But for a last-minute decision to head West to Rock Springs, Saratoga High School’s tracksters might have taken the weekend off after scheduled meets were canceled due to weather.
At the Rock Springs meet, several Panthers earned rights to compete at state despite the travails involved in traveling that distance.
Saratoga’s head coach Rex Hohnholt said in an email the last-minute decision to attend the Ted Schroeder Invitational in Rock Springs itself looked like it may be fraught with difficulty. Near Rawlins, the team’s bus driver had to contend with about 4 inches of snow on the road. “I began to wonder what we had gotten ourselves into,” Hohnholt told the Saratoga Sun in a phone interview. “But we got a little west of there and it cleared up. By the time we got to Rock Springs, it was beautiful weather for a track meet.”
Two lady Panthers competing in individual events earned rights to represent their school at state. Mychaela Jackman turned in a seventh place finish in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 18.14 seconds which earned her a spot in state. Taylor Bennet placed fifth in the triple jump with a distance of 31’3.5”, also worthy of a trip to Casper at the end of May for State.
In team events, the Lady Tigers also did well. A 4x400 meter relay team comprised of Shaelee Hamann, Katie Loose, Jenna Dew and Alicia Zaragoza took fourth place and qualified for state with a time of 4:42.15. Loose, Dew and Zaragoza all qualified for state in the same event in at the Natrona Invite a week earlier.
The girls’ performance in the relay was about a 15-second improvement over their time last week, Hohnholt said.
Hohnholt said over the course of the season, it is important to get as many teams qualified in relays as possible, as that affords the coach options at State to choose the best team for each event. Each athlete can only participate in four events at State, Hohnholt said.
On the boys’ side, two Panthers won individual accolades. Sam Schneider made a sixth place high jump of 5’8”, good for a place in State. Alex Ziegler took second in the 400-meter dash with a time of 52.84. That will take Ziegler to State.
Two boys’ teams earned a position in State with two different relays. Ben Fairbanks, Morgan Rempel, Logan Seahorn and Jeremy Detterer took fourth place in the 1,600-meter relay, good for State. Logan Seahorn, Ben Fairbanks, Jeremy Detterer and Gage Bartlett earned a berth at State for the 3,200-meter relay.
“We’re doing really, really well,” Hohnholt said of the team’s performance thus far in the season.
This week, there are two scheduled meets for the Saratoga Panthers. The team is scheduled to attend the Okie Blanchard Invitational in Cheyenne Friday, and the Guernsey-Sunrise Invite in Guernsey Saturday. About half the team will not attend the meets since many students are going on a spring break trip to Europe, Hohnholt said.
For those not going to Europe, Hohnholt says he is hopeful more athletes will earn spots at State as the season approaches the halfway point.