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Evergreen's Cougars go out with a bang at state track

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By Michael Hicks

The 2012 track & field season has come and gone. but before it bid adieu, Evergreen’s Cougars said one last goodbye at the 4A state finals on May 17-19 at Lakewood’s Jeffco Stadium. What follows is a look at how Evergreen’s top track & field athletes fared last weekend.

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MAKING HER MOVE
Maura O’Brien bided her team, and it paid off quite nicely for the Evergreen senior.
The 4A Jeffco League’s top female runner in 2012 came into the May 19 1,600-meter run seeded ninth, but she made her move from the middle of the pack up to fourth with 400 meters remaining and held on for a fourth-place finish.
“I’m really happy. I knew that all of those girls would be super fast. I decided not to make a move until I knew I could hold it,” she said.
O’Brien wasn’t going to catch the leaders, especially eventual state champion Karina Ernst of Thompson Valley, who won in 4 minutes, 54.89 seconds. But O’Brien, who finished in 5:10.65, was able to hold off hard-charging Shannon Maloney of Durango and Palmer Ridge’s Alison Deitsch. They each finished less than a second behind.
“I just thought I’d go for it. If anybody caught me they caught me, but I would try,” O’Brien said.
Not to worry. Nobody caught her.
Teammates Samantha Skold and Erin Dobey finished 11th and 14th, respectively.

ALWAYS ON THE RUN
Allison Aafedt couldn’t run in them all. After all, it was against CHSAA rules. But the Evergreen runner had quite the feat.
The EHS senior qualified for the 4A state meet in the 100, 200, 400 and 800 meters, not to mention as a member of the 4x400 and 4x800 relay teams.
“It was really hard, but I’m happy I did it,” Aafedt said.
Aafedt’s best finish came in 4x800 where Evergreen placed third in 9 minutes, 30.05 seconds. The 4x400 relay team came in fifth. Individually, she was fifth in the 400 in 57.70 seconds, a little more than two seconds back of Pueblo County’s Abby Simpson. She came in ninth in the 800 in 2:18.97. less than a second separated third place from ninth.
“I knew I should’ve stayed with the first pack. I had a little bit left at the end,” Aafedt said. She didn’t run in the 100 or 200.
“I came into (my kick) the last two (hundred meters) and really started to work on the last one.”

TALE OF TWO RACES
On one hand, Jackson Sayler was elated with a top-finish. That came in the boys’ 800 meters where the Evergreen junior was the lone underclassman to finish in the top six, running a time of 1 minute, 55.18 seconds on May 18.
“I ran as good as I could. It was a perfect race for me,” Sayler said.
Then came the 1,600 a day later where Sayler, sitting back in the pack, worked his way up to fourth at one point only to settle for fifth place in 4:24.50. The 10th-seeded runner in the field finished less than six seconds back of state champion Nick Harris of Niwot, but he felt like he could’ve finished so much higher, if not won the race.
“I think the front three guys got away from me too much,” Sayler said. “I was expecting the others to go faster than they did. I just wish I was up there with those three guys.
“I definitely felt I had more in the tank.”

ONE LAST RIDE
Maura O’Brien, Sammy Skold and Erin Dobey have been the nucleus of the Evergreen girls’ 4x800 relay team the past two seasons. That shouldn’t be too much of a surprise seeing as they were Evergreen’s top three cross country runners as well.
And for three seasons, the Lady Cougars have been one of the state’s best. Nothing changed that fact in 2012.
With Allison Aafedt as part of the quartet this year, the Lady Cougars ran off to a third-place finish this year, finishing in a time of 9 minutes, 30.05 seconds on May 17 at Jefferson County Stadium.
“We all just put eveything out there. We all raced as a team,” Skold said. “It’s my last year being able to race with these guys. I didn’t want to let them down and nobody let each other down on this team.”
O’Brien, Skold and Aafedt are all seniors. Dobey is a junior.
Only Thompson Valley (9:20.69) and Durango (9:27.58) finished ahead of Evergreen, which placed second a year ago and third in 2010.
Evergreen’s time was faster than its finish the past two seasons at state, beating out its previous-best time of 9:31.99 set two years ago.

BEST OF THE REST
Following is a breakdown of how Evergreen athletes did during the 2012 4A state track and field championships May 17-19 at Lakewood’s Jeffco Stadium:

GIRLS
400 meters: Allison Aafedt, 5th place, 57.70 seconds
800: Allison Aafedt, 9th, 2 minutes, 18.97 seconds
1,600: Maura O’Brien, 4th, 5:10.65; Sammy Skold, 11th, 5:17.63; Erin Dobey, 14th, 5:23.16
3,200: Sammy Skold, 8th, 11:41.39; Maura O’Brien, 14th, 12:10
4x400 relay: 7th, 4:02.21
4x800 relay: 3rd, 9:30.05
High jump: Lauren Russell, no height
Shot put: Whitney Barr, 11th, 35 feet, 8.25 inches

BOYS
800: Jackson Sayler, 3rd, 1:58.18
1,600: Jackson Sayler, 5th, 4:24.50
3,200: Jackson Sayler, N/A. Did not start
4x800 relay: 5th, 8:07.87
High jump: Andre Lane, 9th, 6 feet, 2 inches
Long jump: Andre Lane, 10th, 20-11