Alison Rajzer leaps for state title as Hayden track continues to chase podiums at state
LAKEWOOD — Alison Rajzer thought it was a bad jump.
The Hayden High School freshman triple jumper got up, not even thinking about looking at the measurement.
“First phase felt perfect, second phase felt perfect, everything was perfect about it, but I was down on myself when I got to the pit because I didn’t realize it was a 35,” Rajzer said. “I thought it was only like a 31 or something, but then they put the numbers up.”
Rajzer leapt a personal-best 35 feet, 9 1/4 inches to win the Class 2A state title, beating out seniors from Paonia and Highland.
“I know I could’ve done better, but first is great,” Rajzer said. “Beating a couple of seniors felt pretty good, I’m not going to lie.”
Rajzer’s leap is a new school record. She entered the state competition as the third seed with a jump of 34 feet, 9 inches, a jump that was No. 1 in the state after the first meet this season.
“She started the season off No. 1,” Hayden head coach Mike Crum said. “We were hoping she’d continue that, and she finished where we thought she should.”
Rajzer is a strong, natural athlete. She was a member of the state-qualifying 4×100-meter and sprint medley relays, but also qualified individually for the 100-meter dash.
1. Alison Rajzer, Hayden, 35 feet, 9 1/4 inches
2. Poppy Lightfoot, Paonia, 34-8.25
3. Lauren Frink, Highland, 34-4.75
11. Allison Ingols, Hayden, 32-3.75
15. Kourtney Bruner, Soroco, 31-2
17. Kayedence Bruner, Soroco, 31
18. Gracie Day, Hayden, 30-9.75
“She just needs to keep doing what she’s doing and see where she ends up in three years,” Hayden athletic director and jumps coach Bryan Richards said. “She’s got a lot of talent, but we need to keep developing her.”
Rajzer has a quiet confidence about her, not saying much about her win, other than the fact that she knew it was possible. She styled her hair in cornrows to look cool for her state appearance.
The look was fitting for a state champion and as a member of a sprint medley relay team that beat its 12th seeding by seven spots, taking fifth overall. Rajzer kicked off the relay as its first leg. Sophomore Gracie Day, senior Faith Day and freshman Jillian Bennett followed.
Bennett surged from behind a pack of girls on the final straightaway to grab the higher spot on the podium.
Bennett did the same thing the night before in the preliminary rounds. Coming from the fourth place position, Bennett kicked her heels up to take third in the heat, a position that automatically qualifies for finals.
“I love running the sprint medley every time,” Bennett said on Thursday. “I love being the anchor. I was originally thinking, ‘I’ll be fine if we get fourth, fourth will qualify us.’ Then I was like, ‘You know what? I can do this.’ I just brought it.”
1. Hotchkiss, one minute, 50.81 seconds
2. Yuma, 1:54.51
3. Byers, 1:55.05
5. Hayden, 1:56.40
The race was particularly emotional for Faith, who ran her last race ever for Hayden and her last relay with her sister, Gracie.
“It’s hard to be done,” Faith said. “I graduate in three days, and it’s done, it’s over. It’s good to see the culture coming through, but it’s just hard to leave it behind.”
Chris Carrouth finishes fourth in 800 meter run
Hayden qualified all seven of its seniors for the state track meet this year, a goal from the beginning. Senior Chris Carrouth considered it business as usual, seeded first in the 800-meter run.
Carrouth came off a stunning finish in the boys 4×800-meter relay on Thursday, where his come-from-behind strategy on the straightaway helped him leap the team from ninth to third.
1. Colton Jonjak-plahn, Lyons, one minute, 59.43 seconds
2. Harley Ewert, Paonia, 1:59.45
3. Sammy Schuemann, Peyton, 2:01.51
4. Chris Carrouth, Hayden, 2:01.60
But Friday wasn’t quite what he wanted. Seeded first with a time of 2 minutes, 0.26 seconds, Carrouth ran a 2:01.60, earning fourth place.
“It’s not what I wanted, but it was still a good day today,” Carrouth said. “Last lap I knew I was going to be close between a few people. I knew it was time to move that first lap, and coming around the last 200, I just felt my legs start to give out from under me, so I just tried to hold onto everything else I had.”
Carrouth later competed in the boys 4×400-meter relay, which did not qualify for finals.
While neither the boys or girls remaining 4×400 relays qualified for the final day of competition, Hayden sees a future where it contends as a team on both sides.
“Whether they make it to the podium or not, they’re still the top 18 in the state, and that’s big. Overall, we’ve got a couple more races to go through. We’ve got a good future in Hayden. We’ve got a lot of young kids, lot of excitement generated now within the middle school athletes.”
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