The Chadron State Eagles both opened and closed the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference’s Indoor Track and Field Championships with a bang. They also had lots of highlights in between while competing in historic Steinhauer Field House at Colorado School of Mines in Golden.
The Eagles dominated both of the weight throws that opened the show Friday and CSC sophomore Javan Lanier was selected the Male Athlete of the Meet as the extravaganza was closing late Saturday afternoon.
Chadron State earned first, third and sixth in the men’s weight throw with senior Jesse Bleidt of Lewellen taking the gold medal with a career-best mark of 60 feet, 10 inches, junior Cory Martens was third at 60-9 ¼ and senior Blake Jacobs placing sixth at 54-2 ¾, giving the Eagles 19 points in the meet’s opening event.
A couple hours later, sophomore Ashton Hallsted of Casper won the silver medal in the women’s weight throw with a career-best heave of 60-5 ¼ and senior Ashlyn Hanson of Seward earned the bronze with a mark that was only 1 ½ inches shorter.
Hanson also was the recipient of the Summit Award as the female with the highest cumulative grade point average among the qualifiers at the championships. She has earned all A’s during her four years at Chadron State as an elementary education major.
Entering the championships, Lanier would not have been considered a contender for an Athlete of the Meet honor.
At the season’s opening meet in early December at Black Hills State, Lanier had the fastest time of 6.91 seconds in the preliminaries of the 60-meter dash, but pulled a hamstring during the finals, did not finish the race and spent the next two months recovering.
The graduate of Regis Jesuit High in Aurora, Colo., finally competed again at the University of Colorado Invitational on Feb. 4, placing eighth among 42 entries in 6.91 seconds. The next week, he was fourth among the more than 100 contestants at the South Dakota State Classic with personal best of 6.88 seconds.
Maybe the promising athlete could make something out of the indoor season after all. And, as the award Lanier received denotes, he had a great conference meet.
He had long jumped 22-11 ¾ at the Black Hills State Meet in December before the hamstring setback, but did not enter the event again until Friday. No matter. He hit 23-8 ½ and won the bronze medal for third place.
He had barely finished long jumping when it was time to run the 60-meter preliminaries. His time of 6.85 seconds tied for the fastest, guaranteeing him one of the middle lanes in the finals. A bit later he placed fifth in the 200-meter prelims in 23.05 seconds.
Still something of a darkhorse in the finals because he was running against veterans, Lanier made the most of his opportunities. He won the 100 meters in 6.83 seconds, edging Western State senior Elijah Gilbert by two one-hundredths of a second and then was sixth in the 200 in 23.10 seconds.
During the meeting at the conclusion of the championships to vote on the awards, Chadron State coach Riley Northrup convinced his colleagues that the Male Athlete honor should go to Lanier because he earned 19 points, one more than any of the other contenders.
Other Eagles who have won the RMAC’s indoor Male Athlete of the Meet Award are Joel Duffield, Lanar Newman and Damarcus Simpson twice.
While she did not receive the Female Athlete of the Meet honor, Chadron State junior Sierra Martinez of Aztec, N.M., certainly was outstanding for the Eagles. She finished second in the 200 meters in 25.67 seconds, third in the long jump at 19- ¼ and fifth in the 60-meter dash in 7.89 seconds.
Martinez earned 18 points, making her a contender for the Female Athlete of the Meet honor, but it went to Kaija Crowe of the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, who tallied 22 points by winning the pentathlon and placing second in the long jump and fifth in the triple jump.
Three Eagles placed fourth in events on Saturday to back Lanier’s and Martinez’s strong performances. They were Martens in the shot put (51-11), Maddie Brashears in the long jump (18-8), and Justin Leman in the heptathlon (4,795 points). Leman also was sixth in the high hurdles.
Other placings for the CSC women included fifth in the 4x400 relay, sixth in the distance medley relay, seventh and eighth in the pentathlon by Chasity Horton and Julianne Thomsen, those same places by Erin Graham and Michelle Carbajal in the triple jump and eighth in the 400 by Alisha Heelan.
Besides Leman, the Eagles’ Gregg Peterson and Ty Thurston were seventh and eighth in the heptathlon and both men’s relay teams finished seventh.
The Eagles did have a setback. Freshman standout Isaac Grimes, who had the RMAC’s best long jump of 23-11 ¾ this winter and also ranked high in both the 60 and the triple jump was forced to withdraw from all the events when he tweaked his hamstring while warming up for the long jump.
Thankfully, Lanier came to the rescue in some of those same events. If Grimes can get healthy and Lanier can stay that way, the Eagles will have a potent one-two punch in the sprints and jumps during the outdoor season.
In the team competition, the Chadron State women tied for fifth and sixth in the standings among the 13 teams with 51 points and the men were sixth with 58 points.
Meet host Colorado Mines scored 61 more points than runner-up Colorado Springs to claim the men’s championship, but the Mountain Lions edged Western State 118 to 117 points for the women’s team title.
Chadron State women’s placings follow:
60—5, Sierra Martinez, 7.89.
200—2, Sierra Martinez, 25.67.
400—8, Alisha Heelan, 59.57.
4x400 relay—5, Chadron State, 4:06.34.
Distance medley relay—6, Chadron State, 12:50.45.
Weight throw—2, Ashton Hallsted, 60-5 ¼; 3, Ashlyn Hallsted, 60-3 ¾.
Long jump—3, Sierra Martinez, 19- ¼; 4, Maddie Brashears, 18-8.
Triple jump—7, Erin Graham, 36-2; 8, Michelle Carbajal, 35-11 ½.
Pentathlon—7, Chasidy Horton, 3,076 points; 8, Julianne Thomsen, 2,891.
The CSC men’s placings:
60—1, Javan Lanier, 6.83.
200—6, Javan Lanier, 23.10.
60 high hurdles—6, Justin Leman, 8.42.
4x400 relay—7, Chadron State, 3:27.17.
Distance medley relay—7, Chadron State, 10:42.69.
Shot put—4, Cory Martens, 51-11.
Weight throw—1, Jesse Bleidt, 60-10; 3, Cory Martens, 59-11 ¼; 6, Blake Jacobs, 54-2 ¾.
Long jump—3, Javan Lanier, 23-6 ¾.
Heptathlon—4, Justin Leman, 4,795 points; 7, Gregg Peterson, 4,429; 8, Ty Thurston, 4,338.
Women’s team standings—1, Colorado-Colorado Springs, 118; 2, Western State, 117; 3, Adams State, 102; 4, New Mexico Highlands, 99; 5-6, Chadron State and Colorado Mines, 51; 7, Colorado State-Pueblo, 45; 8, Colorado Mesa, 44.5; 9. Black Hills State, 18.5; 10, Colorado Christian, 5; 11-13, Metro State, South Dakota Mines and Westminster, 4.
Men’s team standings—1, Colorado Mines, 151.5; 2, Colorado-Colorado Springs, 90.5; 3, Western State, 86; 4, Adams State, 72; 5, Colorado State-Pueblo, 63; 6, Chadron State, 58; 7, Black Hills State, 52; 8, Colorado Mesa, 32; 9, South Dakota Mines, 29; 10, Metro State, 14; 11, Colorado Christian, 13; 12, Westminster, 1.