Almost like clockwork, one can expect two things at the state track meet each May.
First, the Kelly Walsh High School track will be drizzled with rain punctuated by cold breezes if not gusty winds. It was again this year.
Second, the Douglas Bearcats will show up ready to compete. They did.
The girls team took third with 66 points.
The boys took sixth with 50.83.
For senior Kamdynn Townsend, who contributed a hearty 38 of the girls’ points, the goal of weekend-long meet was simple, to enjoy her last moments as a Bearcat.
“I just came in and told myself to enjoy it,” Townsend said, “because this is the last time I’ll ever do it. So no matter how I ended up, it didn’t really matter.”
Dominating in her events may not have been the first thing on Townsend’s mind, but she crushed the competition nevertheless. She took home three golds in the high jump, clearing 5’, long jump with 17’6.75”, and the 400 with 57.7. She also took silver in the 200, finishing in 27.21.
Townsend praised several of her teammates, one of whom was Allyson Fertig, who handily won the shot put with a throw of 42’ 9.75” – nearly five feet further than the second-place athlete. She also placed fourth in the discus, hurling it 110’ 3”.
“She’s been super coachable,” head coach Josiah Smith said. “Her attitude is amazing, and she kind of just soaks it in.”
Stephanie Witbrod won the triple jump with a leap of 37’ 2”, nearly two feet further than the second placed jumper.
“She just crushed it. She listens, (and) she’s just a good kid,” Smith said. “And that’s what I always say as a coach, you’re only as good as your athletes are.”
But, Smith chucked, “When you’re coaching studs, it’s always easier.”
On the boys’ side, Keltan Ewing had an outstanding day, winning the 300 meter hurdle race in 40.88 and placing fifth in the 100 meter dash. Ewing also joined Jayden Archuleta, Rylan Wehr and Cameryn Spence in the sprint medley team to nail third in 3:40.19.
“At practice, I try to get my steps down,” Ewing said of the 300 meter hurdles. “But it just depends on the wind and stuff. Sometimes they’re off. If I jump off of my wrong leg, I just try to fix it.”
Ewing gave a shout out to Spence, who he said has kind of carried the sprint medley relay all season.
Spence took silver in the 400 meter dash in 51.81, fourth in the 1600 meter run in 4:41.10, and third in the 800, finishing in 2:00.93.
“He works his butt off,” Smith said of Spence. “He’s one of those kids that’s always looking at times, gauging his laps. That’s pretty impressive for a high school kid. I could truly see him being a coach down the road.”
Kaden Bauersachs found success in the high jump and 110 meter hurdles, clearing 5’ 10” to place fourth in the former and running 16.59 to place fourth in the latter.
Smith also highlighted Wehr, commenting that he’s “worked his tail off all season.”
Along with his contribution to the sprint medley relay race, Wehr placed seventh in the 400 in 53.22.
“The cool thing is,” Smith said, “almost all of our boys are coming back next year, with the exception of senior Kody Micke.”
After the meet, Townsend and thrower Micke were named the McDonald’s board winners.
“We always try to pick a senior, one boy and one girl,” Smith said. “Really, what it is is your top dogs, and obviously considering their character . . .”
Smith said he couldn’t be happier with how both boys and girls – all of the athletes – competed.
“We’ve been very blessed with having very athletic kids,” Smith effused, “and my staff is super awesome.”
For more track photos, please see this week's print issue of The Douglas Budget.