Winning three of the last four Class 5A state championships didn’t change Fountain-Fort Carson track and field coach Ben Montoya’s pre-season talk heading into the 2018 season.
The goal, when attainable, for the talent-rich Trojans is to finish in the top three of the state’s largest classification, but how they do that matters, too.
“I think I say close to the same thing every year,” the Trojan coach said. “I want them just to be humble when they do win."
The Trojans’ experienced crop of talent in 2018 tested Montoya’s ability to remain modest.
“I don’t like to say it out loud to anybody ever,” Montoya said. “I told some people we should win the state meet provided we didn’t have any serious injuries.”
The Trojans avoided serious injuries – although crucial seniors Jalen Lyon and Deondre Ritter were questionable to run at state the week leading up – and fought off some hiccups at state to make it four of the last five, as F-FC totaled 100 points, beating second-place Cherry Creek by 29 and earning Montoya Gazette Preps Boys’ Track and Field Coach of the Year.
The Trojans had the title in the bag midway through the final day of competition.
“You don’t know how to act,” Montoya said. “You don’t want to celebrate because you don’t want to be that cocky.”
Senior Juwan Tate and the 4x800 team paced the Trojans on Thursday’s first day, winning the discus after entering with the 11th best mark and placing sixth, respectively.
“That really set the tone for the rest of the meet,” Montoya said.
Those results softened the blow from Jason Farrell’s tumble in the 300 hurdles and Jequan Hogan’s surprising second-place finish in the triple jump on Saturday.
Both seniors added gold medals in other events and are two of at least five Trojans headed to the Division I track and field.
“This is a big spike,” Montoya said. “I think this is the most we’ve ever had actually get scholarships and move on to a different level.”
The Trojans held off celebration until Farrell, Lyon, Ritter and Phil Thomas won the 4x400 relay in the final race.
Sophomore Michael Jones personified the Trojans’ collective humility when he gave up his spot in the 4x400 relay finals after running in the prelims so Ritter could run with his classmates and future Northern Colorado teammates.
“It was really a lot of fun because they’re all such good kids,” Montoya said.