SHERIDAN — While one currently can’t see it, a brand-new track rests under a thick coat of snow on the campus of Sheridan High School. The new running surface is state-of-the-art, soft and an eye-capturing Bronc blue.
And that’s just the way Sheridan wants it.
“The color changes my attitude when I run,” Sheridan’s Tamaelle Lawson said. “It makes me happy to run, and I just feel open-minded.”
The track was originally slated to cost $878,860, but after some minor adjustments in the latter half of the project, the final cost was slightly higher than that. The investment is further proof that many different parties around town have recognized the potential and current success within the Broncs’ track and field program.
“It means that we have a lot of community support, and that we have a lot of booster club support,” Sheridan head coach Taylor Kelting said. “We have a lot of people that are willing to chip in and help us out with [a new track]. They just want to see us improve, and they want these kids to be successful.
“It shows we are not just a program. We are a community.”
The community welcomed back the boys indoor track and field team in style a couple weeks ago.
After capturing the Broncs’ second state championship in school history — first since 2010 — the Sheridan Fire-Rescue Department escorted the team back to school upon arrival from Gillette.
Sheridan boys track will look for a similar treatment this May when most of the indoor tracksters, who didn’t lose a single meet this season, return to the outdoor circuit. The Broncs aren’t losing their head, though.
“Our mentality is so good. I don’t see any of us getting over confident,” Garett Avery said. “I just think we have such a fire that drives everyone. We are all just so excited. … We just want to go do some work, and that’s what we are going to do.”
Sheridan loses a couple Buffalo athletes that competed in indoor for the Broncs that’ll suit up of the Bisons’ outdoor team.
However, Sheridan’s track and field team will receive an influx of basketball players and other athletes that didn’t compete in a winter sport that want a taste of, potentially, a state title banner.
Kelting has around 120 student-athletes at his disposal this spring. That number represents the most Kelting has had in his four years, and he believes that’s a direct correlation to the high level of success his teams have had recently.
“It’s just that excitement,” Kelting said. “Kids are like, ‘Holy cow, this program is pretty good. Let’s go be part of it and see what happens.’”
The boys team finished second last season, its best finish in school history. The girls team also resided near the top of the podium, placing third at last year’s state outdoor meet.
The Lady Broncs will have to replace a good portion of their heavy contributors who led them not only on the track but off it, as well.
Sheridan opens its season Saturday at the Glen Legler Invitational where it’ll have a good look at how its region stacks up. With the realignment — positioning the Mustangs and Fillies in the East Region — Kelting expects many challengers for his boys and girls teams.
Sheridan will show off its new track to its opposition for the first time at the Dan Hansen Invitational April 13. The Broncs will also host the Gary Benson and the Region Meet, as most teams from around the state will experience the brand-new, and oh-so-blue, track.
3/16: Glen Legler Invite (Casper)
3/23: Cody Invite
3/30: Buffalo Invite
4/5: Queen City Invite (Spearfish, South Dakota)
4/13: Dan Hansen Invite
4/16: Gary Benson Invite
4/23: Camel Invite (Gillette)
4/27: Black Hills Classic (Sturgis, South Dakota)
5/3: Camel Qualifier (Gillette)
5/10-5/11: Region Meet (Sheridan)
5/16-5/18: State Meet (Casper)