Jumping to new heights: Steamboat sophomore reaches state track for first time
In just his second year of high school, Brandon Kolb has learned how to fly.
The Steamboat Springs track and field star found himself topping the results meet after meet in high jump, long jump and triple jump this season. His success granted him the opportunity to compete in high jump at the 4A track and field state championships at Jeffco Stadium on Friday, May 19.
Kolb was just one of two Sailors to reach state this season, and he praised his teammates and coaches for getting him this far. He also said several more Steamboat athletes would have joined him and fellow high jumper Rachel Spitzley, if only they had had more space to practice earlier this season.
“Our team works so hard, especially with all the snow we got during the beginning of the season,” Kolb said. “We did not have a full track for the first couple months, and we were going to meets without any practice on the track.”
Despite the setbacks, Kolb continued to get stronger and jump higher and farther as the season went on. He was finally up against competition of his own standard at the state meet.
Kolb leapt over the 6-foot high jump bar with ease on his first attempt. He made the attempt at 6 feet, 1 inch look short on attempt No. 2 and advanced to the third round at 6 feet, 3 inches.
He was one of just nine jumpers to reach that point and gave three strong attempts, but he came up just short to place in a tie for ninth overall.
The experience was valuable for Kolb, who will have two more opportunities to compete at the state competition. He now recognizes what it takes.
“Denver is the biggest area to do track and there are so many schools here,” Kolb said. “I am not really used to that, so it is eye opening and shows me how much more work I have to put in for next season.”
In preparation for the state meet, Kolb focused solely on the high jump. He said the other jumping events can help with his vertical, speed and agility, but they can also cause issues with his technique.
“It kind of messes with your head because in triple jump I have to go one way and in long jump I have to go another way,” Kolb said. “They are all different, so it can mess you up doing multiple events at the same time, and you have to switch your entire form.”
Reaching state was the first goal on Kolb’s list, but he has his sights set even higher for the future. While it was a great feeling to qualify, he hopes to rank up and accomplish even more in the coming years.
He has his eye on a state title and will waits in great anticipation for next season. However, the training will start right away.
“I am super pumped for next year,” Kolb said. “I am definitely going to be putting in a lot more work over the summer than I did last year.”
Friday, May 19, results
2A Girls 300 Hurdles: 12. Larhae Whaley, S, 50.57.
2A Girls 4×100 Relay: 13. Hayden, 53.18.
2A Girls Discus: 16. Dakota Munden, H, 98-7. 18. Bella Svoboda, H, 89-3.
2A Girls Pole Vault: 2. Larhae Whaley, S, 9-1.
4A Girls High Jump: 15. Rachel Spitzley, SS, 4-8.
4A Boys High Jump: 9. Brandon Kolb, SS, 6-1.
To reach Tom Skulski, call 970-871-4240, email tskulski@SteamboatPilot.com.
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