by nathan oster
With schools closed this week for spring break, the Greybull Buffs are getting a well-earned respite from the rigors of the spring track season.
The team has four meets under its belt — and of those four, three fell within a seven-day span starting with the March 30 Rebel Twilight and continuing with the D&D Invitational April 3 in Worland and the Wind River Invitational Thursday in Pavillion.
The Buffs didn’t place near the top of the standings at either of their two most recent meets.
But a couple team members stood out in individual events.
Through four meets, Lindsay Kern and McKenna Powers are the only Buffs who have qualified for the state meet — and each of them went into the break feeling good about themselves.
Kern is rounding into form in the shot put. A second-place finisher last year in 2A, the senior qualified for a return to Casper in her first meet of the season with a 32 foot, 9 inch heave. Well in Pavillion, she went even further, throwing it 33 feet, 8 inches to take first place in the event.
“She’s getting pretty close to her state mark from last year (of 34-4 ¼),” said GHS Coach Jeff Sukut.
The other highlight of the week was turned in by Powers. A sophomore, she had previously AQ’d in the 400. She added an event to her Casper itinerary with a 15-foot, 4-inch effort which was good for second in the jump at Pavillion.
Powers also finished sixth in two events she rarely runs — the 200 meters and the 1,600 meters.
“She had a really good day,” Sukut said. “She is that type of athlete who doesn’t come along all that often. We could have her do quite a few different things and she would be successful in any of them.”
The fact that both qualifying performances came in Pavillion was not surprising.
The Buffs didn’t have a good day at the D&D Invitational, finishing seventh in girls, eighth in boys.
“We were just a little off in both our jumps and our throws,” Sukut said. “Competition was pretty fierce though.”
The meet did draw a number of big schools, including Cody, Powell, and Rock Springs, who finished one, two and three in both divisions.
Top finishers for GHS included Powers, who was third in the 800 meters and fourth in the long jump, and the boys 400-meter relay team which captured fourth place.
The Buffs did better as a team at the Wind River Invite, finishing seventh in the girls and 11th in the boys.
Looking over the two meets, Sukut said several kids rose to the challenge:
• Wyatt Good ran his best time of the season, an 18.31, in the prelims of the 110-meter hurdles.
• Jesus Burgos set a personal record in the triple jump, going 35 feet, 5 ½ inches.
• Julie Mendez, in Worland, ran her best time in the 1,600 meters, cutting several seconds. “A good improvement for her,” said Sukut.
• Chris Ogg, also in Worland, produced his best long jump, going 16-6 ¾.
• The team’s throwers also continue to make strikes, according to Sukut. Freshman Calder Forcella set a PR in Worland with a 112-1 throw. Logan Jensen (108-3) and Oscar Gomez (106-2) also set PRs in the event at meets last week. “We’ve got some good young discus throwers,” Sukut said.
• The 1,600-meter (or 4×400) relay team also cut time last week, as the foursome of Julian Wiley, Burgos, Forcella and Ogg clocked a 3.55.84 in Worland. Their previous best was a 4:03, according to Sukut.
“The younger kids I have, the freshmen, they’re working hard to improve their times and distances,” said Sukut. “The same can be said for the whole team, really.”
The Buffs won’t be attending any meets this week, but will “get after it pretty hard” when they return after the spring break. The team is already at the midway point of the season, with only meets in Lovell on April 21 and Thermopolis on April 27 and May 4 remaining until the Class 2A West Regional which is May 11-12.
BOYS TEAM SCORES — Powell 147.5, Cody 116.5, Rock Springs 114.5, Riverton 60, Thermopolis 24, Worland 19.5, Riverside 16, Greybull 13.
400 RELAY — 4, Greybull, 48.68.
400 METERS — 8, Julian Wiley, 57.62.
1,600 RELAY — 3, Greybull, 3:55.84.
TRIPLE JUMP — 8, Jesus Burgos, 33-7.
GIRLS TEAM SCORES — Cody 165.5, Powell 90, Rock Springs 74, Worland 56, Riverton 46.5, Thermopolis 38, Greybull 15, Riverside 8.
400 METERS — 7, McKenna Powers, 1:07.46.
800 METERS — 3, Powers, 2:40.98.
LONG JUMP — 4, Powers, 14-2 ½.
SHOT PUT — 8, Kern, 31-1 ½.
TRIPLE JUMP — 8, Powers, 30-1.
WIND RIVER INVITATIONAL
BOYS TEAM SCORES — Lovell 134.5, Saratoga 79, Big Piney 74, Pinedale 73.5, Wyoming Indian 58, Wind River 44, Burlington 44, Shoshoni 36, Thermopolis 23.5, Riverside 20, Dubois 15, Greybull 12.5.
400 METERS — 7, Julian Wiley 57.18.
DISCUS — 8, Calder Forcella, 112-1.
400 RELAY — 7, Greybull, 49.04.
1,600 RELAY — 4, Greybull, 3:59.52.
110 HURDLES — 7, tie, Wyatt Good, 18.96.
GIRLS TEAM SCORES — Lovell 135, Thermopolis 106, Wind River 63, Big Piney 60, Pinedale 60, Saratoga 59, Greybull 24, Riverside 23, Shoshoni 22, Wyoming Indian 21, Burlington 16.
1,600 METERS — 6, McKenna Powers, 6:30.34.
LONG JUMP — 2, Powers, 15-4 ¼.
SHOT PUT — 1, Lindsay Kern, 33-8.
200 METERS — 6, Powers, 29.86.