A high school trip to Europe for spring break meant a smaller group of athletes from Saratoga High School (SHS) were fielded this weekend at two meets east of here in Cheyenne and Guernsey.
The team, whose roster was truncated by the European vacation, headed to Cheyenne Friday for the Okie Blanchard Invite where most of the students who competed did so for the junior varsity team. Saturday at the Guernsey Invite, the team ran as a varsity squad since the meet was a smaller affair, according to head coach Rex Hohnholt.
“It was really good for some of the younger kids to have some success down in these meets,” Hohnholt said. “Our JV kids competed against kids their own age and skill level.”
At the Cheyenne event, SHS fielded 15 boys and eight girls. All but two girls ran as JV athletes, and on the boys’ side, four competed as varsity with the rest turning out for the JV team.
Taylor Bennett scored a first and second place JV finish for the 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash. Jenna Dew took second in the JV division for the high jump and the triple jump.
On the boys’ side, Logan Seahorn took second in the 800-meter run, and rounded out his performance with a seventh place win in the high jump.
In Guernsey Saturday, the team reported as a varsity team, with 10 boys and seven girls.
Alex Ziegler took first place in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:07.86. This performance qualified Ziegler for State in that event.
For the Lady Panthers, Ashlynn Johnson brought the glory with a first place win in the 3,200-meter run. Her time in the “two mile” was 13:35.71, good for a ticket to State.
This weekend’s events also marked the halfway point for the track and field season. There are only five weekends left for non-postseason competition. There are six weekends currently behind the Panthers.
Hohnholt said the athletes had done well. “There were some personal bests this weekend,” Hohnholt said, adding as a coach, the event gave his younger competitors an opportunity to compete and discover events they have an aptitude for and can eventually grow into.
“I thought our kids did awfully well for the number we had,” Hohnholt said. “I saw some good things and the thing I’m seeing most is the toughness of the kids: it’s really a refreshing bunch of kids to work with.”
Next week, as spring break wraps up and students return from Europe or time spent with their families, Hohnholt says he hopes to start getting athletes into the events that best match their skills and aptitudes. Students—even those abroad—were given suggestions on exercises designed to keep the students in peak condition.
In weeks coming up, the goal is to get everybody into events where they will help the team most during the last weeks of the season and school year.
It isn’t easy with a group like the one he has this year, Hohnholt admits. The athletes, he said, keep stepping up to the plate, working hard and impressing him with a vast variety of performances.
The hard part, for Hohnholt, will be deciding who does what events in the future to best benefit the students, but also the team.
The team’s next meet will be April 21 for the Douglas Invite in Douglas. The Panthers have next weekend off.