GILLETTE — Taylor Kelting — resembling a golfer who had just sunk a big birdie putt late in a round — fist pumped following Alec Riegert’s victory in the 55-meter hurdle race Saturday at the state indoor track and field meet. At that moment, Sheridan’s head coach knew his Broncs, with just a few events left to complete, sat in the catbird’s seat for their first state title since 2010.
Sheridan finished the job shortly thereafter, scoring 106 points — 18 points clear of second-place Star Valley — to claim its second state championship in school history.
“They did seize the moment,” Kelting said. “We talked [Friday] night that we had to be as aggressive as we possibly could, and that we had to leave no doubt when we stepped off the track. Those kids, you could just tell that they had the hunger in their eyes, and they really wanted it more than anyone else.”
Sheridan scored points in nearly every nook and cranny of Gillette’s indoor track facility. From the pole vaulters to the tracksters to the jumpers, the Broncs received contributions from just about everyone.
A total of 15 Broncs tallied at least one point. Sheridan had at least one student-athlete on the podium in 13 of the 16 events and in five of those events, two or more Broncs finished inside the top eight.
“It was really cool to see everybody come together,” Sheridan’s Matt Roma said. “We saw our high jumpers place Friday, which was really cool, and then we saw Matt Legler go ham in pole vault. We see our distance runners in the mile, sixth- and eighth-place, and that was really nice chunk of points. … We knew we all performed our best.”
Roma represented one of the many Broncs that scored in all four of their respective events. He ran a leg of the 800-meter relay — which also featured Carter McComb, Alec Riegert and Marc Wodahl — that recorded a new state-record time of 1 minute, 31.93 seconds. Roma also anchored the 1,600-meter relay team — of Wyatt Shaw, Cody Milmine and Wodahl — that crossed first with a time of 3:33.35. Individually, Roma took fourth in the 400, clocking in at 52.11, and fifth in the 200 with a time of 23.31. Riegert finished just ahead of Roma in the 200 and 400, placing in a tie for second and third with times of 22.91 and 51.91, respectively. Riegert, as stated above, finished first in the 55-meter hurdles, recording a time of 7.90.
Milmine — who unselfishly gave up his spot in the 800-meter relay so Kelting could scatter his talent out individually — finished second in both the 55- and 400-meter races with times of 6.55 and 51.45, respectively. The Buffalo native dropped basketball this winter to pursue indoor track and he, along with the Broncs, are sure glad he did.
“It was one of the best decisions I’ve made all of high school, for sure,” Milmine said. [This season] has meant a lot. I’ve met a lot of great people, and I’ve really enjoyed it. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Wodahl — who made the twice-weekly trek to Sheridan from Buffalo with Milmine — added an eighth-place finish in the long jump. Fellow Buffalonian Nathan Wagner placed eighth in the high jump.
Sheridan’s Connor Goss tied for fourth in the high jump, clearing 5 feet, 10 inches, and that represented one of many instances where the Broncs flexed their collective muscles in clearing the bar. Matt Legler, Ryan Karajanis and Caden Moeller all claimed a spot on the podium in pole vault, as Legler took third with a mark of 13-6, while Karajanis and Moeller placed fifth and eighth, respectively.
David Standish paced Sheridan’s distance crew. He crossed sixth in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races with times of 4:38.75 and 10:12.87, respectively. Standish also ran a leg of the 3,200-meter relay team — of Alex Garber, Garett Avery and Shaw — that placed runner-up, recording a time of 8:36.74.
Shaw anchored the 1,600-meter sprint medley team — of Jaron Brewer, McComb and Garber — as well, which took third with a time of 3:46.77, and Avery rounded out the point-getters with his seventh-place finish in the 1,600 where he clocked in at 4:38.77.
“We had our top four or five guys that scored us a lot of points,” Kelting said. “But we had all those third-, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-place finishes from the rest of our team that allowed us to be on top at the end of it.”
Sheridan entered the indoor track and field season as one of the favorites to capture the title. The Broncs proved that by way of winning every regular-season meet in addition to the state competition Saturday.
Sheridan hopes the indoor success transitions to outdoor where it’ll look to chase its first-ever state crown.
“This state championship is really big for us,” Riegert said. “It really boosts the confidence of the guys team, and we’ll look to keep it rolling.”