by nathan oster
Aftin DeRosa, Sydney Eckman, Wyatt Nielson, Cade Dooley and Elias Ewen punched their tickets to Casper placing in the top eight of their respective events at last weekend’s Class 2A West Regional track and field meet in Lander.
The five new qualifiers will join automatic qualifiers Calder Forcella, Dustin Fox, Fabian Davila, Ryan Sylvester and Chris Ogg in the field for the State 2A Track and Field Championships later this week in Casper.
Coach Jeff Sukut said he’s delighted to be taking 10 kids to the state meet and called his team’s performance in Lander a solid one, particularly on the boys’ side. Greybull finished fifth in the 10-team field with 72 points, just four behind Big Piney’s 76. Kemmerer won the region title with 103 points, while Thermopolis, with 98, and Shoshoni, with 91, rounded out the top three.
The Buffs didn’t have the numbers to make a run in the girls division. They finished 10th with five points. The good news is that those five points were enough to get two team members through to the state meet.
Sydney Eckman ran her best times of the season in both the 400 (65.75) and the 800 (2:36.21), finishing eighth in both. A sophomore, she’ll be running those two events in Casper. Eckman did not qualify in her other event, the long jump.
DeRosa picked a good time to turn in her best effort of the season in the long jump. She went 14-10 ½, about 2 ½ inches better than her previous best, to place sixth in Lander. She came up short of placing in the 100 meters.
Sukut said several other girls ended their season on high notes, including:
- Brittany Ogg, who set a PR in the 200 meters and finished 16th;
- Serenity Kinswoman, who was 14th in a PR 1:10.58 in the 400 meters and 17th in the 1,600 meters, cutting more than 21 seconds by finishing in 6:30.86.
- Paige Flock, who cut nearly five seconds in the 800, finishing 18th in 2:55, and about three seconds in the 1,600 meters, finishing 16th in 6:28.79.
- Hannah Good turned in her best effort of the season in the shot put. She took 14th in 27-4 ½.
“For the number of girls we had, I think we did really well,” said Sukut. “Looking down the road, we have some good freshmen girls, like Paige and Serenity, and sophomores who I think will do well for us in the future. Hopefully we’ll get a few more bodies out next year.”
The Greybull boys had two regional champions, as Calder Forcella took the discus and Chris Ogg the 300-meter hurdles.
Forcella threw 148 feet, 7 inches, and while not a personal best (149-9), it was by far the best throw of the weekend in 2A. The second-place thrower, a Big Piney junior, came in at 128-1, more than 20 feet behind. Forcella also made a run at the shot put crown. Just 1 ½ inches separated the winner, William Shafer of Big Piney, who threw 43-1 ¾, and the third-place finisher, Forcella, who threw 43-0 1/4.
Ogg ran a 43.35, his second best time of the season, en route to the 300-meter hurdle crown. He also placed seventh in the 100 meters. He’ll be running both events in Casper.
Four Buffs, Ryan Sylvester, Chris Ogg, Fabian Davila and Dustin Fox, were entered in the 100 meters. Sylvester joined Ogg in the final and placed one slot behind in eighth with a 12.3. Ogg ran a 12.11.
Sylvester also coasted to an eighth-place finish in the 200 meters, finishing in 24.62. A hip injury that he tweaked in the long jump prevented him from being at full strength for the race, said Sukut.
In the 110 hurdles, Wyatt Nielson captured second in a time of 18.54. Cesar Sosa was 10th, two spots out of qualifying for state, in both the 110 and 300 hurdles. He ran a 19.38 in the 110s and a personal-best 48.13 in the 300s. “He was close,” said Sukut. “I look forward to Cesar going (to state) next year.”
The 400-meter relay team nearly overcame two “shaky” handoffs to win. Thermopolis was just a shade faster, though. The Bobcats ran a 45.12, the Buffs a 45.27 which was also their fastest clocking of the season. “We’re only off the school record by about a tenth of a second,” said Sukut, whose foursome in Lander consisted of Davila, Forcella, Ogg and Sylvester.
Cade Dooley qualified for state in two events, placing eighth with a personal-best 46.32 in the 300 hurdles and clearing 5-7 to place eighth in the high jump.
Three Buffs placed in the long jump, with Sylvester placing second with a leap of 19-10 ¾, Davila taking third with a 19-6 effort and Fox claiming fifth with a 19-4.
Davila added a seventh in the triple jump, going 38-7 ½.
Forcella wasn’t the only Greybull thrower who rose to the occasion in Lander.
Ewen threw a personal best 38-1 ½ in the shot put, good for eighth place and a trip to Casper. Jake Harold also turned in a personal best, throwing 32-2 ½.
Wyatt Nielson threw a personal best 121-9 to place sixth and qualify in the discus. Justin Bacus, a senior, was a near miss in the event, placing 10th with a personal best 103-11. Ewen also turned in a personal best, finishing 16th with a toss of 96-6.
Looking ahead to Casper, Sukut said, “It’s going to be competitive, like it always is. Calder, I would think, has a good shot in both the discus and the shot put. Our 4 x 100 relay has a good shot, too. And Ryan has a good shot at placing — as do all of our jumpers.
Action in Casper begins today (Thursday, May 21) and runs through Saturday, May 23.