LAKEWOOD — Maybe the rest of the state wasn’t expecting it since Chatfield’s 4x800 relay team was seeded 16th entering the 5A boys state track and field championships May 16, but Panos Smyrnios, Nathan Moore, Tyler Hale and Larry Huff believed in themselves.
One by one, they picked off the state’s best at Jefferson County Stadium until they finished third in 7 minutes, 59.86 seconds. It may have been unexpected to the rest of the state but not surprising to the Chargers.
“I knew that we could do it,” said Smyrnios, who a day later in the three-day meet placed fifth in the 800 meters in 1:55.51. Moore was eighth in 1:57.38. “None of us have run our best together. We knew if we ran the best that we could in the same race, we could do it.”
The time was the second-best in school history, Smyrnios said.
He wasn’t the only one believing his team could succeed. So did Moore.
“I knew we could do it. I just thought to myself that I know the people I’m running with, and I can stay with them for the whole race,” he said.
Chatfield finished nearly six seconds back of the winning team from Fort Collins and 3.28 seconds behind Chaparral, but what made the improbable run to third place all the more impressive is that Huff just joined the team a month ago and Hale has been battling his way back from a calf injury.
“I’m so happy and so proud to be a part of this team,” Huff said. “I knew I wanted a league title, and we got that. I knew I wanted to compete in state, and we did.”
“We had the perfect recipe for success this year,” Hale added.
Littleton’s 4x400 relay team of D’Angelo Deniro, Jake Bergman, Barry Visser and Jack Robb nearly ended this year’s meet with a state title. While the girls 4x400 team has had its share of success in recent years, this year it was the Lions boys’ turn.
Littleton finished second in 3:21.31. Cherokee Trail was nearly a second ahead.
“It’s hard to put in words how we did. We just ran hard to get here,” Bergman said.
“We’ve been extremely blessed, and we were able to put it together,” he said.
Garrett Lane, unfortunately, wasn’t able to put it together in the 5A 110 hurdles finals. The Chatfield senior, with tattoos that he self-designed covering both arms, his chest and back, took first in his preliminary run on May 16 but had to settle for fifth in the finals two days later. He finished in 15.03 seconds. Grandview’s Jordan Charles won in 14.21.
“Today, I don’t know if I had a wrong step, but something was wrong. I don’t know what it was,” Lane said. “Fifth place is still amazing, but nobody trains for fifth place.”
Columbine’s Brad Crowther was sixth in 15.11.
Chatfield also got a pair of sixth-place finishes from Cody Candler in the 300 hurdles in 40.05 and from Joey Roselli in the shot put at 50 feet, 1¾ inches. Littleton’s Max Chandler was 10th in the pole vault at 13-0.
Scott Stocker contributed to this story.
Contact Michael Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.