The Lovell Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs didn’t get to hoist a trophy following the State Track and Field Meet in Casper over the weekend as the smallest school in Class 3A, but they did compete well against the big boys and broke three school records in the process.
The Lovell boys were impressive given the relative size of the 16 schools competing, placing fifth with 52 points and finishing ahead of the likes of Powell, Torrington, Lander and Jackson, and the Bulldogs broke one individual school record and two relay team records.
“We wanted to be in the top four. We didn’t quite make it, but at the same time we were happy with the performances,” coach Josh Sanders said. “We pretty much did what we could do.”
Junior Jacob Newman beat Collin McArthur’s school record in the 800 meters Friday morning, blazing the two laps in 1:57.37 and placing fourth in a competitive field. McArthur had run 1:58 in 2012.
“He ran really fast,” Sanders said. “It was just a really good field. There was nothing else he could do. He ran at the top of what he could do. He beat Keegan Her Many Horse’s 2A winning time.
“The boys would have cleaned house in 2A.”
Sophomore Kaleb Mayes also ran well, beating his personal record by five seconds and finishing 11th with a time of 2:04.07.
Newman now holds two individual school records, having set the record in the 1,600 meters earlier this season, and is also part of the two school record relay teams that set new marks at state. Newman placed sixth in the 1,600 Saturday with a time of 4:36.70, and senior AJ Dickson was right behind him in seventh at 4:37.67.
“AJ just had a really good senior year,” Sanders said. “He was nipping on Newman’s heels in the mile.”
Dickson also placed seventh in the 3,200 meters Thursday, covering the eight laps in 10:17.26 and beating his personal record by 15 seconds.
Record relay teams
Two Lovell relay teams toppled school records during the weekend. On Thursday, the 3,200-meter relay team of Dickson, Mayes, Merrill Beck and Newman placed fourth with a time of 8:33.07, beating the time of 8:34.49 set in 1989 by Tyrel Graves, Tony Christensen, Steve Montanez and JaDee Moncur.
Then in the final event of the meet Saturday afternoon the quartet of Mayes, Brandon Teter, Cade Bischoff and Newman placed fifth in the 1,600-meter relay with a time of 3:33.21, squeaking by the school record of 3:33.24 set by Chris Gerhardt, Dan Nicholls, Josh Bassett and Stacey Hiser in 1997.
“The guy who saved those relays was Kaleb Mayes,” Sanders said. “That kid came through in a huge way. His legs were tremendous. Caleb (Sanders) put him first in the 1,600 relay and he came through. He came through in the 4 by 800, as well.” Bischoff ran a tremendous leg in the 4 by 400, as well. He tore through the last 150 meters.”
Senior Eston Croft placed eighth in the 110-meter high hurdles with a time of 16.53 after running 16.69 in the preliminaries.
In field events, the Lovell jumpers were impressive, bringing home five medals, and freshman Brent Snyder placed second in the pole vault by clearing 12-6 – a personal record – in rainy conditions on Friday afternoon.
“Brent is one of those kids who I don’t think the weather really affects,” Sanders said. “There’s the approach on a slick runway, the plant and getting the pole in the (plant) box. Everything is difficult, but his mental attitude is ‘Whatever!’ That’s the way he is. It’s no big deal. That’s his mental approach.”
Sophomore Brandon Teter was in top form in the high jump, engaging in a battle with Kyle Pollock of Wheatland. Both cleared 6-4, but Pollock won on fewer misses.
“Brandon really came through big on that last jump at 6-4,” Sanders noted.
Three Bulldogs placed in the triple jump by going 41 feet. Teter placed third with a jump of 41-7½, senior Drake Welch placed fourth at 41-7¼ and senior Cade Bischoff placed sixth at 41-0¼, a personal record.
Bischoff was close to placing in two other events. He finished 10th in the long jump with a leap of 20-½ and he ran a personal-record time of 53.55 in the 400-meter dash, finishing 11th in prelims.
Grant wins again
In the girls division, the Lovell Lady Bulldogs placed eighth with 28 points led by senior Whitney Grant, who won the 3A pole vault after winning the event in 2A a year ago, becoming a two-time champion.
Grant cleared 10 feet Friday morning in wet, misty conditions and won the event over Abby Carver of Worland and Brooke Gordon of Cody. All three cleared 10 feet, but Grant had fewer misses.
Grant has had an amazing run in the pole vault. She placed fifth in 2A as a freshman at 8-6, second as a sophomore at 10 feet and first as a junior at 10-2, setting the Lovell school record, then winning the 3A title to cap her career on Friday.
“In big competitions she finds a way to get it done,” Sanders said. “Clearing 10 feet on her first attempt was big. It was a good event to win because it was a very competitive field. She didn’t panic with the rain. You could sense that the others wanted better conditions.”
Junior Jaclyn Caldwell won two medals in Casper, placing fifth in the 3,200 meters Thursday with a personal-record time of 12:08.24 and seventh in the 1,600 meters Saturday, covering the four laps in 5:35.07.
“Jaclyn ran well in the two mile and really set a good PR for herself. That was impressive,” Sanders said.
Senior Chayli McArthur set a personal record in the 300-meter low hurdles, running under 49 seconds for the first time and finishing eighth in a tough field with a time of 48.92 after qualifying sixth at 49.50 in the rain on Friday.
“She’s not a speed person, she’s just strong, and there is a difference,” Sanders said.
The team of Trysa Flood, Shelby Wardell and Charri and Chayli McArthur placed seventh in the 1,600-meter relay Saturday, but the quartet of Emily Snell, Ariko Arimura, Grant and Caitlyn Lundberg was disqualified in the 400-meter relay Friday afternoon after an exchange carried out of the exchange zone.
Grant finished 10th in the preliminaries in the 100-meter intermediate hurdles with a time of 17.69, and Snell finished 15th in the prelims in the 200-meter dash at 29.52.
As with the boys, the Lovell triple-jumpers had a great day Saturday with three medalists. Chayli McArthur fought off fatigue from running the 300 hurdles just a few minutes earlier to place fifth with a jump of 33-1¾, Kincaid Johnston placed sixth at 32-3, a PR, and Flood jumped 32-2½ to place seventh. Mandi Jo Baxendale had a strong jump of 30-1¾ to finish 13th.
“Chayli really showed me something in the triple jump,” Sanders said. “She had just run the 300 hurdles and her legs were just dead. She finally hit one on her last jump and moved up several spots. I was so happy with Trysa and Kincaid in the triple jump. They peaked well.”
Wardell finished 17th in the pole vault, clearing 7-6.
By David Peck