The hallways inside Norwood High School will be a little quieter this week. Several students, including some of the girls’ track team and all of the varsity baseball team, are headed for Denver Wednesday morning to compete at the state level for their respective sporting events.
Junior Jessica Barkemeyer is traveling. She’s qualified for the state meet in the 200 meter and 400 meter races.
The girls 4x800 relay team — made up of Paige Franklin, Sarah Fleming, Saria Taylor and Jenna Baugh — will also be competing. Annaleigh Dabal and Quinn Shaw are alternates on that team and will travel as well.
Franklin said she’d never competed at the state level before. She said she felt excited, though also nervous, and especially because she’s nursing a previous injury. Recently Franklin pulled a quadricep muscle and is now doing what she can to stay in running shape this week.
Franklin said her team started running the 4x800 meter only a few weeks ago. Still, they qualified as the San Juan Basin League champions and also qualified for the state’s high school track meet at JeffCo Stadium in Lakewood.
“I kind of feel pressure because I am the anchor,” Franklin said. “Because I have to catch up if someone gets behind. … But my two best friends will be there to talk me through it.”
Dabal said she agreed attending the state meet was special, especially since all class divisions compete at the same time.
“All the schools will be there,” she said. “I’m excited to be there — just being there is really fun.”
The girls track team is coached by Shelby Thomas and Terry Snow. Track competition begins Thursday.
The boys’ baseball team — combined of Nucla and Norwood players and led by Randy Gabriel and his assistants — is also headed to Denver for the state baseball championships, which happen Thursday.
Over the weekend, the boys hosted the regional baseball tournament at home in Nucla. On Saturday, they shut out Stratton-Liberty, 10-0, and then Longmont Christian, 20-0.
The Mustangs were runners-up last year at the state tournament, and also state champions the year before. No doubt, the team is feeling some pressure about their return to the All Star Park.
“Well, as a team we know that we need to take the games one at a time,” senior Jace Sinks said. “And not be thinking about the final goal. If we continue to play how we have been, then we will be fine.”
Sinks said this week means practicing hard and pushing to take advantage of all of the opportunities at hand.
“We know what to expect and what we need to get done,” Sinks added.
Senior JD Brantingham said though he’s hoping for the win, it’s been a great ride regardless of the outcome.
“It’s quite the experience to go to state three years in a row. I can't think of anyone I know that has had that great of a high school career,” he said. “We are pretty excited about it as a team. It's going to be a perfect wrap on a great year, no matter what happens. I think that we just need to settle down and play baseball like we know how. We don't need to do anything different. We just need to stay aggressive and not let up until it's all over.”