Athletes from schools around the state traveled to Littleton April 26 and 27 for the Liberty Bell Invitational Track Meet for the opportunity to match their talents against some of the best competition in the state.
“This is one of the final big meets before state, the competition level is high and so kids making bids to go to state get to see the caliber of competition they will face there,” said Larry Lienemann, one of the meet founders.
Sixty-two schools were represented at the meet so the battles were fierce for the top spot in every event.
Cherry Creek's girls won the team title for the second year in a row. The Bruins were first in the standings with 76 points and the Arapahoe girls were second with 64 points while ThunderRidge finished third with 42 points. Rock Canyon finished 11th with 26 points and Highlands Ranch was 20th with 12.5 points.
In the boys division, Fountain-Fort Carson topped the team title with 84 points. Arapahoe and Cherry Creek tied for fourth with 32 points each and a host of local teams finished in the top 20 with Valor Christian eighth, Heritage 11th, Mountain Vista 12th, Highlands Ranch 14th, Castle View 15th and Douglas County 16th.
Freshman Ashley Miller did her share to help Cherry Creek's girls win the team title as she finished first in the 100-meter hurdles and the 300-meter hurdles and joined forces with Jessica Daubert, Megan McCabe and Emily Romo to win the 4x100 relay.
“When I started doing track a couple years ago, I thought it was cool to jump over stuff so I started running the hurdle events,” Miller said. “I am getting better at the events because I am getting faster and I am putting in more work to improve the techniques you need to be competitive in the hurdles.”
The freshman said the competition at the Liberty Bell was challenging and helped her take another step to drop her time in the 100 hurdles to 13.5 seconds.
Arapahoe scored a lot of points in the relays to help the Warriors take runner-up honors in the girls division. Arapahoe took first place in the 4x400 relay and the 4x800 relay and was second in the 4x200 relay. Taryn Phillips helped the Warrior cause by winning the 400-meter dash with a time of 55.62 seconds.
Littleton's Barry Visser and teammates Jake Bergman, Jack Bobb and D'Angelo DeNiro finished sixth in the 4x400-meter relay, Visser's favorite event.
“I started running track to get in shape for soccer but my brother graduated two years ago, he ran track so I decided to run track too,” he said. “It turned out to be fun. I really like the 4x400 relay because it is an interesting race plus my teammates are my brothers and we battle to help each other.”
Valor Christian's Marybeth Sant won the 100-meter dash in record-meet time of 11.65 seconds and her teammate Hailey Showalter won the discus with a throw of 145 feet, 4 inches.
On the track, a pair of ThunderRidge girls, Cassidy Bowers and Carly Paul, finished third and fourth respectively in the 300-meter hurdles.
In boys competition, Tanner Townsend of Castle View took first place in the 400-meter dash with a time of 47.93 seconds while Douglas County's Trey Smith ran a 10.95-second race to finish third in the 100-meter dash.
In the 200-meter dash, Rock Canyon's Brian Goldberg took runner-up honors with a time of 22.27 seconds.