by nathan oster
Greybull High School athletes continued their late-season surge, posting nine personal bests last weekend at the State 2A Track and Field Championships in Casper.
The Buffs sent 11 athletes to the culminating event, which ended the crowning of the Lovell boys and the Big Piney girls as 2A champions. The Greybull girls finished 16th with 13 points, while the much smaller boys contingent failed to score a point.
Coach Jeff Sukut said, “For the number of kids we took and being so young all year — we only had two seniors, the rest underclassmen — I think we did OK. In the end, my expectation going in was about the way things finished.”
Athletes enjoyed great weather conditions Thursday and Friday, but the rain and chilly temperatures they dealt with so often during the season returned Saturday, which had an impact on performances across the board, said Sukut.
McKenzie Mazur had a hand in the scoring of all 13 points for the Greybull girls, placing third in the high jump, fourth in the long jump and joining Shayla Cheatham, Kaylyn Burns and Sydney Tschiffely on the seventh-place 400-meter relay team.
Mazur’s effort in the high jump, a 4-10 clearance, was on par with her best effort of the season. The winner, senior Miranda Gilkey of Lusk, cleared 5-2.
Mazur didn’t hit a personal best in the long jump, but came close. She went 15 feet, 3 inches, good for fourth place. Megan Cornia, a junior from Lovell, won it with a leap of 16-5 1/2.
Mazur didn’t place in her other individual event, taking 10th in the 200 in a tie of 28.13, a personal best.
Don’t let the relay team’s seventh-place finish fool you. “They looked really good and their handoffs were spot on,” said Sukut, who is excited about the prospect of all four girls returning next season. The foursome ran a 53.98, their best of the season. Lovell won the event with a 52.94.
While they didn’t place, Sukut found positive takeaways for every other state qualifier.
Burns, a freshman, ran her best time of the season in the 100 meters, a 14.18 that was good for 14th place. She also set a PR in the 200, where she finished 17th in a time of 28.67.
“She ended her season running her fastest times,” said Sukut.
Brooke Flock, another freshman, placed 11th in the 800 meters (2:38.2) and 12th in the 1,600 meters (6:14.99). While neither was a personal best, “the state track meet was a good experience for her,” said Sukut. “She should be in the thick of things next year.
“The same is true for all of our freshmen, really. When you go to state track, I like to call it ‘The Big Dance.’ There’s a lot of competition. It’s a good experience for young kids to go through early in their careers.”
Tschiffely set a PR in the long jump with a 13-9 effort in the long jump.
Brittany Ogg set a PR in the triple jump, going 31-4 3/4 to place 10th.
Cheatham competed in both throwing events and finished 14th in the discus (77-0) and 16th in the shot put (31-2 1/2).
Lastly on the girls side, there was some heartbreak for the medley relay team of Burns, Ogg, Monique Velasquez and Flock. Their team was one of eight to make the finals, so by simply finishing the race, they would have added to the team point total. But a disqualification late in the race cost them.
Sukut said the Buffs were battling it out for sixth place with two other teams when an official ruled that Greybull’s final runner, Flock, stepped in front of and impeded the progress of a runner from Wind River.
Sukut called it a learning experience for the team. With the exception of Ogg, the other three are in line to return next year. Sukut predicts they’ll again be formidable.
The four Buffs who qualified on the boys side were Caleb Bottom, Gaven McColloch, Elian Davila and Zack Keisel.
McColloch took 16th in the 3,200 meters, finishing in 11.58.94.
Davila placed 10th in the triple jump with a leap of 39 feet, 1/4 inch, a personal record.
Bottom was ninth in the long jump with a leap of 19-10 1/4, a personal record. He was also 12th in the 100 (12.23, a PR).
Keisel took 14th in the shot put (41-7 1/2.) and 14th in the 100 (12.25, a personal best).
All are expected back next season, which bodes well for the team’s chances, said Sukut. The Buffs had only two seniors this year in Ogg and Paige Flock.
“Numbers are important in every sport, but in track and field especially, they really help,” he said. “I’m hoping to continue to encourage kids to come out. Track is a good sport. It makes you better, more well-rounded athletes.”
Sukut called the season a success nonetheless, citing nine personal records set at state as proof of the progress made by his athletes.