The following are the first-place finishers for the Little Snake River Valley School from the Wyoming State High School Class 1A Track and Field Championships May 17 to 19 in Casper, Wyo.:
(Name — Time/Points)
Daniel Wille — 50.96
110-meter high hurdles
Rex Stanley — 15.14
300-meter intermediate hurdles
Rex Stanley — 38.92*
LSRV — 3:32.96
LSRV — 132, state champions
— * indicates a 1A class state record
Morgan Wille — 27.44
— Overall, the girls team placed fifth with 46 total points
For the athletes of Little Snake River Valley School, the end of the track and field season had absolutely everything that could make the culmination of their hard work exciting — a photo finish, a broken record and best of all, inevitable victory despite some setbacks.
The LSRV boys track team defended its state title at the Wyoming State High School Class 1A Track and Field Championships May 17 to 19 in Casper, Wyo.
The title is the sixth consecutive state win for the Baggs boys, who have dominated the 1A field in football, basketball and track since fall 2010.
“It’s just been amazing to get six in a row like that, and we’re not sure if any school’s ever done anything like that before, but we’re definitely proud,” Coach Mike Bates said. “It’s definitely a good position to be in for the seventh for football in the fall.”
Rex Stanley led the Rattlers in individual achievements, with dual wins in the 110-meter high hurdles and the 300-meter intermediate hurdles. Besides meeting his own personal bests in both events, the speedy LSRV senior broke the Wyoming 1A state record in the 300-meter with an unprecedented 38.92 seconds that surprised and delighted the Baggs crowd.
“We’ve broken so many school records this year, and it was amazing for Rex to get the 1A one, too,” Bates said. “Daniel (Wille) has broken four different records this year alone.”
Senior Daniel Wille narrowly beat out Stanley to win the 400-meter dash — despite Stanley clocking a better time in the preliminary round — closely followed by junior Manny Quinteros in third.
Wille’s victory came shortly after a pair of second-place finishes to Burlington junior Ben Mancuso.
“He was trying to keep up with (Mancuso) all day and he came so close in the 200,” Bates said.
After losing in the 100-meter dash, Wille looked primed to beat his rival in the 200-meter event with a stronger qualifying time. The two runners were neck and neck, barreling down the track in bordering lanes and completing the race at almost the exact same instant.
Both were given a time of 23.14 seconds, but for a winner to be named officials had to consult a photo snapped at the finish line, which revealed a microscopic lead for Mancuso.
“They were literally just one pixel apart,” Bates said.
Mancuso also trumped senior Miles Englehart in the high jump, with a record-setting six feet, seven inches to the second-place Rattler’s six feet. Englehart still managed to snag his own state title with Quinteros and juniors Connor Lee and Grayson Lee in the 4-by-400-meter relay.
Bates said his seniors were awestruck to gain the newest state titles and finish high school with such an honor.
“They really got to go out in a blaze of glory,” he said. “It’ll be hard to lose Miles, Rex and Daniel, but Manny and Connor and Grayson I think will really have a good season next year.”
Morgan Wille takes LSRV girls’ sole state honors
While the Baggs boys team flourished at the end of the season, the Rattler girls were unable to repeat their 2011 state win, finishing fifth overall.
Bates said the presence of Lingle-Fort Laramie was damaging to the girls’ chances.
“Lingle just came down from 2A this year, and they were winning everything,” he said. “The Cokeville girls were doing really good too.”
Lingle won the overall event for 1A girls, followed by Cokeville.
Bates said many of his female athletes were less experienced, as opposed to the senior-heavy boys team.
“We figured the girls might be a little down this year just because we lost so many seniors last year,” he said.
Nevertheless, senior Morgan Wille still captured some glory for her team, taking the title in the 200-meter dash following a bronze finish in the 100-meter dash.
“She had what was possibly a torn hamstring and she went into shutdown mode before regionals, but then she came back at state and was so happy she won,” Bates said.
Bates said underclassmen like sophomores Lydia Skalberg, Jordan Hendrickson, Kailee Adams and freshman Katelyn Olson will come back as stronger competitors next season.
Skalberg placed eighth in both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, Hendrickson got seventh in both the 400-meter dash and 800-meter run, and Olson ninth in the 1600- and 3200-meter runs.
On the field, Adams took fourth in the discus and seventh in the shot put.
“(Adams) had an amazing (discus) throw Saturday and she’s only going to get better next year,” Bates said.
The girls relays each did progressively better, with the 4-by-800-meter team — Olson, Hendrickson, junior Morgan Jensen and freshman Courtney Kudera — receiving the silver medal.
Bates said the progress over the season for the up-and-comers in the track program gave him a lot of hope for the future.
“I wasn’t sure about some of my methods going into state, but just seeing how they all did really solidified how I’m coaching these kids, though I can’t take any credit for what they’ve done,” he said. “You’re always wondering as a coach ‘Am I doing the right thing?’ or ‘Do I need to lay off yet?’, but I think we hit the nail on the head because they came out and performed the best I’ve seen in a long time.”
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