by nathan oster
There were no automatic qualifiers, but aside from that, the opening meet of the season went about as well as could be expected for the Greybull Buffs, who finished third in the boys division and fourth in the girls division at Friday afternoon’s Riverside Invitational in Basin.
“We needed that,” said Coach Jeff Sukut of the meet, which, after the cancellation of the Bill Gerrard Invitational, became his team’s season opener. With kids out on spring break this week, it was crucial, Sukut said, that his kids get at least one meet under their belts.
Several GHS athletes who competed in Basin turned in either personal records or near misses of state qualifying marks.
Logan Jensen, a junior, won the discus with a heave of 118 feet, 4 inches, which Sukut called “the best throw of his career.” Calder Forcella, a sophomore, placed second with a throw of 114-8. “In the case of both of those kids,” Sukut said, “I think it’s a matter of them being a year older and a year stronger.”
Wyatt Good, a senior, placed fifth in both the 110- and 300-meter hurdles — but it was his times that caught the attention of his coach. According to Sukut, Good ran a PR 18.18 in the 110s, and a PR 45.5 in the 300s. His best prior to this season in the 300s was a 48.4, Sukut said, adding, “He’s taller, stronger … he should be in the thick of things in the 300 this year,” he said.
Kyler Flock enjoyed a nice debut in a Greybull uniform, finishing fourth in the 200 meters and fifth in the 100.
Flock also ran a leg on Greybull’s 400-meter relay team, which of all the Buff entries on Friday probably came the closest to qualifying for the state track meet. That squad, which also consisted of Forcella, Dylan Brenner and Alex Hebb, ran a very solid 47.5 in Basin, just a few ticks off the state-qualifying standard of 47.1 seconds.
The foursome is looking good considering the early stage of the season, but Sukut noted that competition in this event should be “lean and mean,” noting that both Big Piney and Wind River have already posted qualifying times in the event.
The Buffs’ 1,600-meter relay team of Brenner, Payton Gonzalez, Ryan Sylvester and Flock placed third.
On the girls side, Sukut offered high praise to a freshman team member, Florina Villegas, who placed in three individual events. She was third in the shot put, sixth in the high jump and seventh in the long jump.
McKenna Powers, the team’s only returning state qualifier, debuted with a second-place finish in the 800 meters. She also claimed a fifth in the long jump
“Not knowing where some of our new kids fell, we ended up doing a lot of experimenting,” said Sukut. “I have a better idea from here on out what events each of the kids are going to do.”
Sukut said the third- and fourth-place finishes in the team scores “were a good indication, for the young squad we have. The competition down the road will be good … but I’m happy with where we’re at. We have to train and get in better shape.”
As this week began, the Buffs were planning to practice Tuesday and Wednesday in advance of a meet today (Thursday, April 4) in Worland.
BOYS DIVISION — Big Horn 117, Meeteetse 88.5, Greybull 84, Thermopolis 78.5, Burlington 71, Tongue River 71, Riverside 37, Arvada-Clearmont 5.
100 METERS — 5, Kyler Flock, 11.84. 7, Calder Forcella, 11.94. 8, Dylan Brenner, 12.02.
400 METERS — 4, Flock, 57.58. 8, Ryan Sylvester, 1:00.25.
800 METERS — 6, Jarrod Johnson, 2:27.08.
1,600 METERS — 3, Johnson, 5:32.99.
110 HURDLES — 5, Wyatt Good, 18.12.
300 HURDLES — 5, Good, 54.59.
TRIPLE JUMP — 3, Sylvester, 34-10. 7, Cesar Sosa, 29-8 ¾. 8, Keegan Jenness, 28-11 ¼.
HIGH JUMP — 8, Alex Hebb, 5-2.
SHOT PUT — 7, Logan Jensen, 34-4.
DISCUS — 1, Jensen, 118-4. 2, Forcella, 114-08.
400-METER RELAY — 2, Greybull (Forcella, Brenner, Flock, Hebb), 47.5.
1,600 METER RELAY — 3, Greybull (Brenner, Payton Gonzalez, Sylvester, Flock), 4:00.72.
GIRLS DIVISION — Thermopolis 139, Big Horn 125, Tongue River 81, Greybull 64, Riverside 49, Burlington 49, Meeteetse 39, Arvada-Clearmont 16.
100 METERS — 7, Aftin DeRosa, 14.43.
200 METERS — 5, Mackenzie Bollig, 31.3. 8, Sydney Eckman, 31.43.
800 METERS — 2, McKenna Powers, 1:07.32. 6, Lynae McBride, 1:23.38. Alex Preis, 1:34.34.
100 HURDLES— 8, Jessica Dowling, 32.16.
300 HURDLES — 4, Chai Durfee, 1:09.9. 5, Jessica Dowling, 1:03.19.
LONG JUMP — 5, Powers, 14-6 ½. 7, Florina Villegas, 13-11 ¾.
TRIPLE JUMP — 4, Bollig, 27-0. 5, Durfee, 24-8 ¾. 6, Dowling, 24-8.
HIGH JUMP — 6, Villegas, 4-4.
SHOT PUT — 3, Villegas, 31-0.