High School Runners Recognized Alongside Colorado Running Hall of Fame Inductees
DENVER - (April 20, 2012) - The Colfax Marathon Partnership has announced the 2012 recipients of the High School Distance Runner Achievement Awards that took place Thursday, April 19 at the Colorado Running Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Denver Athletic Club. This year's award recipients are Heather Bates, Karina Ernst, Cerake Geberkidane, Rikki Gonzales, Keifer Johnson and Tanner Ruhl.
Heather Bates is a junior at Discovery Canyon High School in Colorado Springs. She is a 2012 Brooks PR Invitational finalist in the mile for her time of 4:54. Heather is also the 2011 USATF National Jr. Olympic Cross Country champion in the 5K (18:14), and placed second at the 2011 AAU National Cross Country Championships, also in the 5K (18:12). She is the 2011 Colorado 4A State champion in the 3200m (10:57) and runner-up in the 1600m (5:08). Heather is involved in a number of academic and volunteer organizations, including the Student Senate, The National Honor Society and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, all while maintaining a GPA of 4.0.
Karina Ernst is a standout cross country and track star from Thompson Valley High School in Loveland. At the 2011 Colorado State Cross Country Championships, Karina ran an 18:59 in the 5000m, placing third, and a 2:14 in the 800m, placing second. Karina also won the 1600m at the 2011 Colorado State Track & Field Championships with a time of 5:02. Karina also won the 1600m (5:15) at the 2012 Nike Championship Series. Ernst has been named the 2011 "Loveland Reporter-Herald All-Area Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year" for her incredible athletic accomplishments. Now completing her senior year, Ernst is planning on attending Syracuse University in the fall.
Cerake Geberkidane is an exceptional athlete at Denver East High School. He is the 2011 DPS Cross Country league champion, with a time of 16:31 in the 5000m. Geberkidane also ran a personal record of 16:28 in the 5000m at Colorado 5A Region 1 Cross Country, placing second. At the 2011 Fort Collins Track Club Indoor Invitational, Geberkidane set two personal records: 4:52 in the 1600m, placing third; and 10:23 in the 3200m, placing second. Currently a sophomore, Geberkidane has already begun to make his mark on the Colorado running community.
Rikki Gonzales is a prominent cross country and track athlete at Rangeview High School in Aurora. At the 2012 Aurora City Championships, Gonzales placed first in both the 800m (2:19) and the 1600m (5:14). She has been recognized as the Honey Milk Athlete of the Week and participates in the Runner's Roost All-Colorado Team, while maintaining a GPA of 4.124. Gonzales' father is the head football coach and boys' track coach at Rangeview and she will follow in his footsteps as she plans to attend the University of Northern Colorado in the fall on a cross country and track and field scholarship.
Keifer Johnson is an exceptional senior at ThunderRidge High School in Highlands Ranch. He is the 2011 Continental League champion in the 3200m (9:30), and the 2011 Continental League Cross Country champion in the 5000m (16:23). Johnson also placed second in the 3200m (9:18) at the 2011 Colorado State Track & Field Championship. Johnson has volunteered at the Denver Marathon and as a coach for Abiding Church Summer Soccer Camp as well as served as a mentor to incoming freshmen athletes in the distance program at ThunderRidge. With offers from the University of Colorado, Western State College, and Metro State College, Johnson's college plans are undecided as of yet.
Tanner Ruhl is a notable competitor from Smoky Hill High School in Aurora. Ruhl ran a personal record of 1:54 in the 800m at the 2011 Colorado State Track and Field Championships, placing fourth and also set a new season best time of 49.89 in the 400m at the 2012 Aurora City Championships, placing third. Ruhl also competed at the 2011 Centennial League Meet, placing first in the 400m prelims with a time of 49.88, and second in the 800m at 1:59. At the 2011 Centennial League Cross Country Meet, Ruhl ran a personal record of 49.42 in the 400m, placing 10th. Ruhl is planning on attending the U.S. Air Force Academy in the fall.
The Colfax Marathon Partnership, Inc. Board of Directors established the High School Athlete Recognition Program in 2010 to recognize high school distance runners for not only athletic achievement but also community leadership and character.
"All of the 2012 athletes are not only tremendous runners but also leaders in the community and the classroom," said John Gregorio, chair of the awards committee. "The athletes must place in either the state cross country or track and field meet in addition to maintaining a GPA of 3.00 or higher and participating in community service."
The 3rd annual awards ceremony and reception was held on Thursday, April 19 at the Denver Athletic Club. The event is held in conjunction with the Colorado Running Hall of Fame Ceremony, whose inductees included Danelle Ballengee, Garry Bjorklund, Ken Chlouber, Libby James, Jerry Quiller and Pablo Vigil.
The event featured the Colorado Symphony as well as keynote speeches from Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan, Lakewood Mayor Bob Murphy and Kaiser Permanente.
To learn more about the High School Athlete Recognition Program and the Colorado Running Hall of Fame, visit: www.runcolfax.org