Encampment track goes the distance


Photo courtesy Green River Star

The Encampment High School track team competed this weekend at the Green River Invite in Green River where they put in a strong effort but saw their success somewhat stymied by stiff competition from other teams.

Kegan Willford, Encampment High School track coach, said that large meetings such as the Green River Invite bring larger schools out to compete, and that can affect smaller teams' standings at the end of the day.

"It was a really big meet, there were six 4A schools there, as many 3A schools, so you know you get those big schools their competition is going to be very competitive at that point in time," Wilford said.

The girls' team took 14th place overall with the boys' team not ranking at the Green River outing.

The girls' team finished with eight points which landed them in 14th place for the meet, with a fourth place win in the 4x800 meter relay run by Cassidy Little, Micaiah Pantle, Ashlynn Johnson and McKenzie Powell in 11 minutes and 3 seconds.

Willford said that he has seen some of the best performance improvements in distance events. The athletes are running a lot and getting in better shape as the season has progressed, he said.

"A lot of our distance kids, you can see a lot of improvements there," Willford said. "They do run such far distances so you can see improvements on a weekly basis, and that's where I see the most improvement thus far."

The girls' efforts were also buoyed by Ashlynn Johnson's 1600 meter run, which she completed in 6:34 - good for a seventh place finish, and McKenzie Powell's eighth place 200 meter dash that she ran in 28.95.

Willford said in this outing, the team tried mixing things up a little bit to get athletes trying events new to them. But as the team approaches the end of the season, Willford expects to begin settling his team members more firmly into the events they are expected to compete in at regionals.

Willford also plans to have the team concentrate on running more relays to find the right combination of runners to perform as well as possible in those events as the team begins to get closer to regionals, seeing relays as the team's best opportunity to pick up points as they race toward regional competition.

Willford said the team was well-positioned to perform well at regionals because of significant and steady improvement in individual performances, as well as finding the right combinations of athletes for cooperative events.

"I think (Division) 1A is pretty wide open this year," Willford said. "A lot of the big powerhouses graduated a lot of kids last year, so I think our outlook for regionals is looking pretty positive right now."

Encampment's next scheduled meet is the Burt Willford Memorial, which will be held from 8:30-12:30, April 30 at Saratoga High School.


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