Regional champs: Fourth straight sweep for Lovell thinclads

[caption id="attachment_8326" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Lovell senior Kade Englert clears the bar in the high jump Saturday in Lander. Englert placed fifth with a jump of 6 feet. Lovell senior Kade Englert clears the bar in the high jump Saturday in Lander. Englert placed fifth with a jump of 6 feet.[/caption]

Those brooms are getting a workout. For the fourth consecutive year, the Lovell Bulldogs swept both the boys and girls titles at the 2A West Regional Track and Field Meet in Lander Friday and Saturday.

The Lovell girls dominated the field of 10, scoring 184 points and finishing 99 points ahead of second-place Thermopolis, which scored 85. The Lovell boys had a stronger test from Thermop, finishing 15 points ahead of the Bobcats, 139-124.

LHS will send a remarkable 33 athletes to Casper this week for the state track meet, including six who qualified in four events.

“This was Lovell’s ninth regional title in five years,” Coach Josh Sanders said, noting five in a row for the Lovell girls. And despite the dominance of the Lovell girls, Sanders was just as proud of the Lovell boys, who lost a number of seniors to graduation from a regional and state title team.

“I don’t know if I would have predicted this because we lost so many points with those seniors,” Sanders said. “The ones returning were motivated to do really well. We had a lot of kids who were not involved in track before that became involved.

“That helped us tremendously.”

Some, like Garet Fowler and Drake Welch, came out for track for the first time. Others found events that suited them.

One of the top performers was sophomore Jacob Newman, who is going to State in four events. Newman placed third in the 800 meters with a personal-record time of 2:07.80, placed second in the 3,200 meters at 10:50.32, a PR, and was a member of Lovell’s third-place 3,200-meter relay team along with Kaleb Mayes, Alex Sawaya and Merrill Beck.

But Newman made his mark in the 1,600 meters Saturday afternoon, when he traveled in a pack of three with Keegan Her Many Horses of Wyoming Indian High School and Harley Rhodes of Thermopolis.  The trio stayed together for most of the race, with Her Many Horses in the lead, but in the final 200 meters, Newman outsprinted the other two to take the victory with a time of 4:51.54.

“Jacob ran a smart race,” Sanders said. “That (mid-afternoon) is a difficult time of day to run a mile. The top three were pretty slow on the first lap, actually for the first little while. Each of them was trying to draft off the others. On the last lap Jake waited until the appropriate time to kick it in, around the 200-meter mark.

“Some kids will go too early, like when they hear the bell for the final lap. I’m glad he waited. Caleb (Sanders) does a good job helping kids understand what a smart race is.”

Freshman Brandon Teter had a strong meet and will go to State in three events. Teter set a personal record in the high jump and placed third, clearing 6-2. He also placed third in the triple jump at 40-10½ and eighth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.16 seconds after running 12.12 in the preliminaries.

“That was a really competitive field in the high jump,” Sanders said. “Seven kids cleared six feet. Brandon rose to the occasion. He had a good meet all around.”

One of the newcomers to the team this year was junior Garet Fowler, who came on strong this year in the throws and placed third in the shot put Saturday with a toss of 43-4. He also placed eighth in the discus to qualify for State with a throw of 106 feet.

“Garet was in the top three in the shot, and our discus guys were both in the top four,” Sanders said. “They work hard. They lift a lot of weights.”

Junior Daniel Strom placed second in the discus with a throw of 129-3, and Aaron Monterde was fourth at 123-11. Senior Brandon Wolvington, who picked up the shot put this season, placed fifth with a throw of 41-4½, a PR.

“Who would have thought that?” Sanders marveled. “He went out and tried it one week and was pretty good at it.”

After missing several meets, senior Kade Englert placed in three events at Regionals. Englert won the pole vault at 12 feet, placed fourth in the long jump at 19-3½ and placed fifth in the high jump, clearing 6 feet to tie his personal record. Wolvington was eighth in the high jump at 5-10.

“We’re glad to see Kade back in the long jump,” Sanders said. “He had a little hiatus where he wasn’t in the top four, but now he is back.”

Senior McKay Mayes had been a thrower over the years, Sanders said, then took on the task of learning the 100-meter high hurdles. He came on strong and placed fifth Saturday with a time of 18.91 after running 18.65 in the prelims.

“McKay has been with us for four years, and this is his first time going to State,” Sanders said. “He changed horses in mid-stream in his senior year and decided to try a different event, he and Derek.”

Derek Phelps also switched to the hurdles, though he did it earlier in his career. Phelps placed sixth in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 19.32 after running a personal-record 17.34 in the preliminaries.

“Derek was patient and kept working on it,” Sanders said. “He made significant improvement, not small improvement, significant improvement. Those two seniors stuck with it and pushed themselves. I’m excited to have them go to the state competition.”

Eston Croft ran the third fastest time in the 110 hurdles in the prelims at 17.01 but was DQ’d in the finals. He had already prequalified for State in the event.

Like Englert, junior AJ Dickson returned to the team after missing a few meets, placing fourth in the 1,600 meters with a time of 5:09.17 and fifth in the 3,200 at 11:24.21.

“We haven’t had him for a while,” Sanders said. “He’s not up to where he was during indoor, but we’ll see what happens at State.”

Sanders also noted the personal record run by freshman Kaleb Mayes in the 800 meters. Mayes placed seventh, covering the two laps in 2:10.15.

“He’s a tall kid with really long legs,” Sanders said. “He’s a smooth runner. He has improved his racing style. He used to do a monster kick late. He’s balanced that out now.”

Juniors Cade Bischoff and Drake Welch placed in the same three events. Bischoff placed second in the long jump with a leap of 19-6, and Welch was fifth at 18-10½. Welch placed fourth in the triple jump with a jump of 40-2¼, and Bischoff was sixth at 39-10½.

Bischoff placed fifth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.99 (11.81 in prelims), and Welch was sixth at 12.03 (11.98 in trials).

Junior Andrew Mayes placed seventh in the 3,200 meters with a time of 11:25.20, his first two-mile of the season, and sophomore Britton Woody set a new personal record in the pole vault, clearing 9 feet to place eighth.

Freshman Tyler Teter placed eighth in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.32 (25.11 in prelims).

Girls show power

Five Lovell girls – senior Kim Shumway, juniors Chayli McArthur and Whitney Grant, sophomore Caitlyn Lundberg and freshman Trysa Flood will compete in three events at State this week, and three others – junior Ameesha Anderson, sophomore Jaclyn Caldwell and freshman Shelby Wardell, have qualified in three events each.

Shumway was her usual dominant self. The UW-bound runner won three individual events and ran the anchor leg of the first-place 1,600-meter relay team.

Friday, Shumway won the 800 meters by more than 10 seconds, recording a time of 2:22.06, then qualified for finals in the 200 (27.19) and 400 (1:02.14) meters. Saturday, Shumway won the 400 at 56.86 and the 200 in 26.38. She then helped the 1,600-meter relay team capture first place with a time of 4:15.85, joining Chayli McArthur, Shelby Wardell and Trysa Flood.

Junior Whitney Grant was also outstanding in Lander. She won the pole vault at 9-6 and the 100-meter intermediate hurdles with a time of 17.15, placed third in the 100-meter dash at 13.98 second (13.70 in prelims) and ran a leg of the Lovell sprint (400m) relay team, which placed first with a time of 53.67 seconds. Also on the team were Ameesha Anderson, Emily Snell and Caitlyn Lundberg.

“Whitney was in four events and was a regional champion in two of them (plus the relay),” Sanders said. “She’s not just a vaulter, she’s a pretty good sprinter and hurdler.”

Junior Chayli McArthur had a strong meet. Besides the first-place mile relay team, she won the long jump at 15-11¾, placed second in the triple jump at 33-5 and placed second in the 300-meter low hurdles, recording a time of 50.48.

Lundberg is off to Casper in four events. Besides the sprint relay, she placed fourth in the 200-meter dash with a time of 28.90 and sixth in the 100 at 14.13 (13.83 in prelims). She also placed fourth in the long jump with a best effort of 14-9¼.

Coming on like gangbusters this season was freshman Trysa Flood. Besides the sprint relay team, Flood will go to Casper in three individual events. She placed third in the 200-meter dash with a time of 28.67 (28.57 in prelims) and fourth in the 400-meter dash with a personal-record time of 1:04.65. She placed ninth in the triple jump (top eight to State) at 30-½ but had already prequalified for State.

“We like Trysa,” Sanders said. “She has a great attitude. She is very competitive and wants to excel, almost to a fault. I really like the way she has embraced the 400 meters.”

Sophomore Jaclyn Caldwell won both the 1,600 and 3,200 meters in Lander and also ran a leg of the fourth-place 3,200-meter relay team, joining Madison Harper, Jazmyn See and Charri McArthur to cover the eight laps in 11:07.66.

Caldwell won the 1,600 going away with a time of 5:35.77, beating Charlene Brown of Wyoming Indian by eight seconds. She also won the 3,200 easily with a personal-record time of 12:14.63, beating Brown this time by 49 seconds.

“That was a fast two-mile,” Sanders said. “She ran almost even mile splits.”

Sanders said he is impressed with how junior Ameesha Anderson has come along this year. Besides the sprint relay team, she is going to State in two individual events, placing fourth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 14.01 (13.87 in prelims) and sixth in the 200-meter dash at 29.09.

“Ameesha has come a long way,” the coach said. “Her niche was the 4 by 1, but now she’s also (going to State) in the 100 and 200.

“We have four girls going in the 200, four of the eight. That was kind of cool.”

Another freshman to impress in Lander was Shelby Wardell. Wardell placed seventh in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:05.52 (1:05.19 prelims) and second in the pole vault, clearing 7 feet, to go along with the winning mile relay team.

Other state qualifiers included Madison Harper, sixth in the 100-meter hurdles, 18.30; Savanna Savage, fourth in the high jump, 4-8; Emily Snell, third in the pole vault, 6-6; and Sierra Montanez, eighth in the discus, 81-3.

State track

The state track meet begins at noon Thursday with the 3,200-meter run and the 2A boys discus. Action continues Friday and Saturday at 9 a.m. each day.

Sanders said the girls team is the heavy favorite in Casper, while the boys will have a battle on their hands.

“There are a lot of good individual battles we’re excited about,” he said.

Other competitors in Lander included:

Boys Division

100m dash – Tristen Snyder 14th, 12.54; 200m dash – Snyder 12th, 25.44 (PR), Richard Mangali 23rd, 30.37; 400m dash – Dylan Ohman 14th, 1:00.46, Alex Sawaya 15th, 1:01.17, Jaccob Mickelson 16th, 1:01.20, Chance Wilson 18th, 1:03.90 (PR); 800 meters – Sawaya ninth, 2:17.43 (PR), Merrill Beck 12th, 2:21.16; 1,600 meters – Beck 12th, 5:20.51 (PR), Andrew Mayes 13th, 5:21.20; 3,200 meters – Kyle Burton 15th, 5:41.64; 300m hurdles – Derek Phelps 10th prelims, 48.43, Tyler Teter 11th prelims, 49.56, McKay Mayes DQ; 400m relay (Cade Bischoff, Snyder, Ty Teter, Drake Welch), DQ; 1,600m relay (Snyder, Wolvington, B. Teter, Jaccob Mickelson) sixth, 3:49.11; long jump – Britton Woody 17th, 16-7; triple jump – Kaleb Mayes 13th, 37-0 (PR); shot put – Kyle Burton 16th, 33-11¼, Jaret Collins 19th, 32-8; discus – Calin McArthur 11th, 99-2.

Girls Division

100m dash – Emily Snell tie for ninth in prelims, 14.29; 400m dash – Sami Newman 12th, 1:11.82; 800 – Charri McArthur ninth, 2:41.39 (PR), Jazmyn See 18th, 3:00.29; 1,600 – Afton George 13th, 7:01.45 (PR); 100m hurdles – Kendra Price 15th in prelims, 20.15; high jump – Price ninth, 4-4, Ivy Abraham 10th, 4-2, Mya Meier, NH; long jump – Abraham 12th, 13-10, Snell 13th, 13-8¾; shot put – Sierra Montanez ninth, 28-2 (PR), Sami Stevens 15th, 24-7½, Aly Schneider 16th, 22-11½; discus – Stevens 11th, 80-1 (PR), Paige Schmitt 17th, 59-5 (PR), Schneider 18th, 55-5.

By David Peck