by nathan oster
After coming up short in Thermopolis, Greybull High School athletes who are bidding for state berths will have one more opportunity to punch their tickets to Casper at this week’s Class 2A West Regional in Lander.
A top-eight finish in an individual event or a top-four finish in a relay will get it done.
“I’m hopeful,” said Coach Jeff Sukut, who saw six of his athletes — Calder Forcella, Kyler Flock, Alex Hebb, Ryan Sylvester, McKenna Powers and Cade Dooley — better the automatic qualifying standards in their respective events during the regular season.
For the rest of the Buffs, it’s do or die time.
Among the non-qualifiers, Sukut said the trio of Sydney Eckman, Logan Jensen and Aftin DeRosa appear to have the best chance of qualifying by placing at the regional meet, which will unfold on Friday and Saturday.
“As always, our goal is to qualify as many as possible,” said Sukut. “I’m not as worried about team points — I just don’t think we have the numbers to earn a lot of team points. But hopefully we get a few more qualified — and hopefully everyone on the team improves their times and distances.”
In addition to 2A, the Lander oval will also be the site of the 1A and 3A west regionals, so it figures to be a busy couple of day. Prelims are on Friday, with finals to follow on Saturday.
The Buffs wrapped up the regular season Friday at the Thermopolis Pre-Regional. Because it was on the weekend prior to regionals, it drew a large field of teams, with more than 20 showing up to compete.
As for his kids, Sukut said it was “kind of like ordering a sweet and sour dish at a Chinese restaurant.” In other words … some good, some not so good. “We had a couple of PRs, but not very many.”
The GHS girls finished 10th with 21 points.
McKenna Powers placed in three events, with her top finish coming in the 300-meter hurdles. She placed second in the event — but only because she stumbled crossing the final hurdle. “She was running a great race and would have gotten first,” said Sukut.
Powers also added fifth-place finishes in both the 200 meters and the triple jump.
Rounding out the GHS scoring was Sydney Eckman, who placed fourth in a personal-best 2:37.16 in the 800 meters. Her time was more than a second faster than her previous best.
Among the other Lady Buffs, Sukut said Alex Foster ran a personal best in the 100 meters and that Aftin DeRosa came within two-tenths of a second of setting a PR in the 200 meters.
The highlight on the boys side may have been the 100-meter dash, as Greybull’s two sprinting standouts, Kyler Flock and Alex Hebb, got to measure themselves against one of the top sprinters in the state in Jace Marx of Big Piney.
Marx won this round, running an 11.23, but Flock wasn’t far behind, finishing second in 11.35. Hebb was sixth in 11.6. “It was a great race,” said Sukut, noting that after the top two, just 11 hundredths of a second separated third from sixth.
Flock and Hebb placed fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 200 meters — and both joined forces with Calder Forcella and Ryan Sylvester on the 400-meter relay team which placed second behind Thermopolis.
Sukut said the regional and state competitions could come down to Thermopolis, which has the fastest 400-meter relay team in the state, and Greybull and Rocky Mountain, which have been right on the Bobcats tails most of the year.
Forcella placed in both of his field events, taking third in the discus and sixth in the shot put.
Among the nonplacers, Sukut noted that Dawson McEwan ran a personal best in the 400 meters and that Cesar Sosa did the same in the 300-meter hurdles.
The Greybull boys placed ninth in the final team standings.
GIRLS — Lovell 114, Worland 83, Cokeville 78, Rawlins 64, Big Piney 60, Thermopolis 47.5, Meeteetse 33, HEM 28, Wyoming Indian 28, Greybull 21, Burlington 21, Saratoga 14, Shoshoni 14, Rocky Mt. 13.5, Western Heritage Lutheran 13, Wind River 13, Riverside 3, Farson 2.
300 HURDLES — 2, McKenna Powers, 50.89.
800 METERS — 4, Sydney Eckman, 2:37.16.
200 METERS — 5, McKenna Powers, 28.68.
TRIPLE JUMP — 5, McKenna Powers, 31-8 ½.
BOYS — Cokeville 81.5, Thermopolis 77, Dubois 56, Lovell 54, Rawlins 48, Big Piney 47, Rocky Mt. 43, Saratoga 39, Greybull 37, Shoshoni 33, Worland 27.5, Burlington 27, HEM 23, Wind River 21, Riverside 18, Wyoming Indian 18, Meeteetse 9, Farson 4.
100 METERS — 2, Kyler Flock, 11.35. 6, Alex Hebb, 11.6.
400 RELAY — 2, Greybull (Flock, Hebb, Calder Forcella, Ryan Sylvester), 45.47.
200 METERS — 4, Flock, 24.58. 5, Hebb, 24.61.
DISCUS — 3, Calder Forcella, 131-6 ½.
SHOT PUT — 6, Calder Forcella, 40-5.