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State Track - Saturday

Big Horn's Carson Bates wins the Class 2A boys 100-meter dash Saturday during the Wyoming State High School Track and Field Championships at Harry Geldien Stadium in Casper.

The Big Horn boys finally reached the top of the podium Saturday at the Wyoming State High School Class 2A Track and Field Championships at Kelly Walsh’s Harry Geldien Stadium.

The Rams had finished fourth in 2016, third the following year and second last year as they remained in search of the program’s first state track and field championship since 2005.

Big Horn entered the day with a commanding lead and won five of seven events to put the finishing touches on an impressive day. Big Horn finished with 168.5 points while runner-up Glenrock had 96.5.

“(Winning the East Regional) Last week really boosted our confidence,” said junior Kyle Ostler, who won both the 110- and 300-meter hurdles. “We knew that even though we had a big lead coming into the day we couldn’t get comfortable. We just had to find that extra gear.”

The Rams did just that, with sophomore Carson Bates winning both the 100 and 200 and the 4x400 relay team capping the day, and the weekend, with a winning performance.

Bates needed a late surge to overtake Glenrock senior Tucker Bopp in the 100. Bopp defeated Bates in both sprints last weekend, but Bates was able to turn the tables Saturday.

“I was real nervous,” Bates said. “I didn’t catch him until right at the end. I knew it was close, but from my perspective I won it.”

The judges agreed, with Bates finishing in 11.34 seconds to Bopp’s 11.40.

“I just wanted to do whatever I could to help the team,” Bates said.

Now Big Horn can add a track and field trophy to accompany the one it won in football in the fall.

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While Bopp came up just short against Bates in the short sprints, he made sure he didn’t go home without a gold medal. He ran the 400 in 49.71 seconds to hold off Kemmerer’s Tanner Plowman (50.93).

“Losing the 100 was definitely a chip on my shoulder,” Bopp said. “So to go out and set a PR for the year in the 400 helped to make up for that.”

Tongue River’s Cooper Vollmer won the 1600.

***

Wind River’s Mindy Russell had herself a day.

The junior was the 100 (12.73 seconds), the 200 (26.18) and the 400 (56.34) and ran the anchor leg on the Cougars’ winning 4x400 relay team.

It was her time in the 400, however, that Russell was most pleased with.

“That’s the time I wanted,” she said, “because that’s the time that’s going to get me looked at by colleges. I talked to the coach at Montana State the other day and that’s the time she wanted to see me run so I didn’t want to let her down.

“Winning is great, but it was the time I was most worried about.”

State Track - Saturday

Wind River's Mindy Russell breaks across the finish line to win the Class 2A girls 100-meter dash Saturday during the Wyoming State High School Track and Field Championships at Harry Geldien Stadium in Casper.

Russell’s time was fast enough to earn her a Best of the Best honor as she had the fastest girls’ time among all classifications.

And while the weather was less than ideal (temperatures in the low 40s and a steady rain all day), Russell said it didn’t affect her in the least.

“I just love that it wasn’t windy,” she said. “I mean, it’s just a little rain. It’s not like I’m going to melt.”

***

The Pine Bluffs girls didn’t claim any individual titles Saturday, and had just two — Maddie Fornstrom in the pole vault and Sophie Howard in the discus — for the weekend, but the Hornets’ depth was enough to lift them to their first team title since 2004.

Saturday’s other individual titles went to Wright’s Jozi Edwards (100 hurdles), Wind River’s Lue Herbert (300 hurdles) and Moorcroft’s Hailey Jones (1600).

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Sports Editor

Jack Nowlin returned to the Star-Tribune in 2007 after eight years covering Michigan State University athletics. A Wyoming native, and a graduate of Jeffrey City High School and the University of Wyoming, Jack serves as the Star-Tribune’s sports editor.

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