Sheridan County teams are sending track and field athletes to the state meet in Casper Thursday.
Rams in search of first state title in 14 years
BIG HORN — Last season, the Big Horn High School boys track and field team rallied to take second at the state meet. The Rams vaulted ahead of Pine Bluffs in the meet’s final race to steal silver.
This year, Big Horn would like to avoid late theatrics. The Rams have their sights set on not needing to leapfrog anyone during the 1,600-meter relay.
Big Horn wants a victory, as comfortable as the one it earned in Sheridan this past weekend.
“Now that we’ve won (regionals), it definitely gives us confidence,” Big Horn’s Kyler Ostler said.
“I know a lot of people placed in places they didn’t expect to (at regionals). We had a ton of PRs. It was a good weekend and it filled us with confidence.”
Big Horn won the East Regional meet going away. The Rams bested second-place Glenrock by 60 points, and that was without Will Pelissier or Liam Greenelsh being able to compete at full capacity due to injury.
“It’s nice to be able to come out and compete the way we did in all aspects and come out on top,” Big Horn head coach Kirk McLaughlin said. “I think it gives us a little more bounce going into (state).”
The Big Horn boys team — which has four state championships to its name — hasn’t won a title since 2005. Glenrock and Wright provided the most resistance, albeit not much, to the Rams over the weekend and Rocky Mountain and Kemmerer will hope to challenge in Casper, as well.
Both the Grizzlies and Rangers placed one-two at the West Regional meet in Shoshoni. Rocky Mountain won five events out west, while Big Horn claimed first in seven of the events out east.
McLaughlin doesn’t want his team thinking too much about seizing the school’s first state crown in 14 years. He simply wants each of his runners to do their job, compete and avoid mistakes.
“We just got to go and do what we do,” McLaughlin said. “We’d love for every kid to have a PR, but I know that’s not always the case. So we just got to go and do what we are capable of and not have any crashes and make a bunch of mistakes. We have to stay focused on the little things that we can control.”
The Lady Rams have enjoyed more success than the boys team over the last half decade. Big Horn’s girls team claimed state titles in 2015, ‘16 and ‘17, but their expectations at this year’s state meet are a little different. The Lady Rams, much like the boys, would love to log a bunch of personal bests, but a smaller number of state qualifiers will make contending for a championship difficult.
Eagles set for the challenge at state
DAYTON — The Tongue River boys and girls track and field teams embarked into some uncharted waters at the West Regional meet this past weekend. The Eagles and Lady Eagles had, for years, contended on the other side of the mountain with the East Region and were familiar with the standout athletes and perennially strong teams.
This year, Tongue River had quite a few unknowns.
“We didn’t have a great idea of what to expect and there are some really solid athletes in the West,” Tongue River head coach Steve Hanson said. “It was good to see our kids compete with them.”
The Lady Eagles placed fourth as a team while the Eagles took fifth. Nineteen student-athletes from Tongue River will make the trek down to Casper Thursday for the state meet.
The stakes are naturally higher at the state’s culminating event, but Hanson simply wants his team to block out the noise, focus internally and let the results speak for themselves.
“A lot of it comes back to an old adage I’ve followed for a long time, ‘In situations of pressure, you don’t rise to the occasion, you fall to the level of your training,’” Hanson said. “… That’s kind of our focus. Even on the biggest stage, we are going to fall to the level of our training, and we are going to hit our times, hit our marks, hit our splits, and that’s all we can do.”
AC sending three to state
CLEARMONT — The Arvada-Clearmont High School track and field team will send a trio of student-athletes to the state meet in Casper. McKenna Auzqui and Krista Malli will compete for the Lady Panthers, and Torrey Veach will participate for the Panthers. Auzqui will throw in shot put and discus, while Malli will run in the 100-meter dash and the 300-meter hurdles. Veach will take part in the long and triple jumps.