Glenrock pleased with results after season’s first meet

Phillip Harnden photo
Tucker Bopp runs a 12:13 100 meter dash in his first sprint of the season. 

Colin Tiernan

It looked like it would be a close race when Tucker Bopp took the baton during the 4-by-100 meter relay Saturday. Then he showed off his elite explosiveness and took a 10 meter lead, making the other anchor legs in his heat look slow.
It’s not rare for Bopp to make kids look slow. He does it on the football field, where he was a Super 25 player in football. He does it on the basketball court, where he was All-Conference. On the track, he can do it in each of the sprint events such as the 100 meter dash, 200 meters and 400 meters. At the Glen Legler Memorial Early Bird meet in Casper Saturday, Bopp put on a show, nearly breaking 12 seconds in the 100 meter dash, with a time of 12:13, and taking third in the 400 meter, with a time of 52:59. He appears to be in mid-season form already by the first meet.
Coming from basketball, Bopp thinks his sprinting form will improve as the season progresses.
“Basketball is definitely a different kind of shape,” Bopp said, talking about his conditioning. “Basketball’s more about cutting. I wasn’t really in shape for the 400.”
Senior thrower Brock Jones started his season off hot as well, with a solid day in the shot put. The multi-sport athlete, who plans to walk on for football at Black Hills State University this fall, notched a personal record in the shot, coming in third with a toss of 43 feet 7 inches.
“It was really cold when I threw, so I think I can throw a little better,” Brock said. “I’ve started really close to the state pre-qualifying mark, so I was pretty happy with it.”
Brock noted some ways in which he can work on his mechanics in the shot, and achieve his goal of placing at the state meet.
“I definitely need to get my foot down. That’ll help,” he said. “And then being a little more explosive.”
On the girl’s team, Mikalah Jones, Brock’s twin sister, also began her season strong, placing seventh in the discus with a throw of 102 feet 3 inches. She had a solid day in the shot as well, throwing 31 feet 1.5 inches and finishing 13th. The siblings consider themselves both rivals and coaches.
“It’s a little bit of both. It goes hand in hand, and it helps both of us,” Brock said, remarking he tries to see Mikalah throw as much as possible.
“I do try to watch her. And then I also kind of get in her head a little bit, make her a little mad so hopefully she throws a little further, but also keep her focused,” Brock said.

In addition to posting a handful of strong individual performances, Bopp and Brock noted the feel around the team is improved compared to the past year.
“Team chemistry was really good for the beginning of the season,” Brock said.
Bopp agreed that the atmosphere looks better this season, and mentioned that the size of the team has expanded. Depth and the ability to be competitive in every event is crucial for a track team’s success.
“A lot more kids came out than we expected,” Bopp said.  “There were a lot more kids going around to different events, it was a lot more supportive.”
Head coach Ryan Collier wants to keep the team’s expectations straightforward, but lofty.
“We have high expectations,” Collier said. “We want to compete hard every week; get better every week. As long as we’re improving, I’ll be happy.”

In addition to stand-out performances from Bopp and the Jones twins, a number of other Herders had impressive openers. For the men, T.J. Kraft took second place in the 800 meter with a time of 2:17:23. Brysen Collier also ran a strong half mile, nabbing fifth with a time of 2:22:38. The 4-by-800 team of Kraft, Collier, Zane Moore and Kale Kuhlman took second place with a time of 9:04:13. Payton Steinmetz led the Glenrock jumpers with a distance of 18 feet 9.75 inches in the long jump, grabbing eighth.
For the women, Annelise Clarke was one of the Herders’ top placers, taking third in the 300 meter hurdles with a time of 52:54.

The Herders will bring a depleted squad back to Casper this Friday at 10 a.m., with many athletes attending the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America conference in Cheyenne.


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