LONGMONT — Nick Zissimos’s chances of qualifying for the state track and field meet came down to this week.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Skyline freshman jumped into the discus ring and prepared for his first throw of the Class 4A, Region 5 meet at Everly-Montgomery Field.
With the discus firmly in his right hand and his back to the
discus field, Zissimos tapped his right toe into position. Finally, he squared up to make his throw.
“Scratch!” the track official yelled.
So much for throw No. 1. Zissimos’s toe had touched the edge of the ring, drawing the scratch call.
“I thought that was a bad omen to start,” he said.
It turned out to be the only bad thing about his day.
Zissimos, who needed a top-three finish to qualify for state, was the surprising winner in the discus Tuesday, topping his teammate, senior Conan Smith, who was favored and finished third.
“It’s just amazing for me to be going (to state) as a freshman,” he said.
Tuesday was the first day of the Region 5 meet, with the rest of the events to be decided Friday.
The top three in each event earned automatic berths to state.
There were 13 champions crowned Tuesday, but perhaps none as surprising as Zissimos.
Zissimos finished seventh in the discus just a week ago at the Class 4A Northern Conference championships, while Smith ran away with the title.
Smith, however, had an off day Tuesday, while Zissimos pulled off his best throw of the season, 130 feet, 7 inches.
“I don’t think of it like I beat him,” Zissimos said of Smith. “I just look at it as me and a senior going to state to have fun.
“It’s fun, because (Smith) has always been a role model to me in every sport. Having me and him go to state, I’m really psyched.”
Zissimos was especially pleased with how he bounced back from his bad start.
“My dad always says, ‘What’s done is done. There’s nowhere to go but forward,’” Zissimos said. “I got scared for a while, but I just got after it for my second and third throws.”
David Gossett also won a regional title for the Falcons. He beat Broomfield’s Bryan Eicher by .05 of a second in the 1,600-meter run.
Gossett also teamed with Joe Accoutius, Darren Gillmore and Joe Ramos for third and qualify for state in the 3,200 relay.
Trojan girls start strong: The Longmont girls team didn’t waste any time getting settled in, winning four of Tuesday’s seven event finals.
“We just wanted to prove to everyone that we’re here,” freshman Betsy Weeks said.
Weeks helped the Trojans win the 800 meter medley relay and the 800 meter relay.
“I was really nervous before (the medley), but we had a really strong time,” Weeks said.
The Trojans won the 800 relay with a 1:45.47, just clipping Skyline and Cherokee Trail — who tied for second — at the finish.
“It was really nerve-racking, and we really wanted to beat (Cherokee Trail) because we had never seen them and they were really close to us (in time) coming in,” Ashlie McIntire said.
Individually, Lindsey Moller won the triple jump (36 feet, 51/4 inches) and Haley Fesenmeyer finished first in the 1,600 meters (5:41.26).
Heimstra jumps to first: Silver Creek’s Meghan Heimstra and Justina Larsen had rough starts in the girls high jump, but both came through to qualify for state. Heimstra was first, with a jump of 5-feet, and Larsen was third, at 4-10.
“At first I was scared because I got a scratch at 4-8, and Justina a scratch at 4-6,” Heimstra said. “I think we just came out too nervous.”
Heimstra said she’s feeling good going into state.
“In the middle of the season I was worn down from basketball and track, but I feel I’m getting it back,” she said. “I felt I jumped 5-feet pretty solid (on Tuesday).”
Eischeid warming up: Longmont’s David Eischeid has a lot of work ahead of him this week, but the senior got off to a good start Tuesday.
Eischeid claimed the boys long jump title with a personal-best leap of 23 feet, 23/4 inches.
“We’ve been working all season to find a rhythm and we found it,” he said. “I haven’t even peaked yet.”