by nathan oster
In hindsight, there was nothing “crazy” about Coach Jeff Sukut’s last-minute decision to bypass the Bobcat Invitational in Thermopolis in favor of a smaller meet the same day in Buffalo.
Just six teams attended the Crazy Woman Invitational — and of those six, Greybull was the only one from this side of the Big Horns, and while the weather was far from idea, the meet was over in less than four hours. The Thermopolis meet was called midway through.
“When I went to make entries (for Thermop), I noticed that there were going to be a lot of teams there,” said Sukut. “The big schools keep crashing these 2A meets … it’s kind of become a pet peeve of mine.
“So we went to Buffalo — and boy, I’m glad we did. We turned in some good performances over there — and some kids placed who had never placed before, which was fun to see.”
Topping the list of high achievers in Buffalo was Calder Forcella. A freshman, he uncorked a 132 foot, 8 inch throw to win the discus and set a personal record. His best effort prior to that was a 119-9.
Forcella came close to becoming the boys’ team’s first automatic qualifier, but fell just a couple feet short of the 135-9 standard.
Sukut believes that if Forcella can throw like that at regional’s he’ll earn place and earn a spot in the field for the state meet.
The only other winner for the Buffs was Lindsay Kern, who dominated the shot put competition, throwing 34 feet, 3 inches, her best effort of the season.
She also placed second in the discus with an 81-7 heave.
Among the other highlights of the meet for the Buffs:
• Mackenzie Bollig, a freshman, posted her best time of the season in the 100 meters, finishing seventh in 14.5 seconds.
• Megan Euerle improved by more than a foot in the long jump, soaring 12-4 to capture sixth place.
• In Sukut’s own words, it was “a nasty day to run a mile,” — but Jake Gifford made the most of it, earning an eighth-place finish with a 6:40.3.
• His times weren’t personal bests, but Wyatt Good placed in both hurdle races, taking fourth in the 110s and seventh in the 300s.
• Autumn Hopkin didn’t place, but she did post a personal best in the discus, posting a 59-5.
• McKenna Powers placed second in the 800, second in the long jump and third in the triple jump. While none of her distances and times were personal bests, Powers still topped the team in points scored.
• Chris Ogg and Wyatt Nielson scored points in the hurdles, with Nielsen finishing seventh in the 110s and Ogg earning a fourth-place finish in the 300s. Ogg also placed eighth in the long jump.
• Julian Wiley was fourth in the long jump and fifth in the 400.
• Forcella wasn’t the only thrower who excelled in Buffalo. Oscar Gomez, also a freshman, notched a second in the shot put and a third — with a personal best — in the discus. Logan Jensen rounded out the scoring in the throws with a personal-best, 110-foot throw in the discus.
As a team, Greybull ranked fifth in both divisions.
“We got a meet in, and while the competition wasn’t as rigid as it would have been in Thermopolis, it still turned out well because kids got opportunities to place and gain a little confidence,” Sukut said.
The Buffs will stick to their plan to go to Thermopolis this Friday, Sukut said. On tap is a meet billed as “a pre-regional qualifier” that will feature mostly 1A and 2A teams. For the Buffs, it’ll be their last opportunity to qualify automatically before the regional meet.
BOYS DIVISION — Buffalo 156, NSI 108.5, Big Horn 101.5, Sheridan 60.5, Greybull 55.5, Tongue River 55.
110 HURDLES — 4, Wyatt Good, 19.2. 7, Wyatt Nielson, 22.6.
1,600 METERS — 8, Jacob Gifford, 6:40.3.
400 METERS — 5, Julian Wiley, 59.2
300 HURDLES — 4, Chris Ogg, 50.0. 7, Good, 52.5.
200 METERS — 7, Calder Forcella, 25.9.
SHOT PUT — 2, Oscar Gomez, 37-6 ½.
DISCUS — 1, Forcella, 132-8. 3, Gomez, 112-5. 4, Logan Jensen, 110-0.
LONG JUMP — 4, Wiley, 16-5 ½. 8, Ogg, 15-1 ¼.
GIRL DIVISION — Buffalo 144, Sheridan 125.5, Big Horn 124.5, NSI 56.5, Greybull 47.5, Tongue River 39.
100 HURDLES — 7, Mackenzie Bollig, 14.5.
800 METERS — 2, McKenna Powers, 2:47.3.
SHOT PUT — 1, Lindsay Kern, 34-3.
DISCUS — 2, Kern, 81-7.
LONG JUMP — 2, Powers, 14-4. 6, Megan Euerle, 12-4.
TRIPLE JUMP — 3, Powers, 29-9. 6, Bollig, 26-1 ¾.