Buffs sending 14 to state meet

Nathan Oster

Stella Wade, Torrey Sanford, Katie Murph, Sarah Murph, TJ Davis, Cole Bolzer and Jesus Hernandez took advantage of their last opportunities to qualify for the state meet by placing at the Class 2A West Regional held Friday and Saturday in Shoshoni.

The seven new qualifiers join Gaven McColloch, Irving Castro, Aiden Reece, Caroline Boyer, Kelsie McColloch, Chaise Benasky and Kaylyn Burns, all of whom posted AQs during the regular season.  

The State Track and Field Championships are taking place today through Saturday in Casper.

Coach Nolan Tracy said he’d have been “ecstatic” if someone would have told him at the beginning of the season that he’d be taking 14 kids to Casper.  “I thought we might have one or two kids that go as AQs — and we had seven, which was a surprise.  Then we ended up with seven more going by place – another surprise.”

Summing it up, he said, “Our kids did really well.”

McColloch continued to set the pace for the Buffs, claiming region titles in the 3,200 and the 1,600.

He ran a personal best 10:59.19 in the 3,200, nearly 30 seconds better than his closest pursuer. The time topped his personal best, a 10:59.25.   “He did it running into a major headwind for eight laps,” said Tracy, noting the suboptimal conditions in Shoshoni Friday night.

McColloch also posted a personal best in the 1,600, beating his previous mark, a 4:49.29, with a 4:45.92.  His goal for the state meet, Tracy said, is to run the race in under 4:40 and make a run at his father Michael McColloch’s time.

Greybull’s 400-meter relay team also got to stand on the top step of the awards stand in Shoshoni, as the foursome of Caroline Boyer, Kelsie McColloch, Chaise Benasky and Kaylyn Burns took first place with a 54.56.  In addition to being their best time of the season, the time ranks among the three best in 2A, according to Tracy.

The seven new qualifiers:

• Stella Wade, who made it in the 100 and 200 meters.  Tracy said the GHS sophomore had come close to hitting the AQs during the season, so it came as no surprise that she placed in both events in Shoshoni.  She took sixth in the 100, seventh in the 200.

• Torrey Sanford overcame a leg injury to qualify in the 800 meters, finishing eighth in 2:51.93.  The injury plagued her all season, Tracy said.  She wasn’t able to train or run pain free, but she gutted it out at regionals because she wanted to go to Casper.  Mission accomplished.

• Cole Bolzer was a near miss in the 100, but he punched his state ticket with an eighth-place finish in the long jump, going 17-1 ½.  While it wasn’t by design, the sophomore benefited from Jesus Hernandez’s hard luck, as the senior scratched on all three of his jumps, opening the door for one more athlete — in this case, Bolzer – to qualify.

• Freshman Sarah Murph qualified in the discus, throwing 79-4, her personal best.

• Sarah Murph, who’d AQd as a member of the 400-meter relay team, added the 1,600-meter sprint relay to her state lineup.   She was joined on that team by Boyer, McColloch and Benasky.  They ran a 5:07.87, second only to Big Piney.

• TJ Davis posted a PR in the long jump, going 18-3 ¾, which was a personal best.

• Hernandez didn’t make it in the long jump, but he made up for it in his other two events, placing second in the discus, 125-8 ½, and fourth in the triple jump, 38-0.  Both marks represented personal bests — and by a significant margin.  His previous bests were 112-5 in the discus and 36-11 in the triple jump.

And while they weren’t new qualifiers, having previously posted AQs, several Buffs including Kelsie McColloch and Irving Castro qualified in new events.

Among the non-qualifiers, freshman Josselyn Jara came closest to earning a trip to state, placing ninth in the long jump. 

The Buffs finished fifth in the boys division and sixth in the girls division, which were won by Rocky Mountain and Big Piney, respectively. 



GIRLS DIVISION:   Big Piney 169, Rocky Mt. 129, Riverside 106, Shoshoni 81, Wyoming Indian 69, Greybull 65, Wind River 45, St. Stephens 24.

100 METERS — 3, Kaylyn Burns, 14.34.  4, Kelsie McColloch, 14.38.  6, Stella Wade, 14.84.

200 METERS — 6, Caroline Boyer, 29.53.  7, Stella Wade, 29.9.

3,200 METERS — 8, Torrey Sanford, 2:51.93.

400 RELAY — 1, Greybull (Caroline Boyer, Kelsie McColloch, Chaise Benasky, Kaylyn Burns), 54.56.

1,600 SPRINT RELAY — 2, Greybull (Caroline Boyer, Kelsie McColloch, Chaise Benasky, Katie Murph), 5:07.87.

HIGH JUMP — 3, Chaise Benasky, 4-8.

DISCUS — 8, Sarah Murph, 79-4.


BOYS DIVISION: Rocky Mt. 221, Big Piney 168, Riverside 70, Wind River 63, Greybull 51, Wyoming Indian 39, Shoshoni 31, St. Stephens 7.

100 METERS — 4, Irving Castro, 11.92.

1,600 METERS — 1, Gaven McColloch, 4:45.92.

3,200 METERS — 1, Gaven McColloch, 10:59.19.

HIGH JUMP — 5, Aiden Reece, 5-10.

LONG JUMP — 5, TJ Davis, 18-3 ¾.  8, Cole Bolzer, 17-1 ½.

TRIPLE JUMP — 4, Jesus Hernandez, 38-0.  5, Irving Castro 37-5.

DISCUS — 2, Jesus Hernandez, 125-8 ½.