 4A title winning mark of 5’8”, set by Silver Creek’s Rylee Anderson.

“If she didn’t have to run the quarter, she probably would have jumped a 5’7”, he said. “But she didn’t make any attempts at 5’7”.

Since taking the high jump title with a mark of 5’3.25” at the RE-1J meet on March 22, James has claimed the high jump title at four consecutive meets, including the Broomfield Shootout on March 24 (5’4”), and the Lyons Invitational on March 31 (5’3.5”).

James credited her teammates and the coaching staff for her success so far this year.

“I’m having so much fun,” she said. “I love my team. Our coaches are so encouraging, and they just encourage us to do our best.”

Elsewhere for the girls, senior Mackenzie Fidelak had a busy day for Niwot, with a fourth-place finish in the 300M hurdles (45.70), and eighth overall in the 100M hurdles (15.82). She also competed in the 200M and the long jump, in the absence of top sprinter Mary Gillett, who was in southern California for the Arcadia Invitational.

Sophomore Kelia Portis, who has emerged as a threat in both sprinting and jumping events this season, took 11th overall in the 300M hurdles (48.02) and 15th in the long jump (14’8”).

Junior Maggie Smith turned in a season-best performance in the 800M (2:18.98), good for seventh place, and was also on the fourth-place sprint medley relay (1:52.68), the sixth-place 4x100M relay (50.63), and the fifth-place 4x400M (4:07.86) relay teams.

“It’s exciting to see our relays run well without Mary and Mackenzie,” Henriques said.

In boys action, senior Alex Herman came up big for the Cougars at Mullen, with a 12th-place finish in the 200M (22.85), and top-10 finishes and season-best marks in the 4x100M (44.84) and 4x200M (1:32.44) relays, which he ran with Emrik Wells, Jensen Douillard, and Byron Holmes. The same team took third overall in the 4x400M relay, with a time of 3:28.50, less than two seconds behind winners Denver East (3:26.61).

“I’m more impressed with our guys’ program,” Henriques said. “We’re moving in the right direction. For our guys to be 40th last year at State, we should be top-10 this year, and maybe even possibly top five.”

The boys were without their top distance runners at Mullen, as Cruz Culpepper and Ares Reading were at Arcadia with Gillett, and Oskar Wells, who has won the 800 meters three times this year, had another obligation. In their place, Kamran Elahi and Benjami Bi ran the 800M, finishing 17th and 29th respectively. Ethan Steiner took 35th in the 1600M, and senior Kenny Lang was eighth overall in the 3200M, with a season-best time of 10:20.62.

Up next for the Cougars’ varsity squad is the Boulder County Championship Meet on April 14 at Centaurus HS. On April 11, Niwot hosts the Niwot JV Track & Field Meet.

4/7—Mullen Invitational, Mullen HS

GIRLS (Winner, plus Niwot Results)

100m — 1. Arria Minor, Denver East, 11:38; 25. Julea Trank 13.08; 32. Kayla Nowlin 13.25; 42. Erika Timbang 13.58.

200m — 1. Arria Minor, Denver East, 23:23, 24. Kayla Nowlin 26.89; 26. Kelia Portis 26.95; 27. Mackenzie Fidelak 27.00.

400m — 1. Kiairra Reigh, Denver East, 54.65, 16. Kayla Nowlin 1:00.40; 26. Margot Diasabeygunawardena 1:02.10; 28. Taylor James 1:03.28

800m — 1. MaLeigha Menegatti, Pueblo West, 2:17.54, 7. Maggie Smith 2:18.98, 8. Taylor James 2:20.06, 12. Samrawit Dishon 2:21.94

1600m — 1. Marlena Preigh, Fairview, 5:03.39, 28. Lucca Fulkerson 5:31.03, 40. Joelle McDonald 5:44.53

100 hurdles — 1. Anna Hall, Valor Christian, 14.52, 8. Mackenzie Fidelak 15.82, 16. Elise Gillett 17.17, 29. Kelia Portis 18.27.

300 hurdles — 1. Anna Hall, Valor Christian, 42.03, 4. Mackenzie Fidelak 45.70, 11. Kelia Portis 48.02, 16. Elise Gillett 49.03

4x100 relay — 1. Denver East, 46.85, 6. Niwot (Timbang, Trank, Nowlin, Smith) 50.63

4x200 relay — 1. Smoky Hill 1:44.70, 7. Niwot (Gillett, Trank, Cranny, Carroll) 1:50.70

4x400 relay — 1. Denver East 3:59.15, 5. Niwot (Timbang, Disabeyguawardena, James, Smith) 4:07.86

4x800 relay — 1. Discovery Canyon 9:57.02, 7. Niwot (Dishon, Fulkerson, McDonald, Finley) 10:31.52

800 Sprint Medley — 1. Valor Christian, 1:48.62, 4. Niwot (Trank, Disabeyguawardena, Smith, Timbang) 1:52.68

High jump — 1. Taylor James 5’6”, 14. Erin Carroll 4’6”

Pole Vault — 1. Mia Manson, Manson, 12’8”, 16. Erin Carroll 8’8”

Long jump — 1. Maya Evans, Lutheran, 18’6.25”, 15. Kelia Portis 14’8”, 21. Mackenzie Fidelak 14’4.75”, 27. Erin Carroll 13’7.75”

Triple jump — 1. Sydnee Larkin, Cherokee Trail, 40’4”, 18. Margot Diasabeygunawardena 31’6”, 22. Elise Gillett 30’9”, 29. Marlow Baines 28’10.5”

BOYS (Winner, plus Niwot Results)

200m — 1. Tyler Williams, Standley Lake, 21.79, 12. Alex Herman 22.85

400m — 1. Adam Stark, Loveland, 48.99, 21. Byron Holmes 52.99

800m — 1. Carter Dillon, Mountain Vista, 1:55.66, 17. Kamran Elahi 2:01.85, 29. Benjamin Bi 2:03.69

1600m — 1. Cole Sprout, Valor Christian, 4:12.75, 35. Ethan Steiner 04:37.88

3,200m — 1. Nick Shampoe, Discovery Canyon, 9:54.61, 8. Kenny Lang 10:20.62

300 hurdles — 1. Oscar Sarabia, Hinkley, 39.10, 14. Jensen Douillard 41.96

4x100 relay — 1. Smoky Hill 43.13, 8. Niwot (Wells, Herman, Douillard, Holmes) 44.84

4x200 relay — 1. Smoky Hill 1:28.98, 7. Niwot (Wells, Herman, Douillard, Holmes) 1:32.44

Photo by Jocelyn Rowley Senior Mackenzie Fidelak competes in the 300M hurdles at the Mullen Invitational on April 7. She took fourth overall with at time of 45.70.

4x400 relay — 1. Denver East 3:26.61, 3. Niwot (Wells, Herman, Douillard, Holmes) 3:28.50

4x800 relay — 1. Discovery Canyon 8:21.76, 11. Niwot (Kenkle, Volf, Bishop, Robinson) 8:52.46

Triple jump — 1. Mikey Sanchez, Columbine, 43’3”, 13. Daniel Thomas 37’1”

Shot put — 1. Kain Medrano, Pueblo East, 52’6.5”, 14. Max Towlen 37’9”

Discus — 1. Kain Medrano, Pueblo East, 165.02”, 6. Max Towlen 130’9”, 18. Isaiah Shurtleff 107’1”


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