Behind the lines….The Taper

Guest Posts on County 10 are provided by contributors and the opinions, thoughts, and comments within are their own and may not necessarily reflect those of County 10.

It’s regional track week, a time when all those ridiculous indoor workouts back in March and April come to fruition, hopefully on warm spring days. The reality is that the Wolverines will compete in wind and rain on the Broncs track in Cody on Friday and Saturday.

The Lander Tigers have it a little warmer and drier in Worland, but winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour will make it tough on everyone except the discus throwers if they’re lucky enough to have the wind in their face.

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Dubois, Wind River, Wyoming Indian, Western Heritage, Ft. Washakie, St. Stephen’s, and the host Wranglers all compete in the same strong winds, with rain added just for fun in Shoshoni. You’ve got to be tough to be a Wyoming track athlete.

I make no bones about being a track fan. I love the sport, both for competition and for how it improved my athletes in football and basketball. Take a look at Division I and professional athletes and you’ll find almost every football, basketball, and volleyball player competed in track and field.

I enjoy track meets more than any other venue. The action in 18 events for boys and girls and the time in between races to catch up with old friends and engage youngsters still in that cocky phase of life when they think they can whip the world is invigorating.

As I often tell people who ask me how I know something, “People tell me things.”

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No one had to tell me the observations I’ve made in this season despite the less than spectacular weather conditions.

There are currently 69 public high schools in Wyoming, Dubois ranks 61st in enrollment with an official tally of 43 grade nine to 12 students. You wouldn’t know it if you went to a track meet.

There are dozens of boys and girls sporting Dubois Rams gear. They are everywhere at a meet. You’d think they were Thunder Basin or Rock Springs by the sheer number of blue and gold clad kids competing for the Rams. That’s a testament to head coach David Trembly and his dedication to the sport.

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Dave has been a friend for a long time, and he is an inspiration in the High Country continuing to teach and coach in spite of a vicious battle with cancer. His athletes, whether it’s football, wrestling, or track are always competitive, courteous, and just enough off kilter to enjoy when you engage them. It is an outstanding program that Dave has created.

As radio announcer Harry Doyle (played by Bob Uecker) says in Major League, “In case you haven’t noticed, and judging by the attendance you haven’t…” There have been some incredible feats by Fremont County track athletes this spring.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the record-breaking performances of senior Gage Gose of Lander in the hurdles and springs, of freshman thrower Adelyn Anderson, also a Lander Valley athlete in the shot and discus, and the record-breaking performances of Riverton junior Kaden Chatfield in the distance events. Riverton junior Kiana Swann has been an inspiration as she roars back as distance running phenom after suffering an injury and not competing as a sophomore.

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But there are many others competing in the relative obscurity of an individual sport, where improvement is measured in inches and fractions of a second.

Lander pole vault coach Joe Motherway is sitting on the cusp of an oncoming wave of outstanding girl vaulters in Tigertown. Joe is a patient, thoughtful coach who gets the best out of his vaulters through skill, practice, and infinite patience. His Tiger girls are rolling in the event in a tidal wave of week-by-week improvement. The pole vault is the most technical of all track and field events with a nod to the throws, the high jump, and the hurdles, but the Lady Tigers are marching to the beat and great things are in their future.

It’s back to the future at Wyoming Indian where former Chief standout and University of Wyoming cross country runner Caleb Her Many Horses has put the Chiefs and Lady Chiefs distance team back on the map. Caleb carries on a family tradition from his mom and dad, Julie and Chico Her Many Horses and while he doesn’t have the booming voice of Chico on the starting line and at the 200-meter mark, he does have a little more speed than the old man as he races from both locations during a distance race to encourage his runners.

Chico was tossed from the infield at Harry Geldien Stadium at the state meet by Riverton AD Bill Strannigan one year for racing diagonally across the infield to encourage his athletes and give them their splits. If Caleb can avoid the security, you can expect the same thing. It’s love and dedication for a sport and the athletes in it personified.

If you haven’t noticed, there are some very good hurdlers in Fremont County this season, paced by Gose but with many other great three-stepping speedsters. Riverton has a pair of girls in Addison Alley and

Samantha Ablard who steadily increase under head coach Matt Mason’s tutelage, and Dubois with Trembly always has hurdlers.

The Riverton boys and girls have improved dramatically in the shot and discus this season paced by junior Nathan Mills and freshman Jaylah Griffith. Add in Xavier Garcia and you have a couple of big men with big futures.

At Shoshoni, assistant coach Toby Wood, a formidable thrower and state champion in his day for the Riverside Rebels has a stable of throwers. When you have an estimated 14 boys and girls heading to the shot and discus ring every day after school, there isn’t a better word than stable to describe the popularity of the event in Wranglerville.

Wood has indicated to me that in a year or two we can expect six or more Shoshoni throwers to place in Class 2-A regional competition. We’ll be watching Toby.

Riverton distance coach Tawn Gopp has a stable of his own in the Wolverine distance team. After Chatfield and Swann there are five boys who have steadily improved throughout the season and are now in position to battle for points in regional, and possibly state competition.  Alexander Truax, Tyrel Myhre

Azaniah Guthrie, Davian Spoonhunter, and Marshall Walton have picked up the pace each week as this cold season has progressed.

It’s time for the taper, that break in the grueling workouts that experienced coaches know will prepare their athletes for the final competition of the season. If you’re a track fan, a fan of athletics, or just a fan of our kids, there is no better place to be on Friday or Saturday than Shoshoni, Worland, or Cody.

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