by nathan oster
Senior Florina Villegas bettered her personal record in the shot put by more than two feet to claim Greybull High School’s only individual victory at Friday’s Bobcat Invitational in Thermopolis.
Villegas had already qualified for state in the event, but what her 35-foot, 6-inch effort did was establish her as one of the leading contenders for the 2A crown in Casper. Going into the meet, her best throw was 33 feet, 4 inches.
“She’s getting her technique down and feeling more confident in herself,” said Coach Jeff Sukut. While Villeges was on the team for a short time as a freshman, this is the first year she’s been all in after not going out as either a sophomore or junior.
“Even when she was a freshman, I knew she’d do well in it, if she stuck with it,” said Sukut.
Villegas’s win accounted for more than a third of the points scored by the Greybull girls at the Thermopolis meet, which was well attended by teams in the region looking for one final tuneup before the Class 2A West Regional which is Friday and Saturday in Lander.
Big Piney won the girls division with 91 points, followed by Thermopolis with 72.6, Lyman with 51.6. Tongue River with 42 and Glenrock with 38.5 rounded out the top five. The Buffs placed 12th with 28.6 points.
Villegas will head to the regional meet as the only GHS girl who has earned a trip to state in an individual event. The 400-meter relay team is going too, of course, having bettered the 2A standard on numerous occasions already.
The foursome of senior Sydney Eckman and freshmen Brea Terry, McKenzie Mazur and Sydney Tschiffely took fourth in 54.09 seconds. Their best time of the season, it should put them in the mix for a state title in the event. “We’re going to have to be a little ahead of the game, compared to where we are now, if we want to make some noise at state,” said Sukut, noting that there are some 2A teams running in the 52s and 53s.
Eckman provided an eighth-place finish in the 400 meters, running a 66.52 which was a second off her personal record.
Terry didn’t run her best time in the 800, but the talented freshman still managed to crack the top eight, finishing fifth in 2:36.36. She added a sixth-place finish in the triple jump, going 29-10. “She’s been jumping pretty consistently in the 30s … if she jumps like that (in Lander), she should make it to state,” said Sukut.
Senior Aftin DeRosa will be another Buff setting her sights on a trip to the state meet. In Thermop, she placed fourth in the long jump, going 14-8. Her best effort of the season was a 15-4 ½. “She’s been nursing a groin injury,” said Sukut. “But if she can jump in the high 14s, low 15s, she should place and go to state.”
Mazur provided the team’s other points, placing fifth in the high jump with a leap of 4-7. Her PR in the event is a 4-9.
The boys division was a wide-open affair, with just 14 points separating the top five teams. Lander won it with 75, followed by Rocky Mountain with 72, Glenrock 70, Thermopolis 63 and Big Piney 61.
The Buffs were 23rd, scoring just a half point. Cade Dooley provided it, finishing in an eighth-place tie in the triple jump with a 5-7 clearance.
Sukut added that while they didn’t place, several Buffs showed personal growth.
Tyler Dixon “continues to improve in the 1,600,” running his best time of the year (5:30.32) and cutting 12 seconds in the process.
Brittany Ogg shaved a minute off her PR in the 300-meter hurdles.
Paige Flock cut three seconds in the 800 meters.
Serenity Kinswoman also bettered her PR in the 800, running a 3:03.94.
Jake Harrold made a huge jump in the discus, throwing 95-8. His PR going in was an 87-9.
Emma Hunt belted out her best triple jump of the year, going 24-10 ½. Her PR going in was a 23.8.
The Buffs will compete at the Class 2A West Regional Friday and Saturday in Lander.
The meet starts with field events at 11 a.m., with the first running event to follow at 12:45 p.m.
Saturday starts with field events at 9 a.m., running events at 10 a.m.
Sukut said his goal for the meet is to help his athletes achieve their peak performance and to push as many through to state as possible. A top eight finish in an individual event or a top four finish in a relay will do the trick.
Several Buffs figure to have a shot, Sukut said, including DeRosa, Dooley, Ogg, Cesar Sosa and Elias Ewen.
LONG JUMP — 4, Aftin DeRosa, 14-8 ½.
TRIPLE JUMP — 6, Brea Terry, 29-10.
HIGH JUMP — 5, McKenzie Mazur, 4-7.
SHOT PUT — 1, Florina Villegas, 35-6.
400 RELAY — 4, Greybull, 54.09.
400 METERS — 8, Sydney Eckman, 1:06.52.
800 METERS — 5, Brea Terry, 2:36.36.
HIGH JUMP — 8, Cade Dooley, 5-7.