O’Brien, Sayler set pace for Evergreen at leagues

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By Michael Hicks

LAKEWOOD — From the start, Maura O’Brien, Sammy Skold and Erin Dobey took charge of the girls’ 1,600 meters at the 4A Jeffco League championships May 12. The race was never in doubt. Just which one of the three would win proved to be the only drama.
O’Brien, who led for most of the four-lap event, overcame a late-charging Skold to score the victory in 5 minutes, 16.71 seconds at Jefferson County Stadium. But Skold (5:16.88) and Dobey (5:18.83) weren’t far behind en route to a one-two-three Evergreen finish.
“I knew whatever pace I went out with they’d be right behind me. I was just trying to get a good lead,” said O’Brien, who won four times overall, including a victory in the 3,200 in 11:37.61. “I knew they could hold it.”
And they did.
The strategy was similar to what the trio ran during cross country, a season in which O’Brien was dominant en route to wins in the 4A Jeffco League and regionals. But Skold and Dobey always held their own with her.
“We do really well when we’re able to push each other,” Dobey said.
Skold agreed.
“Whenever we race we always try to pack it up together. We always race strong as a team,” Skold said. “I know it’s an individual sport, but together you end up pushing yourself so much more.”
It was one of six victories for Evergreen as the girls team placed third in the league championship with 165 points. Green Mountain won with 187.5, while Valor Christian finished second with 166. Other winners for the Lady Cougars were Allison Aafedt (400, 58.65 seconds), Dobey (800, 2:23.06), the 4x400 relay team (4:04.73) and the 4x800 relay (9:38.84).
Evergreen’s boys team came in fourth with 107 points. D’Evelyn was victorious with 147, followed by Elizabeth with 132 and Valor Christian with 124.5.
Jackson Sayler didn’t have the same luxury in the boys 1,600 of having his teammates up front with him like O’Brien, Skold and Dobey did. But then again he did just fine on his own, winning his first 4A Jeffco League title in the mile in 4 minutes, 30.63 seconds.
“I just wanted to come out and hae some fun today,” said Sayler, who also won the 3,200 in 10:09.94.
Evergreen’s Gage Larson won the high jump at six feet even, while the boys’ 4x800 relay team of Sam Sahli, Nick Marti, Sayler and Collin Molleur came in second.
Aaefedt, a rarity in the fact that she’s qualified for the 4A state meet in the 100 and 800, among other events, couldn’t repeat her win in the 400 in the 100. She came in third in 12.86 seconds.
“I went as fast as i can. It’s all I can do,” Aaefedt said.