South High School track coach Clint Zundel says he lost a wealth of talent from a Colts girls team that made a strong run for the Class 4A state title before finishing third on the final day of the competition.
“We graduated a talented class of 17 girls. Obviously, athletes like (triple jump state champ) Aly Ary, (high jump champ) Angelique Urenda, Tyra Cruz and Taylor Lopez-Cepero are very hard to replace for any program,” Zundel said. “We definitely are rebuilding as a team this year after that group’s historic run.”
Yet, the well’s far from dry for the Colts, Zundel added.
“I am excited about the promise of this young team. We have 16 freshmen or first-year sophomores that are very excited to be part of the program. They are tough and athletic with tons of talent and will complement those quality upperclassmen,” he said.
“We have a very solid core of veteran athletes returning that have been with me the last few years in addition we have a huge freshmen class filled with athletes from other sports. Even after a huge graduating group last year, our numbers are still at 40 athletes.”
Centennial: The Dogs also have a state qualifier in Caitlin Arnold, who finished eighth in the discus (123-0) and 11th in the shot put (37-2). She is joined by returning distance runners Emily Perez, Lavinia Bispo, Elizabeth Manguso and Devon Medina and sprinters Cydney Carter, Katie Holcomb and Autryana McGee. “We’ll be strong in the throws (Arnold) and distance events (Perez, Manguso) and should be competitive in the sprint relays,” Bulldogs coach Tim Mondragon said.
Central: The Wildcats have a state qualifier in senior high jumper Rhea Hibpsham. Coach Dean Gray is looking for good things from his girls team that includes: returning sprinters Hibpsham, Kelci Lott, Ashley Kraemer, Tiauna Rodriguez, Kennady Bradley-Wells, Gabrielle James, Mikalah Moore and Makayla Carpenter; Haylee Wiliford, Justina Vasquez and Kraemer in the throws; and Rodriguez, James and Moore doubling up in the jumps. “I have much leadership on the girls side and am hoping that will translate into success as the season progresses,” Gray said.
Dolores Huerta: Senior Erin Marquez heads the team, which includes junior Domeka Martinez and sophomores Alexandria Sinker, Cassandra Burkepile and Jasmine Razo.
East: ”We are looking at a lot of newcomers,” Eagles coach Judith Billizone said. The top returnees include junior hurdler Asia-Marie Kelly; senior Catherine Otero and sophomore Larrisa Ruiz-Herrera in the 800 and 1,600 and members of the Eagles 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams: senior Emily Waggener, juniors Lexi Ambriz, Melissa Waggener, Mariah Romero and sophomore Alexis Romero.
Pueblo County: New coach Katie Vislosky takes over a program that returns veteran jumper Caeleigh Bowman; distance runners Lena Garrison, Brittany Musso, Monica Valdez, Micaela Quintana and Kalie Allenback; sprinter/jumpers Kelsey Singleton and Michaella Pisciotta, sprinter Erika Landis, hurdler Victoria DeVries and Diane Hanson in the discus and shot put. “I am excited to see what this year has to bring. Our key returners are looking to make a mark this year,” Visolsky said.
Pueblo West: Bailie Jones placed ninth in the 800 at last year’s state meet and is capable of running any race from the 200 to the 1,600, and may even give the 300 hurdles a shot. Darby Spence is a seasoned distance runner who will score points. The other returnees are Shanya Atkins, Ava Barrier, Brooke Casias, Ali Doyle, Jordan Foster, Christen Leedom, Angelica Ortega, Haley Ruiz and Autumn West.
South: The Colts return a number of other state qualifiers, including Jessica Kleven, who finished eighth in the 3,200 (11:36.89) and 16th in the 1,600 (5:30.77), and shot putter Carah Christie, who finished 17th (34-81/2) as a freshman. Zundel also has returnees Kaitlyn George, Katherine Haver, Brooke Bewley, Bethany Belport, Kayleigh Shinn, Kaylene Khosla, Briley Manazares, Colby Massey, Sydney Harris and Sissy Hall.
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