by nathan oster
The Class 2A West Regional brought out the best in Elian Davila and Brooke Flock, who claimed Greybull High School’s only region titles in the triple jump and 1,600 meters, respectively, last weekend in Shoshoni.
Davila set a new personal record, going 40 feet, 10 1/2 inches to nip Kemmerer’s Tanner Plowman, who jumped 40-5. Prior to the regional competition, Davila’s best effort was a 40-10.
While Flock didn’t PR in the 1,600 meters, she was still easily the class of the race, as her 5:55.69 was more than 5 seconds faster than her closest pursuer, Larissa McElroy of Wyoming Indian.
Flock and Davila weren’t the only Greybull athletes who shined during the two days of competition. By weekend’s end, 11 of them had qualified for this weekend’s State 2A Track and Field Championships in Casper.
Other qualifiers include McKenzie Mazur, Angel Moon and Monique Velasquez on the girls side and Dale McBride, Jesus Hernandez, James Robertson, Caleb Bottom, Gaven McColloch and Ryan Smith in the boys division.
Flock also had a memorable trip in the 800 meters, coming from well back on the final stretch to earn a fourth-place finish. She finished in 2:32.01 — more than nine seconds better than her previous best of 2:41.66. The winning time was a 2:23.82 turned in by Lue Herbert of Wind River.
“She ran a great race,” said Sukut. “Her first lap she was way ahead of the pace she normally runs, so I was a little worried. She was in seventh or eighth with about 200 meters to go when she turned on the afterburners.”
While she fell short of setting personal records, Mazur was placed in three individual events, taking second in the long jump (15-9), fourth in the high jump (4-8) and fourth in the 200 meters (27.87). It’ll be the fourth straight year that Mazur has competed in the high jump in Casper.
Velasquez qualified in the 400 meters, placing eighth in 1:11:08. She ran her best time of the season, a 1:07.06, in the prelims. She also qualified in the triple jump with a leap of 31-6 1/2, which was good for fourth place.
Moon was the team’s other individual placer. A junior, she shined at the regional, posting personal bests in the 200 meters (29.47) and in the long jump (13-10 1/4). The bad news for her is that both efforts left her in ninth, just one spot out of qualifying for the state meet.
The good news, however, is that Moon will be going to Casper anyway as a member of the 1,600-meter medley relay team. She, Mazur, Velasquez and Flock placed third at the regional, finishing in 4:50.03.
“Angel had a really good meet,” said Sukut. “Every time she’s run and jumped this season, she’s gotten better. I’m really proud of her.”
For a team with only one automatic qualifier in McColloch going into the regional, the Greybull boys had to feel good about coming away with seven new ones in Bottom, Davila, McBride, Robertson, Smith and Hernandez.
Bottom, Davila, McBride and Robertson will be going not only as members of the 400-meter relay team, but also in the 100-meter dash. In the finals, Bottom took fourth in 12:08, Davila was fifth in 12.18, McBride sixth in 12.35 and Robertson seventh in 12.45.
As a relay team, that foursome posted a 48.57. While not their best time, it was good enough for third place, behind Rocky Mountain and Kemmerer.
The Buffs added some points in the field events, with Bottom (18-11 3/4) and Hernandez (a personal best 18-3 1/2) taking second and fourth, respectively, in the long jump. Hernandez also qualified in the triple jump, placing seventh in 95-7.
Smith provided a nice surprise, qualifying in two events and posting personal bests in three. He placed sixth in 1,600 meters in 5:20.41 and seventh in the 3,200 meters in 12.06.81 (a 10-second improvement) and finished just out of the money in ninth in the 800 in 2:13.36 (a five-second improvement).
“You don’t see a lot of freshmen who qualify for state — occasionally you’ll see it on the girls side, but not as much with the boys,” said Sukut. “Really proud of Ryan.”
McColloch rounded out the scoring with a third-place finish in the 3,200 meters (11:07.34).
Robertson and McBride didn’t place in the 200, but both ran personal bests — Robertson with a 25.61, McBride with a 25.72.
As a team, Greybull placed sixth in the boys division with 56 points and seventh in the girls division with 45. The Rocky Mountain boys and the Kemmerer girls were this year’s region champions.
While 11 Buffs earned the right to go to Casper, Sukut doesn’t expect McColloch to make the trip. An illness prevented the sophomore standout from running the mile and he won’t be able to shake it off in time to train for and compete in the state meet.
“It’s a shame,” said Sukut, adding that he’d have contended for medals in both the 3,200 and 1,600.
The state meet begins Thursday and ends Saturday.
“Overall, I’m really pleased,” said Sukut. “There are a few I feel bad for, who were just off their marks a little. But others turned in their best performances of the season. That’s always pleasing as a coach. We’re taking 11 out of our 20 athletes — that’s 55 percent of my squad, so we’ll be represented fairly well.”