SHERIDAN — Just a simple piece of notebook paper, worn and curled at the sides, hangs above Tymer Goss’ bed. A tack and a couple stripes of tape hold up the sheet with just a few words and numbers etched between the lines — it’s all that’s warranted.
A couple years ago, Goss sat alone and quiet with numerous thoughts cluttering his mind on a bus ride home from Billings. He didn’t speak to anyone; he didn’t want to. Goss thought about a race, a time and a feeling he never wanted to experience again.
The words, “never again,” alongside a time that most runners would want to forget, Goss remembers vividly. He won’t let himself forget.
Goss entered Sheridan High School with a self-proclaimed cockiness. The standout track runner set the 800-meter record at his junior high and oozed confidence ahead of his first season with the Broncs.
“I thought highly of myself, a little more than I should have,” Goss said.
Goss soon realized high school running entailed more than just talent. It took technique and wit, as well. Goss dedicated himself more to improving his craft. He saw the fruits of his labor during his sophomore campaign, running 2 minutes, 3 seconds in the 800. Goss made a name for himself not just within the Broncs, but in the entire state.
Goss cruised right along until receiving a humbling blow in Billings midway through his breakthrough season. A runner that had a realistic shot at breaking the two-minute threshold clocked in at 2:17.
“That was a defining moment in my track career in high school,” Goss said. “I just felt terrible the entire race. Once you cross the finish line — running that slow of a time when you’re excepted to run faster — you let yourself down, but more than anything you let your team down. And your coaches that have been training you all season, you let them down.
“It was very emotional for me. It flipped a switch in me.”
The uncharacteristically slow time forced head coach Taylor Kelting to take a step back and re-evaluate. Kelting had six 800-meter runners all battling for four coveted spots on a 3,200-meter relay teab that would compete for the top spot on the podium at the state meet.
“He dropped that 2:17 and we just thought, we can’t have that in the relay,” Kelting said. “That really drove Tymer externally to get better and better and better.”
Goss knew he had to change something to make himself more consistent, and it started off the track. He went home and wrote a note that he still sees and eternalizes every day.
Goss also adjusted his eating habits. He simply wasn’t giving his body enough fuel to succeed at a high level, so Goss began to eat more throughout the day. He carried around granola bars and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches during school and snacked periodically while also staying hydrated.
However, Goss still struggled to find the desired consistency — the consistency that would give Kelting the confidence to put the young sophomore on a relay team that would gather a bundle of points for the Broncs.
Goss entered the regional meet with something to prove and a disconcerting mark associated with him.
“Kelting literally had a question mark right next to my name for the 4×8 relay,” Goss said. “When I looked at that I didn’t necessarily get scared or anything. I used it as motivation.”
Goss’s 800-meter race at the regional meet stood as an audition. If he could shake off the poor races and slow finishes and ran a better time, Kelting would consider penciling Goss back into the relay.
Goss exorcised the demons and crossed sixth with a time of 2:02, and that earned him the leadoff spot on the 3,200-meter relay the very next day. Goss’ exuberance filtered into each one of his teammates in a relay — which got started with Goss’s opening leg of 2:01 — that won going away.
The four runners built on the regional performance and seized the state title the very next weekend in Casper.
“Having the good first leg really sets up the rest of the race,” Goss said. “I’m not saying I’m the reason we won state, but if I wasn’t there then I don’t think (the rest of the relay) would have had as much confidence in themselves, as well.”
Goss had established himself and hit his stride in the 800, but he wanted more. Goss eyed a four-event state meet as a junior, and to do so he needed to improve as a 400-meter runner. Fortunately for Goss, assistant coach Aaron Cleare joined the Broncs and worked with Goss to mold him into more of a sprinter.
Cleare helped Goss find a different muscle delivery system for more speed. Cleare also made Goss more flexible for a full range of motion when running.
Goss didn’t expect to qualify for state in the 400 during his junior year but a fast preliminary time at the regional meet coupled with another good finals time punched his ticket to Casper.
“I noticed in Tymer’s warmup that day that his speed had started to materialize,” Cleare said. “He was quick and relaxed. He wasn’t jerky side to side when he was running. Watching him warmup we knew he was there.”
Goss continued to surprise himself and a few more around the state with a fourth-place finish in the 400, boasting a time of 50.71 at the state meet.
“That was a crazy experience because I wasn’t even a 400 runner,” Goss said. “No one was looking at me and I ended up getting the fourth-fastest time.”
Cleare and Goss have blended seamlessly. Goss came into track as a strong cross-country runner, and Cleare has found a way to make Goss into an effective sprinter. Goss has transformed from an athlete that didn’t really focus on the 400 to one that pre-qualified for the 400 first and foremost this season as a senior.
Goss has set some lofty goals for his final state meet as high schooler. The senior, who recently verbally committed to Dickinson State, wants to run 1:54 in the 800 and 48 seconds in the 400.
Goss’ long-term goals feature national championship aspirations and one day becoming a track coach. He has come a long way from the runner that sat quietly on a trip back from Billings a couple years ago. His 2:17 that day is a thing of the past, at least on the track, but it still holds a spot firmly in his memory bank.
“It’s a reminder of where I’ve been and where I’ve come and where I can go in the future,” Goss said.