Bopp running for the (Black) Hills

File photo
Glenrock senior Tucker Bopp takes a look back at the competition during the 200-meter finals at last year’s Wyoming Track and Field Championships in Casper. Bopp signed his National Letter of Intent Jan. 24 at Glenrock Junior/Senior High School to run track at Black Hills State University. He will join former Herder teammate Brock Jones. 

Eddie Poe

It’s only natural that Tucker Bopp needed a reminder.
“This is deserved,” Ryan Collier said to the Glenrock senior just moments before he signed to run track at Black Hills State University Jan. 24 at Glenrock High School. “You’ve earned this.”
Flanked by his mother Tracie, father Travis, and coaches Cody Tillard and Ryan Collier, Bopp put pen to paper last week to become a Yellow Jacket. Making it even more special was being able to do so in front of his entire support system.
They’ve been there since day one, and have yet to leave his side.
“I’d just like to thank my coaches and everyone that comes to summer lifting and helped me and pushed me to become what I am today,” Bopp said during the signing ceremony. “All of these kids here have always pushed me and I’d just like to thank everyone else that showed up. It means a lot to me. Thank you, guys.”
While Bopp has been blessed with a unique set of athletic abilities, including unmistakable strength and eye-opening speed, he’s also been gifted with a humble mind.
The limelight has never been high on his list of importance. Instead, he’s chosen to let his abilities do the talking.
“For us parents this was simple,” Tracie said. “The visit was easy and exciting. But I could see the stress in him, he doesn’t like this attention. He just wants to go out and compete and help his team win. But I also wanted him to know how important he is to other people.”
Through both his leadership and love for the community, Bopp has spent the last four years at Glenrock becoming the epitome of what a true Herder is supposed to represent both on and off the field. He’s always been there for his teammates, encouraging and pushing them to be better student athletes.
“Tucker has been an inspiration to his teammates,” said Tillard. “I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
During that same time, Bopp has also felt every bit of support and encouragement in return from those around him. He’s never forgotten about it, and he knows it’s been a large part of his success.
“It ends with rock,” Bopp said of the community of Glenrock. “And it’s kind’ve been that rock in my life. It means a lot to me that the community has been so supportive, all of the kids here have always been there. They’re all really competitive also, and that helped me drive myself to know that I could be good.”
Bopp was named First Team All-State following his junior season for the Glenrock track team and took home gold medals in the 200 and 400-meter races. He also broke the school record in the 400-meter, breaking Drew Nielsen’s record of 49.96 set in 2009 with a time of 49.53.
Not to mention, he’s just .04 seconds off of Nielsen’s record in the 200-meter and .33 seconds behind his record in the 100-meter. Bopp has wheels for legs, and he has become a spectacle on the track during his time at Glenrock.
“It’s an amazing experience to watch Tucker run on the track and see how competitors stop to come watch him run,” Collier said to guests at the ceremony. “There’s nothing like it.”
A graduate of GHS in 2016, Tucker’s older brother, Tanner, was an outstanding athlete on the track in his own right for the Herders. And over the years he’s been there for his younger brother, motivating and pushing him to be better.
Naturally, Tucker has always wanted to best Tanner on the playing field. It’s the relationship that many have come to expect between two highly competitive brothers.
“We started watching him in seventh grade and his times were phenomenal,” Tracie said. “I kind’ve knew then that he was probably going to be fast and it just got faster and faster every year. “But if it wasn’t for his older brother, Dillon Farley and Elijah Stewart pushing him to make him better, I’m not sure if he would’ve done it. But he knew that he had to be better than those kids and he did it.”
On his older brother, Tucker added: “He’s always made me more competitive and when I told him that I was signing it was the best moment of my life knowing that my brother was proud of me.”
In a press release announcing the signing of Bopp, Black Hills State track coach Seth Mischke described Bopp in a way that so many have become familiar with over the years.
“Tucker will be a great addition to our squad,” Mischke said. “His character, academic strength and competitiveness are all items that make us better as a program. He has great leadership abilities and we are excited to see where he can take his career while at BHSU.”
While at Black Hills, Bopp will run the 100, 200 and 400-meter races, and possibly some relays. He says coaches sold him on the program with their enthusiasm and the high-level of competitiveness among current athletes.
He was also sold in a much simpler way.
“The mountains around the Black Hills is what really sold me,” he said to a chorus of laughs. “The atmosphere just fit me.”
For now, Bopp will finish out the basketball season before taking the track for his senior season. Once at Black Hills he plans to study exercise science, with a long-term goal of becoming a nurse.
He’s eager to enjoy the final months of his time at Glenrock, but he’s also ready to begin preparing for the differences between high school track and the college version.
“I’m definitely going to have to improve over the summer to become more competitive and improve my times to better compete with college runners,” Bopp said.


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