CASPER — Saturday didn’t end the way the Sheridan High School boys track and field team wanted. While many teams rejoiced a second-place finish, the Broncs were largely disappointed with the 97 points they had earned.
Sheridan had hurtled toward a state title all season, so when Saturday came to a close, just four points shy of Kelly Walsh, it stung. While the cloud of disappointment will persist for some time, when it lifts, the Broncs will realize 2019 will represent another impressive chapter in the book they’ve continued to write for the last few years.
“We’ve had a phenomenal season,” Sheridan head coach Taylor Kelting said. “The last few days were our off days.”
Sheridan’s runner-up finish marked the second year in a row the school has held that distinction. Last season, the Broncs took second with 97.5 points, however, stood quite a bit behind state-champion Laramie’s 122 points.
The 2018 season set the stage for 2019. The Broncs, while graduating a handful of notable athletes and a few state champions, knew they had the pieces coming back that could step up and carry the torch.
The team proved that during the indoor track and field season. Sheridan captured the school’s second state championship on the indoor circuit, besting second-place Star Valley by 18 points.
Fifteen different Broncs scored at least one point at that meet, as the team tallied points in 13 of the 16 events. Sheridan won every meet it competed in, and the brief two-month season had catapulted the Broncs into the outdoor season.
Sheridan blessed its brand-new blue track with dominating performances at the Dan Hanson and Gary Benson invitationals.
A few weeks later at the regional meet, the Broncs, once again, eased past the competition, topping second-place Natrona County by 48 points.
The table was set for a memorable state meet, and the Broncs were ready.
“We were just confident, prepared and ready to go.” Sheridan’s Cody Stults said. “… We were really relaxed and really calm.”
But a lot of unknowns existed. How would coaches alter their lineup from the regional meet to the state meet? How would the West Region teams affect the field? Would weather play a role like it had the past two years? Spoiler alert, it did again this year.
Many variables existed, and like Kelting indicated, the Broncs experienced an off week. Less than a second separated Sheridan’s sprint medley from winning the state title and gaining a couple more team points. The 200-meter dash — which featured a one-two-three finish for the Broncs at the regional meet — only had one blue-and-gold-donning runner in the final race.
“There are bits and pieces from every group that we left on the table,” Kelting said. “We left two or three points here and two or three points there. We didn’t make finals when some of our kids were top three in the state. It came back and got us in the end.”
But in the end Sheridan still enjoyed an applaud-worthy state meet. The Broncs claimed state crowns in three events — two from Alec Riegert in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles and one from Ryan Karajanis in pole vault. Sheridan scored points in 14 of the 18 events and placed more than one runner on the podium in five different events.
The Broncs have plenty of holes to fill from the 2019 squad for next season, but the foundation is firmly established. Participation numbers for track have remained steady in the last couple of the years with student-athletes wanting a slice of the high-level of success.