Herd confidence sky high entering regionals

Garrett Schwindt makes for the high bar at Pine Bluffs during the Southeast Athletic Conference meet on Saturday.
Kevin Fisher

It all comes down to this. After all the hours of practice, of training, of working. Sweating and hustling through the cold, rain, heat, wind and every other type of weather that Wyoming has to offer. Pushing their bodies to the limit, and then finding new limits to push as all the work pays off. It’s that time of year again, as the season winds down with the regional meet and finally, with the State meet for the select few next week in Casper. Thanks to the rescheduling of the Wheatland Invite last week due to snow earlier in the year, the Herd had two meets in a span of four days as they also competed in the Southeast Wyoming Athletic Conference meet last Saturday.

Coach Ryan Collier said that the team has been working hard all season long and that the growth from the beginning of the season until now has been significant for the athletes.

“I’ve been very pleased with our kids. They’ve worked extremely hard this year, each and every week and our times are showing that,” he said. “Our times and distances, our kids keep improving, and they’re working hard to break through the plateau that comes when you’ve been training for something for a long time. I’m really happy with what they’ve done this year.”

At the SEWAC Invite in Pine Bluffs, the team had a strong showing, thanks to four individual wins. The Herd swept the shot put competition, as Logan Downs and Mikalah Jones would not be denied on this day. Downs’ heave was a personal-record throw of 47 feet, 8 inches, while Jones’ season-record throw of 36 feet, 8 ½ inches earned her a spot at the state meet next week. She becomes the seventh individual Herder to exceed the State expectations, as well as a few relay teams, including a new combination in the boys’ 4x400 race. Tucker Bopp, Kale Kuhlman, Payton Steinmetz and Garrett Schwindt showed their team coordination and speed was worthy of an invite.Meanwhile, Schwindt won the pole vault event and Skyler Piasecki took home the 3200-meter race. It was the third win for both of them this season.

But a team is more than just a few players, and the rest of the team contributed strong efforts and many established season and personal records, showing that there was no quit in them,even as the long season concludes. Season-record marks were set by Brooke Williams (1600m), Morgan Schwindt (pole vault) and Steven Turk (long jump), and the state-qualifying 4x100 relay team of Tucker Bopp, Payton Steinmetz, Garrett Schwindt and Dom Griffitts improved upon their best showing of the season.

Personal-records continue to fall this season, and this week new standards were set by Lane McDonald (1600m), Tucker Bopp (400m), Ian Arnold (110m hurdles and 300m hurdles), Logan Downs (shot put), Blake Hall (shot put and discus), Elexis Ruimveld (pole vault), Peyton Shadrick (triple jump) and Cole Thornock (triple jump).

At this point in the year, the team has the usual array of bumps and bruises that come from the season’s natural unfolding. As thefinal meet approaches, the team is working to keep their legs from being too worn down and also fine-tuning the technique that they’ve been working on all year. Coach Collier expects the team will be able to compete to the best of their ability and says that he doesn’t think the team will be intimidated by the differences of the two-day format or the stakes at hand.

“I’m not too concerned about them feeling too much pressure, I’ve actually been trying to put some on them,” he said. “It’s no longer about trying to progress and get better, now it’s time to show exactly what you can do. They know they have to focus and it’s time to compete.”

After a season of travelling to different locations across the state and competing against different levels of high schools, the regional meet looms on Friday as a clash against the rest of the 2A East: Big Horn, Burns, Moorcroft, Niobrara County, Pine Bluffs, Southeast, Sundance, Tongue River, Upton and Wright. The schools will compete in Gillette as a conclusion to the season, save for the individuals who have qualified for the State meet in Casper next week.


Glenrock Independent

Physical Address:506 W. Birch, Glenrock, WY 82637 Mailing Address: PO Box 109, Douglas, WY 82633 Phone: (307) 436-2211

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