Steamboat Springs battles through tough competition at Day 1 of state track
LAKEWOOD — Eric Casey is a familiar name at the state track meet.
The Steamboat Springs High School senior took home a Class 3A state title in pole vault last year, clearing a height of 14 feet. It was a step higher than his fifth placing the year before.
But this year in Class 4A, Casey failed to clear that familiar height on all three attempts. He finished the day clearing 13 feet, 6 inches, a foot below the school record he recorded just a month ago. He tied for eighth.
The Sailors have competed in two different classifications over the past four years, starting with Class 4A in 2016, then 3A in 2017 and 2018 and moved back into 4A this year.
“When I look at Eric, and I think about this season, being a pole vaulter in the mountains with blowing snow and not even being able to get in the pits until a month ago — that’s a tough discipline,” Steamboat head coach Lisa Renee Tumminello said. “For Eric to accomplish all that he has, to break the school record and to be able to run through his injury last month, that’s huge. He’s only just begun. I’m like, ‘OK, let’s figure out what meets you’re going to this summer, whether it’s USA Track and Field meets or New Balance Outdoors.'”
Clearing any height was an accomplishment for Casey this meet. He’s battling a left foot injury and hasn’t cleared any heights in two meets.
“[I’m] just disappointed,” Casey said. “Happy I got to state, happy I got here a third time, just bummed I wasn’t going to continue jumping. I’ve been struggling the past few meets, so just clearing the bar was all I could hope for.”
Steamboat sophomore Marcada Baker had her pick of events to compete in at the state track meet. As a member of the the qualifying teams for all three relays on Thursday — the 800-meter sprint medley relay, 4×200-meter relay and 4×800-meter relay — Baker chose to opt out of the sprint medley. She will compete in the girls 4×400-meter relay on Friday.
“Marcada and Maggi [Congdon] are in a similar situation where they were in too many events for one state championship with the schedule,” Tumminello said. “We pulled Marcada out of the sprint medley, so she could focus on two other events, so Siera [Harrison] took into that spot. Tomorrow she has the 4×4.”
Steamboat’s sprint medley and 4×200-meter relays did not advance past the preliminary rounds.
The sprint medley relay team of seniors Nicole Mueller and Kari Saunders, junior Siera Harrison and sophomore Aliyah Reimer finished in 16th place out of 18 teams with a time of 1 minute, 59.45 seconds.
The 4×200-meter relay team of sophomore Marcada Baker, Reimer, freshmen Kelsey Hamilton and Elise Colby took solace in its 13th-place performance. The team ran a time of 1:47.80, breaking its own school record of 1:48.50.
“That’s so neat to see them make decisions not based on what they feel like they had to do or what they needed to do, but what they could do,” Tumminello said. “They wanted to break that school record, and they did it last weekend, and they did it again today.”
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