Traveling Tigers trip top times
The Encampment Tiger track team had a busy final weekend for the regular season, with a meet Friday in Thermopolis and another meet Saturday in Lander. Two top-10 ranked Tigers, senior McKenzie Powell and freshman Reid Schroeder also attended the Wyoming Track Classic Tuesday in Casper.
The week was busy with lots of travel, but Kegan Willford, head coach of Encampment’s track team, said the goal was to take things a little bit easier and let athletes get prepared for Regionals which begin Friday in Lander. “I think we’re peaking at just the right time for Regionals and State,” Willford said, adding he was very happy with many of the performances turned in over the weekend.
“Performance wise I was really happy,” he said. “In fact it’s made me really excited for Regionals to see how the kids can do, what places they can get and that sort of thing.”
Tuesday in Casper, McKenzie Powell took first place amongst top-rated athletes in the long jump, with a distance of 34’6.50”. She then took sixth in the 400-meter dash. Freshman Schroeder took fourth place in the 3200-meter run, with a time of 10:28.57.
These performances give credence to Willford’s optimistic outlook for the postseason, since the meet in Casper was only open to top-10 ranked athletes from around the state.
The meets in Thermopolis and Lander were not restricted to top-10 athletes, but nevertheless were large meets that gave the team a taste of what to expect at Regionals and State, Willford said.
As of press time, results from the Bobcat Invite in Thermopolis were not available to the press or coaches because of a computer problem with the timekeeping software. Meet organizers were trying to correct the error.
At the Shane Brock Invite in Lander, the team also got to experience the dynamism and competition of a large meet. The Tigers met the challenge with a plucky resolve, taking home several top-10 finishes, and having students break school records.
Paige Powell took first in the high jump and second in the triple jump at the meet. Her sister McKenzie scored a first place in the 800-meter run.
Over the weekend, the school’s shot put record was topped twice. Noelle Peterson broke the record Friday and Hailey Barkhurst broke it again the next day.
“I thought Sean Stewart had a really good run in the 800,” Willford said, adding it was a personal best for Stewart. “Justin Bonner had a really good time in the 400, a very competitive time.”
Rounding out the weekend, Reid Schroeder took second in the 3,200-meter run and Jarom Herring took third in the 1,600. Bonner also had another top finish with his seventh place finish in the 400-meter dash, and Wyatt Cox rounded out the effort with a fifth place shot put throw, lobbing the shot 42’9.5”.
With the postseason upon his team, Willford said the team will be backing off a little bit to allow the athletes to not get burnt out—or worse, injured—before the postseason events.
“We want to maintain as much as possible,” he said. “We want our kids to have their best performances of the year coming up in Regionals so it’s going to be an easier week on the kids. We’re not going to completely stop, but we’re going to back off a bit on them.”
At Regionals, the goal will also be to allow the athletes to find their niche event where they have the best chance of qualifying for State, Willford said.
Regionals begin Friday, and the team will again travel to Lander for the event. They continue through until Saturday.
State Finals begin the following week in Casper May 18 and continue through until May 20.