Grizzlies prep for regional track meet in Lander

For coach Tobee Christiansen and his staff, it’s almost a “good problem” – having a number of athletes who are competitive in multiple events – and with the regional track meet looming, coaches are working to plug in the right pieces before heading to Lander for the 2A West Regional Friday and Saturday.

“We’re going to have to get creative this week on how we do events,” Christiansen said. “A lot of girls are solid in more than four events, and even when they prequalify, you still have to run them in the events at Regionals.”

The Grizzlies used Friday’s Bobcat Invitational to iron a few things out, and Christiansen said it is good to see the team getting healthy.

Rocky Mountain sophomore Mikayla McWhirter-Kitchens fires the shot during the Riverside Invitational earlier this year. The Grizzlies will compete at the 2A West Regional track and field meet in Lander this weekend. David Peck photo
Rocky Mountain sophomore Mikayla McWhirter-Kitchens fires the shot during the Riverside Invitational earlier this year. The Grizzlies will compete at the 2A West Regional track and field meet in Lander this weekend.
David Peck photo

In the boys division, the Grizzly middle- to long-distance runners were outstanding in Thermop as senior John Higgins placed fourth in both the 800 meters at 2:10.02, a personal record, and in the 1,600 meters at 4:55.53, also a PR, while sophomore Dominic Twomey placed fifth in the 1,600 at 4:55.93, a PR time just behind Higgins, and sixth in the 3,200 meters with a personal-record time of 11:00.22.

“John and Dominic both ran under 5 minutes in the 1,600, so that was sweet,” Christiansen said. “John was in the lead the whole time, and Dominic ran right behind him. It was a great race and was neat to see. Both of them have been shooting to drop below 5 minutes.

“Dominic is continuing to improve in the 3,200, and John does a great job staying on pace in the 800. His 200 (meter) splits are almost right on where we tell him we want them.”

The Rocky 400-meter relay team of Kirby Winland, Cannon Simmons, Cole Simmons and Caleb Horrocks placed third with a time of 46.22, about a second slower than they ran at the Riverside meet a couple of weeks earlier.

“A couple of their handoffs weren’t great,” Christiansen said.

In field events, Cole Simmons entered the triple jump for the first time this season and won the event with a personal-record jump of 41-5½, prequalifying for State in the event. Christiansen said the sophomore has been working back from hip and quad injuries.

“We laid off some things to try to get him back in shape,” Christiansen said. “He’s feeling pretty good right now.”

Freshman Jonathan Allred cleared 6 feet in the high jump for the fourth time this season, and Christiansen said he had a 6-2 jump in him if he can make a mental jump.

“He has a mental hurdle (to clear) – jumping higher than you are tall,” the coach said. “It’s playing mind games with him.”

Working with a new pole for the first time, senior Caleb Horrocks cleared 10-6 in the pole vault to finish 10th but couldn’t clear 11 feet, his personal record, as he adjusts to the pole, Christiansen said. Kirby Winland did get a PR at 9 feet and nearly cleared 9-6.

“Kirby had 9-6 cleared by a long way, but we’re still trying to correct his form,” the coach said.

Zac Zier won the shot put with a throw of 41-2 and was fourth in the discus with a toss of 118-6.

Other boys results Friday included:

100m dash – Cannon Simmons ninth, 12.03; 200m dash – Cole Simmons ninth, 24.37, Kirby Winland 25th, 26.12; 400m dash – Tristan Jewell 17th, 57.18; 1,600 meters – Miguel Gurrola 25th, 5:57.34; long jump – Jewell seventh, 18-8¼; shot put – Alecx Christensen 19th, 33-6, Austin Grohman 31st, 31-5; discus – Christensen 23rd, 94-0.

Girls results

On the girls side of things, Christiansen said Marissa Arnold had a great start in the 100-meter dash and placed seventh with a season-best time of 13.70. She also ran the 400-meter dash for the first time and placed fifth at 1:05.17, just two seconds off prequalification time.

In the hurdles, senior Mikaela Hocker placed eighth in the 100-meter intermediate hurdles with a time of 18.35, and Livia Higgins placed sixth in the 300-meter low hurdles at 53.20.

The 400-meter relay team of Arnold, Angelina Helms, Brenda Timmons and Pepper Lewis placed fourth with a time of 54.15, while the 1,600-meter relay team of Marissa Arnold, Lewis, Summer Johnson and Abigail Arnold ran a season-best time of 4:42.88 to place seventh.

The top finisher in the field events was Lewis, who placed fourth in the high jump by clearing 4-9. Brianna Brumwell was sixth at 4-7 and Helms eighth, clearing 4-7, as well.

Senior Jennifer Parker just missed the top eight in the shot put, finishing ninth with a throw of 30-3¾. Timmons was 10th in the long jump at 14-2¾, and just missed the 29-foot mark in the triple jump, finishing 12th with a jump of 28-11½, a personal record.

Other girls results Friday included:

100m dash – Angelina Helms 11th, 14.17, Pepper Lewis 17th, 14.27; 200m dash – Helms 10th, 29.37, Naomi Alcala 27th, 33.59; 400m dash – Alcala 22nd, 1:16.71; 100m hurdles – Livia Higgins 14th, 18.93, Abigail Arnold 18th, 19.76; long jump – Maddy Hocker 25th, 12-3¾ (PR); triple jump – Summer Johnson 18th, 27-7; shot put – Mikayla McWhirter 19th, 27-6, Mariah Mader 28th, 26-1; discus – Jennifer Parker 20th, 79-2½, Mader 32nd, 65-2¼.

Regional track meet

The Grizzlies will travel to Lander this weekend for the 2A West Regional Track and Field Meet. Action begins at 11 a.m. Friday and continues Saturday at 9 a.m.

State Track is May 21-23 in Casper.

By David Peck