Buffs make their 2023 debut

Nathan Oster

As unlikely as it may have seemed early Friday morning with several inches of fresh snow on the ground, a rapid warm-up and dry-out allowed the Bill Gerrard Memorial Invitational to proceed as planned Saturday.

"That was the accomplishment of the weekend for sure," said Nolan Tracy, head coach of the Buffs. "It sure didn't look too promising about 1 o'clock on Friday when there were 5 or 6 inches on the infield, but by 3:30, it was gone."

The meet was the season opener for nearly all the teams in attendance. The Riverside girls and the Lovell boys started strong, winning the team titles. The Buffs finished well back in both, with the girls placing eighth with 28 points and the boys claiming ninth with 23 points.

Kelsie McColloch, a junior, was Greybull's only champion, winning the 400 meters thanks to a late kick that carried her pass Dakota Cervantes of Riverside and Brooklyn Williams of Thermopolis.  McColloch ran a 1:09.47, Cervantes a 1:09.93 and Williams a 1:10.14.

"She showed a lot of guts down the stretch," said Tracy. "She could have said, second or third is good enough and called it good, but she not only ran down the second place girl, but also clipped the first-place girl at the line.

"That's what makes her a good 400 runner — she has guts, doesn't quit and is willing to push past the pain."

McColloch added a seventh in the 200 meters.

Aiden Reece, a senior, didn't win the high jump, placing third, but his 5-foot, 10-inch clearance was Greybull's first AQ of the season.  Reece will be returning to Casper, where he won the 2A title last spring.  

 Owen Walker of Lovell and Clayton Edwards of Burlington placed first and second, respectively, on Saturday, each of them clearing 6-0.

Reece added a seventh in the 100 meters.

Tracy said several upperclassmen had strong debuts as well, posting personal bests. Cole Bolzer did it in the long jump, going 19-7, good for fourth and just 3 inches shy of the qualifying standard,  and Chase Oster did it in the shot put, 34-4, good for eighth.

Chaise Benasky came within an inch of a PR, clearing 4-7 in the high jump to claim fifth place.

Freshman Troy Cheatham enjoyed a nice debut, placing fourth in the 3,200 meters.

"Overall, I was really happy with the performance of our team, especially considering the type of conditions we've been dealing with and the fact that no one has really been able to get in a lot of consistent work in their events."


This week

The Buffs were scheduled to compete at a triangular in Tongue River today but lingering snow on the track forced its postponement. They will instead head to Worland for the D&D Invitational, which is likely to be a far larger meet.  Start time is 10 a.m.

"That's why I generally don't want to attend, but with the way things have been (with the weather and lost meets), we're not only going to Worland but also to Powell (on April 15), which is a day after we go to Shoshoni," said Tracy. 


GIRLS RESULTS — Riverside 88, Lovell 76, Thermopolis 70, Rocky Mt. 69, Wind River 54, Tongue River 53, Burlington 51, Greybull 28, Shoshoni 13, Wyo. Indian 11, Arvada-Clearmont 10, Meeteetse 9.

HIGH JUMP — 5, Chaise Benasky, 4-7.

DISCUS — 6, Sarah Murph, 83-5.

100 HURDLES — 4, Benasky, 19.5.

400 METERS — 1, Kelsie McColloch, 1:09.47.

200 METERS — 7, McColloch, 30.69.


BOYS RESULTS — Lovell 128, Burlington 113.5, Tongue River 108, Rocky Mt. 52, Thermopolis 43, Wind River 38, Riverside 29.5, Ten Sleep 28, Greybull 23, Shoshoni 11, Wyo. Indian 6, Western Heritage 4.

HIGH JUMP — 3, Aiden Reece, 5-10.

LONG JUMP — 4, Cole Bolzer, 19-7.

SHOT PUT — 8, Chase Oster, 34-4.

100 METERS — 7, Reece, 12.4.

3,200 METERS — 4, Troy Cheatham, 12:36.99.   5, Ike Hoffman, 14:48.89.