SHERIDAN — Amid exhaustion, adrenaline and fatigue, Sheridan High School’s Katie Turpin knew. Turpin understood where within the field at the 4A state meet she stood each step of the race.
At first, Turpin nearly overwhelmed herself with how many places she needed to pick off in order to vault into the top 10. During the meat of the race, Turpin had no room for error if she wanted to hold onto an All-State spot — a recognition going to individuals who finish in the top 10. At the end of the competition, Turpin gave herself some cushion, picking off a couple more runners for good measure en route to putting an exclamation point on her freshman campaign.
“Oh my gosh, I couldn’t believe it,” Turpin said. “If you told me I was going to get All-State at the beginning of the year, I would have looked at you like you were crazy.”
Turpin finished the race in 19 minutes, 14 seconds. She paced a Lady Broncs team that placed fifth as a team, one spot better than last year, with 113 points.
Turpin got the most she could out of her first year with the Lady Broncs and head coach Art Baures believes great things lie ahead for the youngster.
“She’s one of those kids that has a clock in their head that’s always going off,” Baures said. “She just loves to compete. She’s one of those girls that doesn’t ever really worry too much because she’s so focused on what she’s got to do. … And that’s rare.
“She has a chance now to be the third girl that we’ve had in our program that’s a four-time All-State athlete.”
Baures walked away from Saturday’s meet quite pleased with how his girls competed. Just a month ago, the Lady Broncs placed fifth at the Michelle Ludwig Invite — held at the Sheridan Veterans Affair Medical Center — in a field that wasn’t nearly as accomplished as the one on Saturday.
“You go back four weeks ago, and we didn’t have a team,” Baures said. “We had kids that were hurt. We had some kids that hadn’t run a race yet. So for us to come together like this at the end of the year is really special.”
Kate Moran placed second for Sheridan and took 18th overall with a time of 20:17. Sylvia Brown placed 21st, clocking in at 20:29, while Piper O’Dell and Sarah Gonda crossed 34th and 37th, respectively, with times of 20:52 and 21:06.
Cheyenne Central’s Claudia Miller won the race, boasting a time of 18:35. Natrona County won the team title, tallying 70 points, as its top five runners all placed in the top 30.
All five of the aforementioned Lady Broncs will return next season, making the future quite bright. And with All-State Turpin at the helm, the Lady Broncs should, just as they did this season, take another step forward in 2019.