State Games notes: Sisters excel at pole vault

Sisters set personal records in pole vault

Pole vaulting is a family affair for the Patarinos, and Sunday was their day. Makenzie Patarino, 16, a senior at Lakewood High School and her younger sister, Kassidy, 14, a freshman, both set personal records Sunday at the Rocky Mountain State Games.


Makenzie cleared 11 feet, 4 inches and Kassidy, who just started her pole vault career, cleared 5-5.


The sisters train together daily and twice weekly with Above the Bar Pole Vault Club, and Makenzie knows Kassidy will soon catch up.


“She is going to give me a run for my money pretty soon,” Makenzie said. “We go to the club together and we do workouts in the morning together.”


When Kassidy first saw Makenzie soaring over the bar, she wanted to try it too.


“You have to be insane to do it,” Makenzie said. “She saw me and she said, ‘Oh, that looks fun. I’m insane too, so I’ll give it a try.'”


Palmer Ridge grad ready for college track career


Class of 2014 Palmer Ridge graduate Libby Acker enjoyed every moment of her last meet in Colorado before heading to college.


Acker, who cleared 10-9 at the State Games on Sunday, will pole vault at Xavier University in Cincinnati. The three-sport athlete said she had to choose between continuing with softball or track at the college level.


“It is a different kind of community,” Acker said. “With softball you have your team but you aren’t really friends with the other team, but with pole vault it is you against the bar. So you cheer for everyone else even if they aren’t on your team, and you make a lot more friends that way.”


Acker, who finished fourth in the Class 4A Colorado state championships, leaves for Cincinnati in two weeks. She already has several goals in mind to accomplish when she arrives.


“I want to be hitting 11-6 consistently by the time I get there and hopefully 12 feet by the end of my first year,” she said.


Colorado Springs Striders youths dominate


Colorado Springs Striders coach Paul Hale loves to see his young athletes happy, win or lose.


“Just to see them enjoy themselves and smiling,” Hale said. “They can’t always win and when they come back after a bad run and they goof off, it makes it worth it.”


But two of Hale’s runner had real reason to smile after dominating the girls 10 & Under 100 meters. Nine-year-olds Janise Everett and Kat Ellis both won their heats, finishing first and third, respectively. The two sat stretching on the grass following their run, and the champion Everett wiggled her feet, covered in mismatched multicolored socks, in excitement. Although neither could contain their energy following the race, Everett said that through running, she’s learned to channel that energy.


“I like how when we run we can just be calm about it and focused,” Everett said.


Bowler has a ‘ball’ in beating longtime friend, rival


Bowler Patrick Buck finally got a rematch with friend, and nemesis, Jacob Arismendez.


And with a ball purchased from the other, the software programmer earned his first Rocky Mountain State Game gold medal – or medal altogether – with a dominating 226-169 victory in the men’s handicap final at King Pin Lanes.


“The ball wasn’t reacting for him (Jacob) like it had before, so he let me try it,” Buck said. “I ended up buying it from him, and I’ve been bowling with it ever since.”


Earlier in the day, Buck fell to Arismendez in the men’s scratch final, 183-180. The match came down to Buck’s final throw, and a strike would have led to a two-frame roll-off to determine the winner.


Instead, Buck came up with a seven.


Elite skater claims victory in speedskating finals


With a slew of records with his name on them, some wondered why Norm Kirby would choose to compete in the Rocky Mountain State Games.


“We haven’t had speedskating at the State Games in six or seven years, and I really wanted to support the event,” said Kirby, a Wasson graduate who won the 3,000 open race in the 18-and-over division and also claimed victories in the 1,500 and 700 meters. “I practice at that rink (Skate City at N. Academy and Constitution), and it’s a real fun event. Even though competing is fun, I go there to be competitive. I go to win.”


Kirby, 44, waited his turn in the small confines of Skate City, as the 100-meter oval yielded a 30-lap race.


“I let the younger guys control the pace, then work my strategy to set them up,” said Kirby, who races professionally for Bont. “Let them do the battling, then make your move at the last minute and get out front. I prefer the larger tracks like the Velodrome, but I’m glad to support a local event.”



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