SHERIDAN — When Kyler Ostler first began competing in indoor track as a freshman, the season was filled with nerves. Ostler was trying to learn the fundamentals, three steps between hurdles instead of seven, and wanted to reach the same level of speed as the upperclassmen such as Liam Greenelsh and Tanner Warder.
Ostler kept improving each year. Three-stepping between hurdles is now natural and Ostler is doing more than competing at a high level; he is winning against larger schools.
In the first indoor meet of his senior season, Ostler won the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 7.97 seconds and won the 400-meter sprint with a time of 52.51 seconds.
“It is really rewarding not just athletically but it shows you that if you put your nose to the grindstone you can do anything in life,” Ostler said. “You can go from the little freshman who is scared to the senior everyone wants to be.”
Big Horn had other athletes scoring points for the team, too. Carley Motsick tied for third in the high jump with a height of 4-9. Will Pelissier placed sixth in the long jump with a distance of 20-10.25. The 4×200-meter relay team of Ostler, Pelissier, Jax Zimmer and Will Huckeba placed second with a time of 1:34.21.
Ostler said he was hoping to go 3-3 in his events.
Ostler is an example of the culture Big Horn High School is building around their indoor track program. Andrew Marcure said he started coaching the sport once it was added at Big Horn in 2015.
Students no longer traveled to Sheridan High School for practice.
Marcure said the first year was the honeymoon stage for the school. It was all about having fun. As the years progressed, the Rams and Lady Rams improved in their fundamentals, allowing them to move up in placings against larger schools with indoor facilities.
The athletes did a good job buying into the program, Marcure said. Competing against teams at the 4A level with indoor facilities no longer phases the Big Horn athletes; they relish the opportunity to go toe to toe with the bigger schools.
Ostler said developing the basic mechanics and having a good mindset are all that is needed to compete in track. Ostler saw improvement in his placings through his sophomore and junior years because he improved his mechanics. He became more confident and was no longer inside his head. Meets feel natural to him and the nerves he felt as a freshman disappeared.
Marcure said Kirk McLaughlin, who is the head coach of the outdoor team, does a great job of using the same verbiage and mechanics work in everything the athletes do.
He will use the same verbiage with the sprinters as he does with the field athletes. McLaughlin teaches physical education and weight lifting class at the high school and uses the same verbiage in those training opportunities as well.
The coaches will study film on each runner to identify where small adjustments need to be made. The little things become the big things, Marcure said. The times athletes earn are from hours of hard work and focusing on the small mechanics of running.
Ostler said the coaches at Big Horn are amazing and will help you reach your desired level of competition.
Big Horn competes in the Gillette Invite Jan. 25 at the Campbell County Recreation Center.