Fit for state: Summit track team sets 4 new school records at league meet
Team places 3rd and 5th
The 2023 spring track season has been one to remember for the Summit High School track and field team.
Almost every week since the beginning of March, the team has improved on a consistent basis by either setting new personal bests in individual events, resetting school records or finishing high in the team ranks.
Summit’s impressive season continued at the 4A Western Slope League meet from Friday, May 5, to Saturday, May 6, in Grand Junction. The team set four new school records, and multiple individuals solidified their spots at the state track meet next weekend.
The team especially shined bright in the distance events. After setting 18 new personal bests in distance events last week at the Steamboat Springs Track and Field Invitational on April 29, Summit set 16 new personal bests out of 20 races during the league meet.
Of the 16 new personal-best marks in distance events, senior Dom Remeikis and sophomore Ella Hagen blazed their way to new school records. Remeikis broke Liam Meirow’s 2014 3200-meter run school record, and Hagen broke her own 1600-meter run school record, which she set at the state track meet last season.
Despite the race getting out to a slow start, Remeikis and sophomore Josh Shriver were able to ratchet down the pace in the latter part of the boys 3200-meter run. Remeikis crossed the finish line in third place with a time of 9 minutes, 33.73 seconds, which was enough to break Meirow’s school record by close to seven seconds. Shriver followed Remeikis in fourth with a time of 9:45.29, and freshman Cain Steinweg ran his way to a new personal-best time of 10:49.52.
“It was great,” Remeikis said. “I feel like I have been chasing that one for two years now, and to finally get it — it feels great. All these years of work and training kind of culminated into that one race. The second half of the race was a lot about closing and chasing that time. Luckily, we were able to hit that time, and I am thrilled that I finally have it.”
With the top 18 athletes in each event qualifying for the state meet, Remeikis has presumably sealed his spot in the 3200-meter run. Remeikis is currently ranked 11th in the event and is beyond excited to currently be qualified in all three individual distance events as well as two relay teams.
“It is really relieving,” Remeikis said of being qualified in three individual events. “This time last year, I had no state qualifying times, and I was pretty much running around the state trying to get a time. This year, I have all my times set — well out from state. I am able to focus on my training and get ready for the state races.”
Shriver on the other hand is currently ranked 22nd in the 3200-meter run and will rely on one final opportunity at the HOKA St. Vrain Invitational on Friday, May 12.
Later in the day, Remeikis bounced back for impressive performances in the 800-meter run. Remeikis placed second with a time of 1:57.20, and sophomore Will Bentley placed seventh with a new personal-best time of 2:02.08.
Remeikis rounded out his individual performances for the weekend with an impressive race in the 1600-meter run. After failing to run a personal best in the event since his sophomore year, Remeikis finally pushed past the mental and physical barrier in front of him to run a personal-best time of 4:20.52.
The time was enough for Remeikis to place third in the event and move up to sixth in the 4A state rankings. Battle Mountain’s Will Bruner took first with a Class 4A-leading-time of 4:16.96, while Porter Middaugh placed second with a time of 4:18.01.
“That is the race I am the most proud of the whole weekend,” Remeikis said. “I haven’t PR’d in the mile in almost two years, so to finally get it felt relieving. It proved to myself that I could do it. The conditions were perfect, and competition was great. It was the perfect day for a huge PR.”
Leading a race by yourself is challenging on several fronts. But over the last two years, Hagen has become accustomed to the challenge at almost every meet she competes in. Running in a league of her own, Hagen powered her way to a new school record in the 1600-meter run and ran an in-state personal-best and school-record time in the 3200-meter run.
Hagen won the 1600-meter run with a time of 5:01.98, which beat out Battle Mountain High School senior Milaina Almonte by close to six seconds. The time brought Hagen’s previous school-record time down from 5:04.71 and moved her into fifth place in the 4A state rankings.
Sophomore Avery Eytel followed Hagen with a seventh-place finish and a new personal-best time. Eytel ran 5:47.99, which shaved an impressive 12 seconds off of her previous personal best time in the event.
Hagen also ran an extremely strong race in the 3200-meter run, where she was able to win by over 34 seconds in a time of 10:44.17. After running a school-record time of 10:13.18 in California earlier this season, Hagen’s league race set a new in-state school record and showed that she has the aerobic strength to dip under 10:50 at altitude.
Freshman Lauren McCalla placed fourth with a time of 11:34.16 for a new personal-best time in the event. Hagen is currently ranked second in the 3200-meter run, and McCalla is hanging onto 16th place in the 4A state rankings.
The only event Hagen was challenged in was the 800-meter run, where Battle Mountain’s Lindsey Kiehl rivaled Hagen from the starter’s gun to the finish line. The two runners jostled next to each other for the entirety of the two-lap race until Kiehl out leaned Hagen at the finish line to finish in first place.
Kiehl finished in a time of 2:16.27, and Hagen finished in a new personal-best time of 2:16.81. The time not only moves Hagen closer to McKenna Ramsay’s 2015 school record of 2:12.98, but also moves Hagen up to seventh in the state rankings.
Eytel placed fifth overall in the event with another personal-best time of 2:30.83.
Following the horde of personal records and impressive races in the Summit distance events, freshman Faith Fox set a fiery new school record in the girls 300-meter hurdles.
After steadily improving throughout the season, Fox brought her personal best time down to 47.33 seconds in prelims, which broke one of the oldest Summit track and field records. Fox broke Signe Rockne’s 1984 school record of 48.02 by over 7/10 of a second.
Fox bounced back to place third in both the 300-meter hurdles final (48.62) and the 100-meter hurdles final (16.83). Fox currently ranks seventh in the state rankings in the 300-meter hurdles and 17th in the 100-meter hurdles.
Rounding out the performances for Summit at leagues, Luci Brady placed fourth in the 100-meter dash (13.90), Jackson Archambault placed seventh in the 100-meter dash (12.06), and River McClung placed first in the long jump (19 feet, 10.5 inches) and the triple jump (41 feet, 5.25 inches).
McClung is currently ranked 25th in the triple jump and 26th in the long jump.
The Summit boys team placed fifth overall with a score of 67 points, and the girls team placed third overall with 91 points.
The teams will compete in three meets in the final week prior to the Colorado State Track and Field Championships from Thursday, May 18, to Saturday, May 20. Athletes like McClung, Shriver and senior Jack Schierholz will compete at either the HOKA St. Vrain or Joe Shields Invitational on Friday, May 12, or at Berthoud Last Chance on Saturday, May 13, in hopes of getting a final state-qualifying time.
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