SHERIDAN — There is no place like home.
The saying may ring true, but location hasn’t mattered this year for the Sheridan High School boys track and field team. The Broncs have won all their competitions in Wyoming this year— six indoor meets, including a state title, and 10 outdoor meets — and have another chance to do so this week on their own turf.
For the first time in several years, Sheridan is simultaneously hosting three separate East regional meets — 4A, 2A and 1A — and will welcome dozens of teams to its track Friday and Saturday.
Sheridan head coach Taylor Kelting appreciates the meet’s proximity, saying it is great to eliminate travel time. A slight downside exists for athletes due to more external responsibilities at school and home, but Kelting said it is hard to replace sleeping and eating in one’s home.
Sheridan athletes are also looking forward to competing on their home track.
“Just get out of bed and go to the meet,” distance runner Garrett Avery said.
Avery pre-qualified for state as part of the 3200-meter relay team earlier this season.
He is also competing in the 1600-meter and 3200-meter runs this week. Avery aims to make it to state in both individual events either by finishing in the top eight overall or running a pre-qualifying time.
If he does qualify in either or both events, Avery will join at least 10 other individuals competing at state next week for the Broncs. The boys team has also qualified four relay teams so far.
On the girls side, the Lady Broncs have pre-qualified seven individuals and three relay teams thus far. Rachel Petersburg is one of those individuals, as she qualified in the 100-meter hurdles earlier this year. In addition to that event, Petersburg will compete in the 300-meter hurdles, long jump and 1600-meter sprint medley relay at regionals. Petersburg said she will focus on individual improvement rather than setting a specific time or place for which to aim. To help fuel her, Petersburg always has spaghetti the night before a meet and competes in a pair of lucky blue socks.
Kelting said 17 total qualifiers between the two teams is an excellent number heading into regionals, and he aims to have between 25 and 28 athletes compete next week at state.
Athletes can compete in a maximum of four events at regionals and state. Kelting said coaches determine the events for each athlete with the goal of qualifying as many individuals as possible for state.
At regionals, the head coach aims for the experienced Broncs to continue their undefeated streak and for the younger Lady Broncs to place in the top three.
Kelting said it is nice having so many competitors already qualified, but that doesn’t mean the athletes can settle. That shouldn’t be a problem for this year’s extremely competitive cohort, particularly the senior boys.
“They know that they can’t let up, because there’s a target on their back,” Kelting said. “… They’re hungry, they want to finish this year strong. We’ve got a bunch of really great seniors that want to finish their high school career the right way.”
That senior class includes Avery, who said the boys team is a unique group that wants to keep doing what it has done all year against some newer competitors this week.
“We have a very special team this year, and I’m really liking where we’re at,” Avery said. “… We want to establish ourselves as the best team in the region and then once we get to state, we want to make history.”
With less than two weeks remaining in the season, the teams will give it their best in front of a home crowd.
The two-day meet begins Friday at 9 a.m. at Sheridan High School.