by nathan oster
For the Greybull Buffs and many of their small school rivals, the track season will begin on Saturday with the Bill Gerrard Memorial Invitational. The “early bird” meet on every team’s schedule, it will begin with field events at 10 a.m., followed by the running events at 11 a.m.
Coach Jeff Sukut met his new team when it arrived for the first day of practice on March 7.
The roster stands at 33 heading into the opener, including 20 girls and 13 boys.
“That’s a good number … probably a little above average for us,” said Sukut.
The outlook for both teams is similar, as both lack numbers when it comes to returning state qualifiers but have promising underclassmen in the mix.
The girls roster consists of seven freshmen, five sophomores, three juniors and five seniors.
Of the 20 athletes, six are returning letter winners.
Only Sydney Eckman, a middle-distance runner and jumper, and Aftin DeRosa, a sprinter and jumper, competed at state last year. Sukut said he’s expecting good things from both of them, although DeRosa must first put a lingering groin injury behind her.
The two seniors are driven to take the next step this year at the state meet, Sukut said. Eckman was sixth in the 400 and ninth — just one spot out of the medals — in the 800. DeRosa was even closer to placing, beaten out by a quarter of an inch in her bid to place in the long jump.
Other returning letterwinners include Serenity Kinswoman (middle distance and jumps), Brittany Ogg (hurdles and sprints), Paige Flock (middle distance) and Karla Corral (sprints and middle distance).
Sukut said he hopes to be able to field competitive relay teams this season.
“We’ve got a variety of talent, from sprinters through distance, so I should be able to mix things up a little bit,” he said.
His goal for the season for the Lady Buffs — and it also applies to the boys, he said — is to get the most out of each of his athletes. “Placing in the top four as a team at regionals or in the top four at state would be wonderful,” he said. “But my goal for them is to improve their times and their distances in the throws and jumps.”
There are 13 boys out for track this spring, which includes two seniors, seven juniors, one sophomore and three freshmen. Returning lettermen include Cesar Sosa (hurdles and triple jump), Mason Stebner (sprints and shot put), Jake Harrold (sprints and shotput), Elias Ewen (sprints and shot put) and Cade Dooley (hurdles, high jump).
Dooley was the only state qualifier a year ago, taking 14th in the 300-meter hurdles and 10th in the high jump.
Sukut said he likes his sprinters and thinks he’ll be able to put together some nice relay teams. There are also a number of talented newcomers he’s excited to see in action, from incoming freshmen to athletes who are returning to the sports after missing last season due to injuries.
By the end of the Bill Gerrard Memorial, Sukut and the Buffs will have a better sense of where they stand. It’s expected to be a smaller meet; many of the larger schools in the area will be competing in Cody.
“We try to keep it small, mostly 1A and 2A teams,” said Sukut.
Volunteers are still needed to run the track meet. If you’re interested in helping, please contact either Sukut or activities director Nolan Tracy at the high school, 765-2537.
SENIORS — Florina Villegas, Sydney Eckman, Aftin DeRosa, Karla Corral, Jazmin Jara; Treston Tracy, Cesar Sosa.
JUNIORS — Hannah Good, Emma Hunt, Marisela Burgos; Cade Dooley, Dawson McEwan, Elias Ewen, Tyler Dixon, Jake Harrold, Dylan McEwan, Mason Stebner.
SOPHOMORES — Paige Flock, Brittany Ogg, Jazmyne Collingwood, Joslyn Alonzo, Serenity Kinswoman; Kadence Kinsman.
FRESHMEN — Brea Terry, Lindsey Mills, Bailee Foster, McKenzie Mazur, Ashlyn Ewen, Sydney Tschiffely, Tatem Edeler; Braeden Tracy, Gerardo Corral, Brock Hill.