Reece, Castro join state qualifiers

Nathan Oster

The Greybull Buffs added two new state qualifiers at the Bobcat Invitational.

Sophomore Aiden Reece soared to new heights in the high jump to become the sixth team member guaranteed a trip to the State 2A Track and Field Championships in Casper.

Reese cleared 5 feet, 10 inches — a 4-inch improvement over the 5-6 mark that had stood as his personal best.  The leap was good for fifth place in Thermopolis.  Four jumpers from 1A Burlington finished ahead of him, with Gideon George clearing 6-4 for the win.

Coach Nolan Tracy said he wasn’t surprised by Reece’s effort.  In practice, he’d cleared 5-8 and come close on his attempts at 5-10.  With the competitive juices flowing, he produced a personal record when it mattered most, leaving nothing to chance for this weekend’s regional.

“He’s done a lot of work on his form going over the bar — and in the high jump, form is everything,” said Tracy. “Some kids have the vertical part, but if they don’t have the form, they aren’t going to be as successful.”

The other new state qualifier — the team’s seventh — was Irving Castro.  The junior posted a PR in the 100, finishing in 11.56.  

Reece’s jump was the highlight of the day for the Buffs, who struggled to score points in a highly competitive environment.  The “last chance meet” drew 1A, 2A and 3A athletes from across western and northern Wyoming.  Most of them will see each other again this weekend in Shoshoni.

Tongue River won the girls division and Rocky Mountain the boys title.

Greybull finished with just three points in the girls division.  The 400-meter relay team of Caroline Boyer, Kelsie McColloch, Chaise Benasky and Kaylyn Burns had already posted an AQ time, but they bettered their PR in Thermopolis.  They finished fifth in 53.81 seconds, topping the 53.9 they posted in Cowley.  Among the teams that have AQd, the Greybull foursome has the fifth-fastest time; Big Horn’s 53.45 stands as the fastest time in 2A this season.

In individual events, Kaylyn Burns and Stella Wade didn’t place, but both of them ran PRs in Thermopolis, according to Tracy.  Burns posted a 13.64 in the 100, good for 12th, and Wade a 29.20 in the 200, good for 18th.

In addition to Reece’s AQ in the high jump, the Buffs got points from Jesus Hernandez, who was fifth in the discus (113-01) and sixth in the long jump (17-11).

Gaven McColloch accounted for the rest, placing third in the 1,600 meters.  The senior finished in 4:52.02, a shade off his personal best 4:49.29, which was an AQ.   He’s has also AQ’d in the 3,200, but didn’t run that event in Thermopolis. In both events, his times trail only Wyatt Ostler of Tongue River.

Now that the regular season is over, GHS athletes will have one more opportunity to qualify for the state meet.  It comes at this weekend’s regional in Shoshoni.  To make it in an individual event, they must place among the top eight finishers.  In the relays, a top four is needed.

“We’ll be looking to get a little closer to filling a bus,” said Tracy.  Several athletes are on the cusp of making it.   But for all the Buffs, improvement remains the goal.  “I’m hoping ever kid gets a PR this weekend.”

The meet begins Friday and concludes on Saturday.