by nathan oster
Greybull High School will be sending three of its athletes, senior Lindsay Kern, sophomore McKenna Powers and freshman Oscar Gomez, to this week’s State 2A Track and Field Championships in Casper.
Those three were the team’s only placers and point-scorers at Class 2A West Regional held Friday and Saturday in Riverton. Of course, Kern and Powers had AQ’d earlier in the season. But for Gomez, it was a matter of knowing what needed to be done … and then going out and doing it.
Gomez needed a top-eight finish to qualify and he responded by throwing a personal-best 40 feet, 5 inches, which was a good half-foot better than any previous throw in competition during the regular season. That was good enough for seventh place.
“Oscar’s a big, strong kid, and that’s what it takes in that event,” said Coach Jeff Sukut. “Oscar is one of the few kids who uses the rotary method when he throws the shot, and (assistant coach Nolan Tracy) has done a good job working with him on that.”
The winning throw at regionals went 51 feet, 4 inches and belonged to A.J. Montanez of Lovell. Riverside’s Brynnt Wood was second, just 4 inches off that throw.
Kern, the first Lady Buff to qualify automatically, had a slight drop-off after her 34 foot, 11 3/4-inch effort in the shot at the pre-regional in Thermop. At regionals, she measured 32-9 1/2 inches, good for second place behind a Wind River thrower, Tristan Yellowplume, who went 34-1.
“Lindsay was a little disappointed, but what do you say? Sometimes there’s no explanation for when you have a bad day,” said Sukut. “I told her, ‘Hey, you were the regional champ last year … the regional runner-up this year … what you have to have to look forward is making a little noise at state.’ She should have a good chance of doing just that.”
Kern will also compete in the discus in Casper after placing seventh with a throw of 85-2 in Casper. While not a personal best it was nonetheless “one of her better throws,” according to Sukut.
Powers will be the team’s busiest athlete in Casper, having qualified in four events: the triple jump, long jump, 400 meters and 800 meters. She placed in all four in Riverton.
“She has what I like to call ‘athletic stubbornness’ and by that, I mean she doesn’t like to lose very well, and that’s OK,” Sukut said. “She’s a real competitor, and as a coach, you like to see that.”
Powers produced personal bests in two event, going 32 feet, 2 1/2 inches to capture sixth place in the triple jump and running a 2:35.97 to earn a fourth in the 800 meters. Her previous best in that race was a 2:39.99.
“She ran a really good race,” said Sukut. Two of the three girls who beat her are seniors.
Powers also added a seventh in the 400 meters (1:04.84) and a fifth in the long jump (14-9 1/2).
While no other Buffs placed, several ended the season on high notes.
Freshman Mackenzie Bollig ran the best 200 meters of her prep career, finishing ninth — and just one spot out of placing and going to state — with a 29.94. Her previous best was a 32.68. And the eighth-place finisher, who will be going to state this week, was just .27 of a second faster.
Sukut called it a great effort. “I wish I would have had a couple more who had a little more speed so we could have been able to put together (with Mackenzie and McKenna) on a couple of relay teams.”
Chris Ogg also had a near-miss in the 300-meter hurdles. A freshman, he was ninth after the prelims … and just eight went on to finals. His time, though, was a 44.79, a full second and a half better than his previous best. “That time would have placed him last year,” Sukut said, noting that the eighth-place runner in 2011 ran a 48. “This year, a 44.79 didn’t even get you a place.”
“Chris is going to be a good hurdler, though,” Sukut said. “He has the speed and stamina for it.”
Julian Wiley, a senior, didn’t qualify for state, but he didn’t go out on a sour note, either. He ran one of his best times of the season in the very competitive 400 meters, finishing 10th, two spots out of placing, with a 56.62. That was just .02 off his personal best.
While several of the remaining Buffs didn’t get the performances they wanted, Suskut said as a group, “These were great kids. They worked pretty hard at practice. They’re super to be around and to coach. I wish they’d have made it, but they just have to keep working, and hopefully with another year of experience, and getting bigger and stronger, they’ll be better next year.”
As a team, Greybull ranked eighth in the girls with 24 points and 10th in the boys with two points. Lovell crushed the field in both divisions en route to the regional title.
The Buffs will leave this morning for Casper and the state track meet.
Kern will be first up, competing in the discus which is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.
Friday all of the team members will be in action. Kern and Gomez will compete in the shot put, while Powers will compete in the long jump, triple jump, finals of the 800 and prelims of the 400.
Class 2A West Regional
BOYS TEAM SCORES: Lovell 192, Big Piney 100, Thermopolis 76, Kemmerer 70, Wyoming Indian 66, Shoshoni 61, Rocky Mt. 30, Wind River 25, Riverside 21, Greybull 2.
100 METERS – 13, Chris Ogg, 12.29. 15, Calder Forcella, 12.45. 22, Jesus Burgos, 13.11.
200 METERS – 21, Jacob Gifford, 27-9.
400 METERS – 10, Julian Wiley, 56.62. 17, Burgos, 57.82. 28, Gifford, 1:03.80.
800 METERS – 25, Wyatt Nielson, 2:45.84.
110 HURDLES – 11, Wyatt Good, 19.58. 14, Nielson, 22.5.
300 HURDLES – 9, Ogg, 44.79. 16, Good, 48.67. 18, Neilson, 59.38.
LONG JUMP – 11, Wiley, 18-0 1/2. 14, Ogg, 16-8 1/2.
TRIPLE JUMP – 16, Burgos, 32-11 3/4. 17, Gifford, 29-10 3/4.
SHOT PUT – 7, Oscar Gomez, 40-5. 17, Logan Jensen, 32-9. 18, Brady Shoemaker, 32-1.
DISCUS – 12, Gomez, 111-9. 13, Forcella, 110-5 1/2. 16, Jensen, 107-1. 21, Shoemaker, 89-8 1/2.
GIRLS TEAM SCORES: Lovell 192.5, Thermopolis 102.5, Wind River 91.5, Big Piney 61.5, Shoshoni 60, Wyoming Indian 41, Kemmerer 35, Greybull 24, Riverside 15, Rocky Mt. 11.
100 METERS – 12, Mackenzie Bollig, 14.69. 16, Megan Euerle, 15.44.
200 METERS – 9, Bollig, 29.94.
400 METERS – 7, McKenna Powers, 1:04.84.
800 METERS – 4, Powers, 2:35.97.
LONG JUMP – 4, Powers, 14-9 1/2. 16, Euerle, 11-6 1/2.
TRIPLE JUMP – 6, Powers, 32-2 1/2. 15, Bollig, 27-9 1/4.
SHOT PUT – 2, Lindsay Kern, 32-9 1/2. 25, Autumn Hopkin, 19-7.
DISCUS – 7, Kern, 85-2. 19, Hopkin, 61-0 1/4.