LAKEWOOD - Aaron Velasquez knows the way to the podium.
So does Steele Allred.
The two Bayfield Wolverines returned to the familiar awards platform at the CHSAA Class 3A Track and Field State Championships on Thursday afternoon at sun-soaked Jeffco Stadium.
Velasquez, who twice stepped to the top of the podium when he won state high school wrestling championships, took a giant step onto the track awards platform when he finished third in the discus with a school-record throw of 150 feet, 8 inches.
Allred, in spite of coming off a strength-sapping illness, managed a runner-up finish in the Class 3A pole vault, one position above his finish in 2011.
“It was a lot of fun ... a lot more enjoyable than last year,” Velasquez said as unseasonably warm weather toasted the Jeffco Stadium track complex in west Denver.
“This year you could actually throw without slipping.”
Torrential rains played havoc with the 2011 state track meet. Not so in 2012.
“This sunshine is great,” a smiling Velasquez said after breaking the 150-foot barrier along with the BHS school record.
“I have no regrets,” said the senior, who’s headed to Northern Colorado on a wrestling scholarship. “I finally got the school record, and my last throw was my best throw.”
Mom and dad, Tina and Gus Velasquez, were in the front row of the bleachers at the discus venue, just as they were during the storm a year ago.
Derek McCartney of Faith Christian, the grandson of former University of Colorado football coach Bill McCartney, won the discus with a throw of 154-11. Grayson Bundick, a Faith Christian junior, was second at 151-7.
Allred, a senior like Velasquez, didn’t have any regrets about the pole vault competition, either.
He just regrets that he got sick two weeks ago.
“I ... just got off a cold,” a disappointed Allred said after finishing second to Samuel Bilderbeck of Alamosa in the pole vault. They both cleared 13 feet, but Bilderbeck won on fewer misses.
Brandon Kittle of Rifle also cleared 13 feet. He was third based on misses.
“I thought I had more than that,” Allred said. “That’s why I’m bummed. I know I could have gone higher ... if I hadn’t gotten sick.”
The slender Allred lost 10 pounds and tons of practice time with the sickness.
“I’m still about six pounds under my normal weight ... I’m recovering,” son of Teena and Toby Allred said.
He also had company on the podium with freshman Michael Voss of Bayfield finishing fourth. Voss vaulted 12-6 to put two Wolverines in the top four at state.
That extended a Bayfield tradition of multiple placers in the state pole vault, dating back to vaulting coach Luke Harrington and his state championship.
It includes the Colorado Class 3A state pole vault record of 15 feet, set by Bayfield’s Drew McClure in 2004. It reached to Travis Stuever, who won the title for Bayfield last year while Allred was third.
BHS also qualified sophomore Tyler Meyers and sophomore John Arnold for the state pole vault, by far the most vaulters from one high school.
Bayfield added another podium finish Day 1 of the three-day state track championships: Junior Destini McGhehey of the Wolverines cleared 5-1 to finish seventh in the 3A girls high jump, an event won by Pagosa Springs sophomore Taylor Strohecker (5-4).
The Bayfield boys 4x200 relay team didn’t advance out of Thursday’s prelims. The squad of Ketih Wickman, John Arnold, Joey Webb and Allec Rodriguez finished 14th.