Falcons fly to top of podium

Highlands Ranch duo captures gold in boys long jump and triple jump

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Nobody could get a jump on Connor Turnage and Ben Morgan at the Colorado State Track and Field championships this past weekend at Lakewood's Jeffco Stadium.

Both Highlands Ranch athletes won state titles, Turnage in the triple jump and Morgan in the long jump.

Turnage, a senior bound for the University of Nebraska, jumped 48 feet, 9.75 inches to capture his third consecutive triple jump crown and cap what he termed a frustrating season on a positive note.

“It was the second best jump of my life,” Turnage said. “I can't complain too much. As frustrating as this season was, I was pretty happy. I just didn't jump well this season. Two or three weeks ago I started jumping a little better.”

Turnage claims that coaching is the main reason why he and Morgan won state titles.

“It takes a lot of coaching,” he admitted. “We both work with the coaches. Definitely the biggest thing is the coaching.”

Morgan, a junior, took first in his main event with a leap of 22 feet, 8.5 inches.

“I came out and tried as hard as I could,” Morgan said. “I did my best. My PR is 23-8. I didn't do as well as I had hoped, but everybody was kind of having an off day. I was real confident. I was just thinking about getting a PR and jumping as far as I could.

“It was definitely a good season, especially from the fact I went from a PR of 22-6 to 23-8, and that put me in the top 50 in the nation. So I was coming into the state meet thinking there's definitely a possibility of winning but everybody was really good.”

Valor Christian had two individual Class 4A champions. Senior Zac Petrie ran the 400 meters in a time of 1 minute, 52.66 seconds to win the crown, while Eagles' junior Haley Showalter captured the girls 4A discus championship with a throw of 149 feet, 1 inch.

“I didn't do well at all,” said Showalter. “My PR is 155 and I wanted to PR really bad. Last year, I PR'd at state by five feet. This year I was off my PR. I wasn't happy but I'm happy with the win. I was looking forward to this meet all year. My best just wasn't there.”

Valor Christian's boys finished second to Palmer Ridge in the Class 4A team standings.

Other south metro champions include Douglas County's Trey Smith, who won the Class 5A 100 meter dash. Cherry Creek's boys 4x400 relay team was a champion and the Bruins' junior Jordyn Colter captured the girls Class 5A 800 and 1600 runs for the second consecutive season. Creek, the defending Class 5A champions, finished third in the team standings.

Chaparral took first in the boys 4x800 Class 5A relay, while Lutheran captured the boys Class 2A team title and the Lions' Chris Youngs was the 100 and 200 meter champ. The Lions 4x400 relay team set a meet record of 3:23.30 in putting the finishing touches on their runaway team victory.

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