Update on Friday’s prelims at the state track and field championships

LAKEWOOD – A look at Friday’s preliminaries at the state track and field championships:

Loveland: The girls 400-meter relay qualified with a top time of 47.85 seconds.

Thompson Valley: On the girls side, Kendra Larson qualified fifth in the 300 hurldles with a time of 45.44 seconds, while the 400 relay team was unable to qualify for the finals with a time of 50,17.

On the Eagles’ boys side, Josh Mielke qualified with the second-best time in the 300 hurdles with a time of 39.12, while teammate Josh Strobel missed the cut with an 11th-best time of 40.35. TVHS’ 400 relay qualified sixth for Saturday’s finals with a time of 42.83.

Berthoud: In the midst of her run to a title in the triple jump, Courtney Mills qualified second in the 300 hurdles with a time of 45.46 seconds. On the boys side, the 400 relay team qualified second with a time of 43.52.

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Five swimmers eye trials

Tuesday afternoon, five members of the Loveland Swim Club will head off to a Grand Prix meet in Indianapolis with the hopes of attaining a goal — cuts to compete at the Olympic Trials swim meet in Omaha, Neb., which begin at the end of June.

Combined, Alex Nickell, Nick Hatanaka, Pat Jones, Alex Tooley and Ryan Ball will swim at least 14 times with that goal in mind. But as Nickell pointed out, the meet this weekend isn’t an all-or-nothing affair, something they all think will help them in their pursuit.

“We have another chance at it this summer, so that relieves some of the pressure,” said Jones, who will swim in the  100- and 200-meter backstroke, as well as the 1,500 freestyle.

What they all find comfort in is the fact they are doing it together, not alone. They will have a built-in support group of guys who know exactly what they are trying to accomplish, how hard it is to achieve and know precisely what each of them went through to reach this point. Tooley (200 and 400 individual medleys and 100 breaststroke) said that can’t be overlooked. He joined the LSC this past year, and all the big meets he’s gone to prior have been as a solo act.

LSC coach Jim Nickell said all five of them are close to a trials cut in at least one event. They aren’t going with just hope, he said, but with realistic expectations. Alex Nickell and Hatanaka swim first on Thursday, getting the chance to set a positive tone for the group.

“When Nick makes it on Thursday, it will be easier for all of us,” said Alex Nickell, who has the 400 free that day and will also swim the mile. “If he makes it, we all have to make it, right?”

To this, Hatanaka just laughed. Competition, by nature, is pressure, and he may have a little bit more since his brother, Brandon, hit a cut a few months ago. But he thinks the combination of a big meet and knowing another chance looms later is a great balance.

“When you go to that meet, you get the mixture of both,” he said. “You get relaxed, but then you have that nervousness and pressure on you.”

Hatanaka opens with the 200 breaststroke, and will swim the 100 breast and the 50 free, as well. Ball will swim the 100 and 200 backs,  the 400 and the mile. In some ways, he’s just happy to be in the position he is so early — just a sophomore at Loveland High School.

“It feels pretty awesome, because they’re all some of my best friends,” he said. “To go to a big meet with them is really cool. I didn’t think I was going to be this close a year ago, but I’m happy I’ve gone this far, so it feels really good.”

Nickell, as a coach, obviously wants them to reach their individual goals. But he also knows as person who leads an entire program, the residual effects of this trip are something that could be felt for years.

“The neat thing is is that there are five of them going, and one of the things we talk about the whole time with (the swim club) is people paving the way,” Jim Nickell said. “It’s a lot easier to be part of a group, it’s a lot easier to do something when somebody has cleared the way, be it a time or a big meet goal. Following behind comes a little bit easier.”

Earlier this year, Jake Ores (now at Virginia Tech) hit a trials cut. Coach Nickell said that showed Brandon Hatanaka it was attainable, and he hit his cut at the end of his freshman season at Minnesota. He’s now shown that to his younger brother, and the hope it will continue to trickle down through the ranks. The difference is, these five can all do it while still competing in high school. Alex Nickell is a senor at Mountain View, as is Tooley at Fossil Ridge. Jones and Nick Hatanaka are juniors at Loveland.

The last Loveland swimmer to hit a trials cut while still in high school was Jay Schryver, and he did it his junior year at Loveland. That was back in 1996.

“This group can do the same thing,” Jim Nickell said. “They can make it easier for the guys coming behind them. That’s what tradition is. That’s what a tradition of excellence is.”



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Another Hatanaka to watch

While older brother Brandon Hatanaka took off for Minnesota and recently locked up an Olympic Trials cut, younger sibling Nick is proving people better take notice of him, too.

The Loveland High School junior opened the season last Thursday by taking down the city record in the 100-yard breaststroke, notching a 55.70 in the Indians’ first meet of the year. The old standard was 55.80 by Derek Thrush of Loveland, set back in 1997.

“I didn’t even know it was the record,” Nick said early this week. “That’s pretty good. We all talked before that first meet, and we were feeling pretty good coming in.”

Nick and many of his teammates were coming off a strong showing at sectionals, meaning he was coming off a period of rest. He said his goal is to post a time in the 56s by the end of the year, but a lot of that will depend on what happens later this month at the Grand Prix meet in Indianapolis, he said. He hopes while he’s there he can hit his own trials cut in the breaststroke, needing a long-course time of 1:07.


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And in the finals …

Loveland’s two finalists are no surprise, with Jordan Henrickson making it at 145 and Sam Kreimier following at 152. Henrickson is undefeated and has been ranked No. 1 all year, and Kreimier established himself as a favorite by knocking off defending state champ Jesse Carlson of Legacy at regionals last week.
Thompson Valley’s Cameron McCrimmon made the final match at 182 in 4A, proving his bout with mono was just a momentary blip. Also in 4A, Jace Lopez of Roosevelt will have a tough draw with Phil Downing of Broomfield, a defending state champ.
Berthoud also has a finalist, with Cory Ellis going after the 182 3A crown against Eaton’s Jaden Olearnick, a foe he’d like to turn the tables on after losing to him in the regional finals last week.

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State wrestling team scores update

Defending 4A champion left the door open in the quarterfinal round — Josh Dunkle and Joel Salomon both lost — but it wasn’t Thompson Valley that was able to walk through, suffering tough losses of their own.
Instead, it was Pueblo South that took advantage, vaulting into first with 60 points, just .5 ahead of the Wizards. Thompson Valley slipped back to seventh place with 36.5 points.
Broomfield (46.5), Montrose (41.5), Pueblo Central (41) and Discovery Canyon (37.5) also moved up the ladder.
Seventh is the same position Loveland is in in 5A after three Indians advanced to tonight’s finals. And Berthoud moved up to 13th (26) by going five-for-five in the morning session.

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A quick update from 4A/5A semis

Loveland High School has advanced three to the semis in 5A, as Jordan Henrickson (145), Sam Kreimier (152; See Video) and Dalton Weis (182) all pick up wins, Weis doing so with a pin.
Fossil Ridge has advanced Taylor Killon (132) and Austen Lindsay (145) during the session.
In 4A, Thompson Valley advanced two into the semis, with Francisco Marquez (152; See Video ) and Cameron McCrimmon (182) earning decisions to advance, a round that hurt the Eagles chances of chasing down a team title.
Roosevelt will send Jace Lopez (138) and Juan Sanchez (170) to the semis.
The semis begin at 7:15 p.m. tonight. The first round of consolation for the big schools is about to start.

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Berthoud puts two into 3A semis

Senior Cory Ellis (182 pounds) and Kagen Hennig (195) won their Class 3A state quarterfinal matches within 30 seconds of each other, giving the Spartans two guaranteed medalists(See Video). Ellis won a 7-1 decision against Koby Close of Buena Vista, and Hennig threw David Mendoza of Hotchkiss in a pair of second-period cradles, the second tight enough to lead to a fall in 3:04.
Three other Spartans are set for the first round of consolation, coming up soon.

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And they’re off

The 2A and 3A classifications have taken to the mat at the Pepsi Center for the quarterfinal round. Berthoud will have a bit to chill, with Cory Ellis (182 pounds) and Kegan Hennig (195) up later. The other three Spartans will begin the consolation rounds shortly thereafter.

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Oops … too much traffic on the mats

With around 40 kids on the 4A/5A mats, didn’t have much time to breathe, let alone blog. My apologies. So, here’s the wrap:
Thompson Valley wins seven matches, gets three pins and sits in second with 21.5 points. Defending champ Windsor leads the 4A field with 28.5.
Roosevelt won six of seven matches after losing two wrestlers to being overweight at weigh in and scores 19 points to sit in a tie for fourth.
As for 5A, Fossil Ridge gets wins from four of six, while Loveland wins three of four.

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3A Wrestling: Berthoud pins at the end

Berthoud senior Cory Ellis (182 pounds) and sophomore Kagen Hennig closed the first round in style for the Spartans with a pair of pins. Ellis stuck Justin Briskey of Bayfield in 1:30, while Hennig was quicker, needing just 1:18 to stop Jonathan Flores of Jefferson.
The duo comes back for Friday’s quarterfinal round at 10 a.m., while the three Spartans who lost earlier will follow immediately after with the first round of consolation.

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