Tigers chase awards, overtake records
Regionals in Lander a boon as Noelle Peterson breaks school record in shot put, Paige Powell sets school record in long jump, Team set to send 15 to State competition
The Regional track meet in Lander proved a fertile hunting ground for the Encampment Tigers track team, who took top honors, set records and sent 15 of 18 athletes on the team to the State finals in Casper.
“I’m very pleased and proud of the kids,” Kegan Willford, Encampment’s head track coach, said. “Our goal was to peak at the right time and a lot of our kids did that over the weekend.”
Of seven Lady Tigers who went to regionals, six wound up qualifying for State.
Noelle Peterson made a first place shot put throw, earning her the title of regional champion. She also broke the school’s record in the event with her 36’4” throw. Peterson also earned a place at State for discus.
Senior McKenzie Powell took first place in two events, second in another, and rounded out her performance with a third place win. Powell took first in the 800-meter run, earning the title of regional champion and she took first in the triple jump, again getting the nod as a regional champ.
She also placed second in the 400-meter run and third in the 1,600-meter run. Powell qualified to compete in State in all four events in which she competed over the weekend.
Up-and-coming Encampment athlete Hailey Barkhurst took second in shot put and discus, and earned a berth at State for both her efforts.
McKenzie Powell’s younger sister Paige took first in the high jump and the long jump. For both, she was regional champion; her performance in the long jump also set a new school record.
As a team, the Lady Tigers scored 99 points in the event, good for second place.
The Gentlemen Tigers also had a good weekend in Lander, with eight of 11 athletes earning spots at State next weekend.
Wyatt Cox’s 125’4” discus throw landed him in first place as regional champ, with a spot at State. Cox will also compete in the 100-meter dash and shot put at State.
Sean Stewart, Kyler Miller, Justin Bonner, Reid Schroeder and Jarom Herring also earned places at state in individual events. Jackson and Cody Cor also will be going to State for their efforts in the 4x400-meter relay, and the 4x800-meter relay.
Willford said the team’s performance this weekend met and exceeded his expectations, and the students’ performance has ensured morale is high heading into State.
“Going into regional track it can be a pressured situation with kids looking to qualify and get better placement for State,” Willford said. “They really rose to the occasion.”
This week, the athletes will continue to train, but Willford said he won’t be expecting them to push too hard. Everyone has fallen into their best events he said, and it is important the team show up in Casper with fresh legs ready to perform.
The team will likely be departing for Casper Thursday, but with bad weather predicted on that day, they could leave as early as Wednesday.
Either way, Willford predicts good results, saying team morale is high coming off such a successful weekend at regionals. “It’s an exciting time to see how you stack up with 1A teams,” he said.
The Encampment Tigers will be on the prowl for some State championships at State Finals in Casper May 18-20.