by nathan oster
It was a tough day for the team, but several individuals turned in personal bests for Greybull High School at Saturday’s Lovell Invitational.
“My philosophy has always been that while it’s nice to get ribbons and medals and earn lots of points as a team, the real goal is for each athlete to keep improving — and our kids are doing that,” said Coach Jeff Sukut.
The Buffs were on top of their games because they had to be. In addition to the host Bulldogs who are likely the cream of the crop this year in 2A, the meet also attracted two powerful 3A teams in Riverton and Powell as well as 2A contender Thermopolis and traditional 1A powerhouse Burlington.
Given the level of competition, team points were few and far between for the Buffs.
The girls finished ninth out of 11 teams, scoring 10.5 points on the strength of a second-place finish by Lindsay Kern in the shot put and on a pair of places by McKenna Powers, who took fifth in the 400 and sixth in the 200.
The boys mustered just five points and placed 11th, with all five of its points coming from the revamped 1,600-meter relay team of Dylan Brenner, Jesus Burgos, Calder Forcella and Chris Ogg, which took fourth.
That foursome ran a 3:54.28, which was more than a second faster than its best time of the season prior to the meet, a 3:55.84.
Kern continues to raise the bar in the shot put. She AQ’d in her first meet, and has beaten that AQ performance twice now. She added 1 ½ inches to her personal best, finishing with a heave of 33-9 ½, which trailed only a thrower from 3A Powell. Kern was the top 2A finisher in the field.
Powers rounded out the scoring, but in both of the events in which she placed, her time was a tick below her personal best. She did turn in a personal best in the triple jump, soaring 31-0 ¼ to top her previous record of 29-9 ¼; she finished just out of placing in seventh.
Both girls were in the hunt for berths in the upcoming Wyoming Track Classic before being edged out at the finish line by other athletes. There are only eight spots available in each event — and they go to the athletes, regardless of their classifications, with the best times and distances.
While those athletes are the ones who did the scoring for the Buffs, Sukut said he was every bit as excited for several non-placers who set personal bests in Lovell, including the following athletes:
• Megan Euerle, a junior, who shaved nearly a second off her previous best in the 100 meters, finishing in 15.51.
• Brenner, who ran his best time in the 100, an 11.81, and the 200, a 25.06.
• Calder Forcella, who turned in two personal bests — a 12.08 sprint in the 100 meters and 119-foot, 9-inch heave of the discus that netted him a sixth place.
• Logan Jensen, who threw 31-9 ¾ in the shot put and 108-9 in the discus, both personal bests.
• Oscar Gomez, who threw a personal-best 108-4 in the discus.
Sukut said he was pleased with his team’s performance, especially considering he went in with a roster of just 15 kids. Several kids were out of town, while another was ill, he said.
The Buffs return to action Friday when they travel to Thermopolis for the annual Bobcat Invitational. The meet starts at 1 p.m. and will be the first of two straight in Thermop, followed May 4 by a pre-regional qualifier.
While some athletes will have a shot at AQ’ing on their times and distances, Sukut said the goal is simply to “be ready to hopefully make a little bit of noise” at the Class 2A West Regional, which will be held May 11-12 in Riverton.
GIRLS — Lovell 129.5, Powell 102.5, Thermopolis 64.5, Riverton 56, Shoshoni 40, Burlington 26, Riverside 17, Western Heritage Lutheran 11, Greybull 10.5, Rocky Mt. 7, Wind River 7.
200 METERS — 6, McKenna Powers, 29.96.
400 METERS — 5, Powers, 1:05.34.
SHOT PUT — 2, Lindsay Kern, 33-9 ½.
BOYS — Powell 187.33, Lovell 109.33, Thermopolis 61, Burlington 50, Shoshoni 41, Rocky Mt. 24.3, Riverton 14, Meeteetse 8, Wind River 8, Riverside 6, Greybull 5.
1,600 RELAY — 4, Greybull (Dylan Brenner, Jesus Burgos, Calder Forcella, Chris Ogg), 3:43.28.
DISCUS — 6, Forcella, 119-09.