Standing on that podium, whether looking left, right, up, or down to those who busted their tails to get to Denver, is an inexplicable memory that so few track athletes get to experience.
The level of completion compels an athlete to respect not only their competition, but the grind required to literally get on that level.
With so few runners, it was a tough storm to weather but last Saturday at Jefferson County Pueblo West managed a respectable weekend against primer competition at the Class 4A state championships.
Both the girls and boys sent runners in the 800-meter run and saw both take a spot on the podium. Zack Retzlaff scrapped together a great weekend racing in three events. He finished eighth overall in the 800 with a time of 1:56.50. Retzlaff’s mid-distance race was impressive, and prepared him for day three. He managed a seventh place finish in the 1,600 at 4:26.89.
Among several neck-and-neck finishes expect from the meet, Ricardo Ocampo from Broomfield finished two one hundredths of a second ahead of Retzlaff.
Bailie Jones finished sixth in the girls 800 with a time of 2:15.71. Jones narrowly missed moving up to fifth place after Thompson Valley’s Emily Leidig mustered enough energy to just squeeze ahead of Jones by nine one hundredths of a second.
The Cyclones placed 37th out of 49 teams in Denver for the girls. The placement on the girls’ side, however, was deceiving.
Jones – the only girl in the meet for Pueblo West – garnished all those points and beat out 12 other teams by herself.
Retzlaff has one season left at Pueblo West and has plenty of potential to return and improve his time next season. Jones ran her final race as a Cyclone last week along with Wyatt Swanson, who ran the 2-mile and finished 17th at 10:13.
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