Steamboat’s Austin Kerbs keeps getting better in high jump
Craig — Steamboat Springs High School senior Austin Kerbs insists his choice of underwear on Friday was simply a product of the dreaded “laundry day” list of choices.
Beneath his high-rise black Sailors-issued track shorts at Moffat County’s Clint Wells Track and Field Invitational, Kerbs sported some Superman-themed compression shorts, flaunting the famed “S” symbol on the left thigh.
Purposefully or not, Kerbs made the fitting choice as he again made leaps and bounds at the high jump pit, setting a new season-best height and inching one step closer to qualifying for the Class 4A state championships next month.
Kerbs grabbed gold Friday at Moffat County, clearing 6-feet-2-inches on his third attempt and nearly clearing 6-foot-3 after the high jump title was all wrapped up. It’s his first season as a high school track athlete and just his second meet high jumping.
“It’s very encouraging,” Kerbs said. “It really helps that every week I seem to keep improving. If I didn’t improve today, I wouldn’t be discouraged. I’d just work a little harder in practice.”
And Kerbs should be encouraged, because with Friday’s mark, he puts himself right in the middle of the state’s top-18 heights, which would punch his ticket to state. Right now, 6-2 ties Kerbs for ninth in Class 4A, and only three jumpers across the division have cleared 6-4.
“He’s having so much fun trying different things,” Steamboat coach Lisa Renee Tumminello said. “Austin, I don’t think he realizes necessarily the talent and potential he holds. It makes it even better because he’s just out there having fun.”
Only about a dozen of the Sailors track team’s 53-athlete roster made the trip due to spring break, but plenty of season-best times and marks were made on what ended up being a windy and wet meet weather wise.
Kerbs also took fifth in the 400, crossing in 54.56, another improvement. Steamboat’s Ethan Labriola dashed and jumped his way to third in the 300 hurdles in 46.65. Junior Jake Andersen placed fifth in both the high jump (5-feet-7-inches) and long jump (16-feet-6-inches).
On the Sailors girls side, Alex Tumminello took on the grueling distance 1-2 punch, placing second in the mile (5:47.08) and third in the 800 (2:40.18). Steamboat’s Sawyer Gander improved on her season-best mark in the triple jump by three feet, placing sixth with a 29-feet-4.5-inch leap. Sedona Lewis also placed ninth in the girls 100-meter dash (14:47).
Freshman Rossi gets quadruple gold
At Friday’s Clint Wells Track and Field Invitational at Moffat County High School, Soroco’s Mattie Rossi was gold from start to finish, and everywhere in between.
The freshman has become a Rams track sensation, and is earning the nickname “the closer” with how she allows her opponents to hang around before crushing their dreams with 50 meters to go.
Rossi took home four gold medals — T-shirts were actually given out to top placers — and further made a name for herself in her inaugural season in Rams maroon.
First, she opened the meet by running the 400 portion of the girls 800 sprint medley, taking the baton from Cassie Constine, Kali Constine and Hayley Johnson in for first. She also closed the invitational in a come-from-behind effort in the girls 4-by-400 relay, ushering in the baton from the Constines and Briana Peterson, again for gold.
In between, Cassie, Kali, Johnson and Rossi were the top placers in the 4-by-200 relay.
Perhaps the race of the meet, however, came on the individual side for the freshman. Rossi and Moffat County’s Selena Hernandez were neck-and-neck in the 300 hurdles, before Rossi turned on the burners, crossing in a season-best time of 49.19. It was her first time inside 50 seconds this year.
“She’s willing to hurt,” Soroco coach David Bruner said. “She had a great performance. I’m really proud of her. She has a lot of expectations from me, and she’s starting to understand that.”
As a team, the Rams girls had a field day. Bruner said he had his squad focus on relays, and it showed with the trio of golds. Individually, there was plenty to celebrate, too.
Johnson took sixth in both the 100 and 200, while Kali Constine tied for second in the high jump (5-foot-7). Jessica Rossi placed fourth in the 400 and sixth in the discus, flashing her versatility. Peterson grabbed silver in the shot put, Cassie Constine was bronze in the triple jump and Lauren Childers was fifth in the high jump.
The Rams boys were led by another sensational performance from freshman Ben Kelley. Kelley took first in the 800 (2:04.66) and the two-mile (11:06.55), and was second in the 400 (53.12). Soroco’s 4-by-400 and 4-by-800 relays were each fourth, Chance Beaty was fourth in the 800 and Cody Reynen took fifth in the 300 hurdles.
“Our goal is to send as many kids to state track as we can,” Bruner said. “We had great effort today.”
Redmond reaches new mark
Don’t tell Hayden High School’s Jack Redmond that his career-best triple jump was wind-aided on Friday.
It wouldn’t have put a dent in his ear-to-ear grin at the Clint Wells Invitational, anyway.
With a strong wind at his back, Redmond bested his top mark by more than a foot and a half, throwing down a 42-foot-6.5-inch jump to easily win the meet.
His mark — though illegal due to the wind — would put him No. 2 in the state in Class 2A and less than six inches off Colorado’s top jump.
Outside Redmond, fellow senior Thomas Rauch placed fifth in the 110 hurdles (17:30), and Alan Aguirre was sixth in the 100 (12.12) and seventh in the 200 (24.95).
On the Tigers girls side, Jewel Vreeman had a pair of top-10 finishes, taking bronze in the long jump (14-feet-8.5-inches) and seventh in the 100 (13.99).
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