With the state track and field championships now in the books, Summit High School can once again lay claim to having the fastest man in 4A. Tiger senior Liam Meirow added a state championship in the 1,600-meter run over the weekend to his state cross-country title from last fall. Meirow took first in a tightly contested race Saturday at Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood. He finished in 4 minutes 18.72 seconds, topping Broomfield’s Ethan Gonzales whom he also beat for the state cross-country title. Gonzales finished under a second behind him in 4:19.37. Meirow also placed second (1:53.78) in the 800 Friday behind No. 1-ranked Zac Petrie (1:52.66) of Valor Christian.
“I think he can do pretty much everything,” Tiger coach Kristy McClain said Sunday of Meirow. “He knows exactly what to do and when.”
Meirow was ranked fourth in the state in the 800 going into the race, and was the top ranked in the state in the 1,600 prior to Saturday’s competition.
Meirow’s two podium finishes were strong enough to claim 16th in team ranking — of 42 teams — as the only Summit boys track team representative.
Prior to the 1,600 Saturday, he had hoped to attempt breaking the state record of 4:12.61 — he’d clocked a 4:15 earlier this season. But when the pack of runners got off to a slow start, he opted to focus instead on winning the race.
“Once the gun goes off, you always have to alter your plan,” Meirow said of his strategy. “I just decided to race the race. It made more sense to me. I had a really good position and decided it would be better to stay patient and win the race.”
As for his second-place finish in the 800, Meirow said he didn’t mind finishing behind Petrie, who focuses on shorter events.
“I hate losing,” he said, “but losing to that kid who’s an 800-meter specialist, it’s not a terrible thing. I’m definitely happy with second place. I believe the 800 is the hardest event in track and field.”
Meirow said that in both events the pack got off to slower than usual starts. In the 800, Petrie just made his final move a little too late for him to react.
“I gave a hundred percent in the race,” Meirow said. “I just didn’t respond quick enough to his first move.”
As for the 1,600, he said he bided his time, letting Gonzales and eventual third-place finisher Bailey Roth of Coronado make the first move. Then, in the final 200 meters, he kicked into high gear for the final stretch.
“It was spectacular,” McClain said. “The last 150 meters he made a move and those other kids didn’t have a chance to stay with him. He out kicked them.”
With family and friends in the stands giving him a standing ovation at the finish, Meirow later described it as “the greatest moment ever.”
He added, “It’s surreal finishing my last high school race with a win.”
He was joined at state by sophomore standouts McKenna Ramsay and Ruthie Boyd, along with the girls 3,200 relay team. Together the group combined for five new school records. Ramsay led the way topping three records she’d previously set in the 200, 400 and 800, finishing 10th (in 26.13), third (in 56.4) and eighth (on 2:16.25) respectively.
“I’m excited I got a PR and everything,” Ramsay said of her personal best time and third-place finish in the 400. “I felt good about it all weekend leading up to it. Saturday morning I was really focused. I was super excited afterwards.”
Meirow also topped his previous record in the 800 with his 1:53.78. The girls 3,200 relay team of Katherine Pappas, Megan McDonnell, Jessica Horii and Ruthie Boyd also set a school record with a 10:02.13 — finishing 12th at state.
Boyd also finished 11th in the 3,200 individual race.
Of the group, only Pappas and Meirow are seniors. The rest are all sophomores.
“To get there as sophomores surrounded by mostly juniors and seniors, that’s quite a feat,” McClain said of her young runners, who she also coached in middle school cross-country. “I’ve never seen anything like it before. They’ve done nothing but improve every single year. We look forward to more records being broken.”
Meirow also spoke highly of Ramsay going forward. “Without a doubt next year, she’ll be a state champion. If she continues what she’s doing.”
Meirow and fellow senior Katherine Pappas plan to continue their running careers in college. Meirow at Division I University of Oklahoma and Pappas at Division II Regis University in Denver.