Relay teams posts wins at Shoshoni

Nathan Oster

The fact that they were technically off for spring break didn’t prevent a group of about 15 Greybull High School athletes from competing at a meet in Shoshoni on Thursday, April 1.

Coach Nolan Tracy had declared it an “optional” meet and the fact that so many logged practice time and made the trip was seen “a very good sign” of the dedication of this year’s team, which is heavy on freshmen and sophomores.

“And we’d have had a few more go, too, had it not been for some nagging injuries,” he said.

The meet was a small one, with the Buffs and host Wranglers being joined in the field by athletes from Thermopolis, Wind River, Riverside, Burlington and Western Heritage.  No team scores were available early this week.

It was a good day for Greybull’s relay teams, as both the 400-meter and medley foursomes captured first place in the girls division.

The 400-meter team of Caroline Boyer, Kelsie McColloch, Chaise Benasky and Kaylyn Burns (a senior making her season debut) topped a six-team field, finishing in 57:33 seconds.  Wind River and Thermopolis were within a second, taking second and third, respectively.

Boyer, McColloch, Benasky and Katie Murph formed the winning combination in the medley relay, posting a 5:16.7.  

While both teams have a ways to go to beat the handheld 2A qualifying marks — a 54.1 in the 400 relay and a 4:49.8 in the medley — they set themselves up as contenders to qualify at the regional coming up next month in Shoshoni.

“State AQ times are tough,” said Tracy. “But those two teams ran well.  Sometimes smaller meets are nice for that reason.  They give kids the opportunity compete at maybe not quite the level of competition they’ll see in the next few weeks.”

The Buffs also enjoyed some success in individual events, as Carolyn Boyer, Kelsi McColloch, Chaise Benasky, Josselyn Jara and Mikayla Foster notched top-eight finishes.

Boyer placed third in the 200 (30.14 seconds) and fifth in the 100 (14.36).

McColloch claimed a seventh in the 100 (14.67).

Benasky cleared 4-2 to place fifth in the high jump.

Jara soared 11-8 to capture sixth in the long jump.

Foster was an eighth-place finisher in the shot, with a heave of 21-4.

Gaven McColloch continued to set the pace for the Greybull boys, placing in two individual events.

The senior ran an 11:22.26 to win the 3,200 meters, topping his closest pursuer by more than 30 seconds.  While still a bit off the 2A qualifying mark (11.12.4), McColloch’s time was 3 seconds faster than the one he posted just a few days earlier in Greybull (11.25.08).

McColloch is also moving in the right direction in the 1,600 meters.  He placed second in Shoshoni, losing by less than a second to a Saratoga runner who crossed the line in 4:56.25.  McColloch’s time, a 4:57.08, was his best of the season thus far, topping the 5:03.23 he ran in Greybull and the 5.07.05 he ran at Wind River.  The 2A qualifying time in the event is a 4:55.1.

Irving Castro and Ryan Smith rounded out the scoring for the boys.

Castro, competing for the first time this season, placed fourth in the triple jump, going 36-2, and sixth in the 100 meters, finishing in 12.27.  Tracy said of Castro’s jump, “It wasn’t his best – but keep in mind, it’s been two years since he’s triple jumped,” adding that he was still pleased with the junior’s effort in his season debut.

“I expect Irving to be in the mid to high 38s or low 39s before the season’s over.”

Smith’s top-eight finish came in the 800 meters.  He ran a 2:30.64, a few ticks slower than the time he posted in Greybull.  But Smith also ran the 1,600 meters in Shoshoni; he finished 12th in that event, crossing the line in 5:47.75.

The Buffs are planning to attend back-to-back meets later this week.  The road leads to Meeteetse on Friday and to Tongue River on Saturday.  While the Meeteetse meet figures to be another small one, the meet in Dayton is expected to draw a larger field, including many from the 2A East.

Tracy said his goals for the week are the same ones that he set in the preseason:  “I told them early on, I just want them to continue to improve — and especially in the case of the young ones, to just focus on themselves because when they start comparing themselves to others who are older and more experienced, sometimes it can be a little tough to take. They need to look at where they started and build off that.  We just want them striving to get better each week.”