The Rocky Mountain Grizzlies had a shot at a state track title over the weekend, and while they fell just a little short and finished second, it was still the highest finish in the history of the Grizz at state track and is something to be proud of, coach Tobee Christiansen said.
The Rocky boys battled the eventual champion Lovell Bulldogs in the points count during three days in Casper and eventually Lovell won the meet with 103 points to Rocky’s 85. Big Horn was third with 75 points followed by Upton with 63 and Kemmerer with 51.
For Christiansen and the Grizz, feelings were mixed following the weekend.
“I’m excited that our kids did well and took second,” Coach C said. “It was a great meet and the kids performed well. But it’s kind of like finding a ten-dollar bill but realizing your buddy found a hundred.
“We needed to be flawless to win it and needed some things to go our way.”
A spring snowstorm that hit the state Thursday pushed all field events to Friday and Saturday and left only two events on the schedule for Thursday – the 3,200 and the 3,200 relay. Friday was still raw and wet as meet workers did their best to dry runways and throwing rings. The weather was much better on Saturday, with little or no precipitation as the storm had moved out.
The Rocky girls also competed well at State but didn’t have the depth to place in the top four. Rocky Mountain finished 11th out of 19 scoring teams with 34 points.
Grizz deep and strong
When asked about highlights that come to mind from a weekend of success, Christiansen said the 1-2-3 finish in the high jump “sticks out in my mind” and added, “It was neat standing down there and watching that and having other coaches from around the state talk about it. It was fun to see.”
Junior Jonathan Allred matched his performance from the regional meet and won the high jump by clearing 6-4. Junior Lathan May was second at 6-2, and Ethan May also cleared 6-2 but placed third on misses. At the end, it was just the three Grizzlies vying for the top positions.
It’s a friendly rivalry among the three, Christiansen said.
“You could see ‘em high-five one another when they cleared a height and talk to each other when they missed,” he noted.
Another highlight was the performance of junior Tristan Jewell, who went to State in four events and medaled in all four. Jewell had a very busy Saturday. He won the 110-meter high hurdles in the morning, placed seventh in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles about an hour later with a personal record time, placed eighth in the 400-meter dash early in the afternoon, then immediately placed second in the triple jump with a personal record jump.
Jewell had qualified for finals in the 110 hurdles Friday with a time of 17.14, then ran a 16.02 Saturday to beat two Big Horn hurdlers. Rocky senior Gehrig Sweat placed seventh with a time of 17.06.
Turning right around and running the 300-meter hurdles, Jewell ran a personal record time of 41.78 to place seventh and break his own school record of 41.81 set earlier this year, and Sweat was just ahead of him, breaking the record also to place sixth at 41.73.
Right after lunch Jewell quickly got into the long jump, which was scheduled at the same time as the 400-meter finals. He hit a personal record jump of 20-5 ½, then hurried to the staging area and ran the 400-meter dash. He pulled a hip muscle about halfway through the race and finished eighth at 57.44 after running the prelims in 55.02 the day before and a personal record of 52.73 earlier in the season.
Returning to the long jump, he didn’t jump again with the injured hip but was ready to do so if he needed to protect his placing. The jump held up for second place.
“He hadn’t been in the 20s yet this season, but he popped one,” Christiansen said of Jewell’s long jump performance.
“That kid deserved it (placing in four events). He put in all the reps and all the work. If there was one kids who deserved a state championship it was him because of the extra work he put in.”
The Grizz went 2-4-5 in the long jump as, after Jewell, Cole Simmons sailed 20-2½ to place fourth and Lathan May 19-9 to place fifth.
Simmons also popped a PR in the triple jump, leaping 41-8½ to place second.
“He got the 41-8 in the finals,” Christiansen noted. “He was sitting fifth heading into the finals.”
Simmons was close to making the finals in the 100- and 200-meter dash. He finished ninth in the preliminaries of the 100 Friday with a time of 12.11 and 10th in the prelims of the 200, running the half lap in 24.53. Likewise, sophomore Skyler Drewes almost placed in the 800 meters, finishing ninth with a time of 2:08.79.
Senior Dominic Twomey placed in two long-distance races to wrap up his high school career. He placed fifth in the 3,200 on a cold and snowy Thursday with a time of 11:26.93 and eighth on Saturday in the 1,600, running the “metric mile” in 5:01.41.
Throwers were affected as much if not more than any other competitors by the wet weather due to wet and slick throwing rings. Consequently, almost all discus competitors threw about 20 feet under their PRs on Friday, Christiansen noted. Rocky senior Zac Zier threw 137-8 in the discus Friday to place second, and he placed fourth Saturday in the shot put, heaving the shot 46-5¾.
“They had really poor conditions,” the coach said. “They all threw under the same conditions; it was really poor for everybody.”
Other Rocky boys results at the state track meet were:
400m dash – Skyler Drewes 14th in prelims, 56.26; 1,600 meters – Damon Watts 15th, 5:20.05 (PR); triple jump – Travis Simmons 10th, 39-0; high jump – Dominic Twomey tie for 12th, 5-6; discus – Austin Grohman 16th, 102-10.
Girls at State
Christiansen said one of the main highlights of the Rocky Mountain girls was the performance of the sprint relay team. The quartet of Angelina Helms, Teagan Townsend, Marissa Arnold and Aubrianne Crosby placed third with a time of 53.23.
“They overachieved,” Coach C said. “They were seeded sixth and placed third. They ran a good, clean race. It was pretty safe. They’ve been consistent.”
Helms had a strong meet. The junior placed third in the 200-meter dash Saturday with a personal record time of 26.97 and seventh in the 100-meter dash at 13.42.
The 1,600-meter relay team of Crosby, Arnold, Townsend and Helms placed eighth in a strong field and broke the school record set the week before in Lander with a time of 4:24.76.
“They beat the school record by almost two seconds,” Christiansen noted.
Two seniors wrapped up their high school careers with success in field events. Brianna Brumwell placed third in the high jump, clearing 4-10, and Mikayla Campbell broke a school record in the discus that had stood for 19 years, throwing 107-10 to edge the record of 107-9 set in 1998 by exchange student Konni Stauden and placed sixth at State.
“She’s been gunning for that all year long, and I was glad to see her get it,” Christiansen said. “I know Ryan (Boettcher) was excited for her. He was wanting her to hit it all year. He does a good job. All of my assistants do. They’re a fun group to be around – for the athletes, too.”
Campbell also came through in the shot put, placing second with a strong throw of 34-5.
Sophomore Jade Sweat placed eighth in the pole vault, clearing 8 feet.
“Jade got on the podium in the pole vault,” Christiansen noted. “She’s kind of finding her niche there where she’s getting used to the pole bending and the feel of what it really feels like in the vault.
“Aubrianne (Crosby) and Teagan (Townsend) both went to State in four events (as freshmen), so that’s exciting. I thought they performed well.”
Other Rocky girls results at the state track meet were:
200m dash – Aubrianne Crosby 14th in prelims, 29.36; 400m dash – Crosby 12th in prelims, 1:08.04, Jacque Leonhardt 15th in prelims, 1:10.42; 100m intermediate hurdles – Livia Higgins 11th in prelims, 19.09, Teagan Townsend 13th in prelims, 19.77, Malia Hedges 14th in prelims, 20.13; 300m low hurdles – Townsend 10th in prelims, 52.71, Higgins 11th in prelims, 52.92; triple jump – Brianna Brumwell 16th, 26-1½; high jump ? Gabie Christensen 12th, 4-6, Mya Meier 15th, 4-4; shot put – Christensen 17th, 26-4¾.
By David Peck