BIG HORN — Liam Greenelsh’s physical presence his freshman year didn’t impress or intimidate any one.
“He was 5-foot nothing, 100 and nothing,” Big Horn track and field head coach Kirk McLaughlin said.
But what Greenelsh lacked in physical stature, he made up for in athleticism, toughness and enthusiasm. He has carried all three of those traits throughout his bountiful high school athletic career.
Greenelsh was born in Nebraska and made a quick two-year pit stop in Cody before moving to Big Horn as a 9-year-old. Upon beginning middle school, Greenelsh elected to take up track simply because his older sister had enjoyed the sport.
It didn’t take Greenelsh long to grow fond of the sport. As a freshman, weighing in at under 100 pounds and failing to stretch above 5-foot-3, Greenelsh announced himself to the state.
He placed seventh in the 110-meter hurdles as the lone freshman competing in finals.
Not one year later and Greenelsh had become more than just a nice freshman story. He had transformed into a contender.
“I had some pretty mediocre marks in the 110s and triple jump,” Greenelsh said. “And then at regionals sophomore year, I just kind of pulled out a pretty big time in the 110s, dropping under 16 seconds for the time, and then also went over 41 feet in triple jump for the first time.”
Greenelsh parlayed his regional performance into a strong showing at state where he took second in the 110-meter hurdles. This set the stage for a junior year that wold prove more than memorable for Greenelsh.
He entered the state meet seeded third in both the long and triple jumps but exceeded expectations. He captured a state title in long jump, leaping 21 feet, 3 inches and another championship in triple jump with a mark of 43-00.25.
“I was seeded third, so I was expecting to place around there,” Greenelsh said. “I just hit that mark in one of my prelim jumps. I definitely surprised myself in those events.”
Greenelsh had high hopes for his performance on the track, as well, but placed third in the 110-meter hurdles, just two one-hundredths of a second behind the first-place finisher.
Once again Greenelsh used a strong state performance to catapult him into his final year of high school. However, luck wasn’t on Greenelsh’s side as a senior.
He suffered an inward sprained ankle at the Simplot Games during indoor track and field season, and that hampered him for the remainder of that season. When it was time for outdoor track and field, Greenelsh had just about returned to full health when he sprained his ankle yet again.
“There was worry then, for sure,” Greenelsh said.
Greenelsh didn’t compete in his full assortment of events during the second half of the season until the state meet. Even without a full training regimen for much of the year, and still fighting a sore ankle, Greenelsh left one final impression for the Rams’ track and field squad.
He defended his state championship in long jump (22-02.25) and triple jump (43-08), while also placing runner-up in both the 110-meter hurdles (15.60) and as a member of the 400-meter relay team.
Greenelsh doesn’t look like he did as a freshman. He has grown quite a bit, filled out his frame and realized the potential he showed as a scrawny youngster.
One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is Greenelsh’s love for the sport. While the points and leadership will remain hard to replace, it’s that excitement for competition that will prove most difficult to duplicate.
“He always brought the juice,” McLaughlin said. “He always brought the enthusiasm. We always appreciated it, and that’s one of the main things we’ll miss.”
Greenelsh will attend Sheridan College in the fall with his sights set on finishing his bachelor’s degree at the University of Wyoming. He did a number on the track, that paired with his football success — which featured two state titles — and Greenelsh will leave as one of the more decorated Rams in recent memory.