The Rocky Mountain Grizzlies and Lady Grizz appear to be hitting their stride a month into the 2012 track and field season, turning in a number of strong performances at the Normative Services Twilight meet last Thursday in Sheridan.
The Rocky boys finished a very strong second to Tongue River High School in the final team standings, 112-105.5, and the Rocky girls placed fifth with 45 points, just two points behind fourth-place Moorcroft.
“The boys had it won until the last event,” coach Dave Beemer said. “Tongue River had a 4×4 team (1,600-meter relay) and we didn’t. For the most part we had some pretty good performances.
“We found out a few things, too, like who the fastest people are. We were only missing four kids, so we had a pretty complete team.”
Turning to highlights, Beemer noted the performance of freshman Cannon Simmons, who increased his personal record in the triple jump by seven inches, placing second with a jump of 39-10, which is only seven inches from the state pre-qualification mark of 40-5. Joey Jewell placed fourth with a jump of 38-4½, Kirby Winland fifth at 37-5, both personal records.
“Cannon almost got to 40 feet and the jumping surface was not good,” Beemer said. “Joey did a good job, and Kirby is improving all the time, too.”
Jewell won the long jump at 19-1, and Simmons was eighth, leaping 16-9.”
“That (19-1) was a good jump on that surface,” Beemer said. “Joey is back to form.”
The performances in the hurdles races were another highlight, Beemer said. Junior Bryce Ward placed second in the 110-meter high hurdles with a personal-record time of 17.39, and he placed third in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles at 45.26, a personal record by two seconds. Winland placed fifth in the 300s at 47.29, a PR.
“Bryce ran well, and he still has room to improve,” Beemer said.
Running his first races of the season was senior Derik Romero, who tied for third in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.90 and finished ninth in the 200-meter dash at 25.19. Both are personal records.
“Derik got a horrible start in the 200,” Beemer said. “He will run in the 24s. He’s not in fine shape yet.”
Jewell tied for third with Romero in the 100-meter dash (11.90, PR), and Winland placed fifth at 11.97, Simmons eighth at 12.03 and Austin Brost 11th at 12.15, also a PR.
Brost was neck-and-neck with Romero in the 200, placing 10th with a time of 25.20.
Brady Winland placed sixth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:00.48. Casey Banks placed fourth in the 800 meters with a time of 2:30.75, and Joey Carroll was sixth at 2:36.43. Banks also placed sixth in the 1,600, covering the four laps in 5:44.84, and Carroll was seventh at 5:48.72, a personal record. Jake Loyning placed third in the 3,200 with a time of 13:38.66.
The Rocky 400-meter relay team of Jewell, Simmons, Brost and Romero placed first with a time of 47.64.
In field events, Ward won the high jump at 5-4, and Winland cleared 5-0 to place fourth. Chase Aagard improved his personal record in the discus by 15 feet and finished 10th with a throw of 89-11½. He also threw the shot 28-8½, a personal record.
In girls events, freshman Mikaela Hocker continued her improvement in the 100-meter intermediate hurdles, placing second with a personal-record time of 18.49. Sophomore Haley Strom was right behind her in third place at 18.97, competing for the first time this spring.
“Mikaela three-stepped six hurdles last week, this time she nailed ‘em all,” Beemer said. “Haley is fast. We’ve got to get her three-stepping.”
Strom placed sixth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 14.81, a PR, and Brianna Hocker placed eighth at 15.64, Sydney Tyacke ninth at 15.81 and Haley Stauffer 10th at 16.27.
In the jumps, Tyacke placed second in the long jump with a personal-record leap of 13-3 ¼, and Brianna Hocker was seventh at 12-1, Stauffer eighth at 12-0. Brianna Hocker placed fourth in the triple jump with a leap of 29-6, a PR.
“There’s room for improvement for Brianna,” Beemer said, noting that the junior can reach the 30-foot mark.
Senior Ashley Bridges placed second in the discus with a throw of 67-10½, a PR, and she finished sixth in the shot with a toss of 22-11, also a PR.
With three meets under their belts, the Grizzlies will compete in their biggest meet yet this Saturday – the L.A. Kohnke Invitational at Powell High School. Action is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.
By David Peck