State track and field: Valor Christian’s Drew Costelow sweeps Class 5A distance races

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If Valor Christian junior Drew Costelow were in charge of writing his headline to recap his Class 5A state track and field championship weekend, he’d use just two words: “The Trifecta.”

Costelow, who transferred from Center Grove High School in Indiana in January 2021, officially burst onto the scene this weekend. On Sunday afternoon he won the 5A boys 1,600 meters at Jeffco Stadium. With a strong final lap, Costelow surged ahead of the pack to win in 4 minutes, 13.09 seconds, cementing a 5A triple in distance running.

He won the 3,200 on Thursday (9:19:18) and took the 800 on Saturday (1:52.11) in a tight finish. For Costelow, he knew he had more in the tank heading into the last lap.

“I had a pretty decent kick left in me based on my 800 speed, I knew I could close it well,” Costelow said afterward. “I wanted those guys to come down to the finish line with me like yesterday in the 800, as I love that last burst of energy. Overall, I couldn’t be happier.”

Costelow was able to use that last kick to fend off Battle Mountain’s Dalton Kaines (4:13.09) and Mountain Vista’s Tyler Downs (4:15.60).

The junior will compete in the RunningLane 800-meter run in Huntsville, Ala., next week. It’s safe to say this former Hoosier is happy to be in the Centennial State.

“I’m now already thinking about how to defend my titles next year.”

5A boys 100-meter upset. A stacked field in the 5A boys 100-meter dash ended with a sprinter from Lane 1 taking the title. Denver East’s Ben Kirk, clocking a 10.94-second finish, could hardly believe it.

“It’s very emotional,” Kirk said. “I had no idea that was going to happen.”

Kirk initially joined the East track team as offseason training for football. However, entering his senior year, Kirk dropped football to focus completely on his sprinting goals. It proved to be a smart decision. He also won the 200 on Sunday to take the top two sprints.

“It’s just been crazy,” Kirk said. “My first full track season and now I’m 5A number one.”

Kirk celebrated with a big hug for his sprints coach, Tanya Vassar, who also coaches with the Hustle Denver club track team.

“She’s the reason I’m here. One-hundred percent,” Kirk said.

Erie QB fastest in 4A. Erie sophomore quarterback Blake Barnett is among the most sought-after college football recruits in the state with offers from CU, CSU, Kansas State, Oregon State and Washington. On Sunday, he added another distinction to his impressive athletic resume: The speed king of 4A.

Barnett won the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.11 seconds — narrowly edging second-place Justin Blanton (Grand Junction Central) at 11.13. Barnett celebrated with a massive fist pump on a chilly morning at Jeffco Stadium.

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