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Indoor Track

Two Natrona County track athletes jog around the track while warming up before their practice at Natrona County High School's indoor track facility on Jan. 9.

A climatic lunge across the finish line sent Favour Wanjoku just past the rest of the runners in her flight. She was comfortable with her pace in the 55 meters but wasn’t sure about her time. Then she was informed of what the stopwatch registered.

In an instant she discovered she placed in multiple events in Saturday’s second indoor track meet at Natrona County’s Mustangs Activities Complex. She wasn’t sure what she was so nervous about anymore.

Wanjoku ran the 55 in 7.50 seconds, good enough for second only to her Rock Springs teammate Alyssa Bedard. That time marked a new personal record for the junior.

“I zoned out,” she said. “I was seeded the seventh-fastest in that heat so I was just like, ‘Don’t get last.’ So I did pretty great and I’m excited for how well I ran.”

Nearly an hour before dashing toward a new personal best, Wanjoku cleared the competition in the triple jump. Last year’s runner-up scored a leap of 37 feet, 9.5 inches, another new personal best. It was also enough to beat defending triple jump champion, Kelly Walsh’s Kailey Walker, by two-and-a-half feet.

Wanjoku was humbled by the distance when it was announced but wasn’t necessarily surprised. She was hitting her marks perfectly and felt her body twist with textbook precision. It wasn’t a matter of her jump having good distance, it felt like a good jump, it was just a matter of how far.

“I just felt right,” she said. “I did my warm-up routine and everything that felt pretty good so I came in just kind of calm.”

Since breaking the school record in the triple jump, Wanjoku has now set her sights on 38 feet.

Wanjoku also won the long jump on Saturday with a leap of 17-03.75. That gives the Rock Springs junior a lot of momentum going into next weekend’s Simplot Games. It’s already Wanjoku’s favorite annual meet and it couldn’t come at a better time.

“So excited, I just can’t wait,” she said. “Feeling pretty good after today.”

Another top performer on Saturday was Sheridan’s Alec Riegert. Last year’s state runner-up in the 55-meter hurdles continued his senior season with his second consecutive first-place finish. He won the Basin Nation Invitational with a personal-best 7.86 seconds last week.

He was a little disappointed in the 7.91 he ran on Saturday. As long as it’s not part of a bigger problem, he’ll get over it and come back for the Simplot Games.

“I don’t feel like it was my fastest but it was definitely quick,” he said. “I didn’t run hurdles for a couple of weeks because of hip issues, but I’ve slowly been coming back and been getting better every week.”

Sheridan’s Josie Fettig won the girls’ high jump at 5-foot on attempts. Rock Springs also had winners with Bedard in the 200 and 55 hurdles, and with Jenae Ramirez in the 400. Cody’s Riley Smith won the 1,600 (5:10.23) and 800 (2:21.78). Thunder Basin’s Riley Langstrom won the shot put with a throw of 37-04. Grace Shaffer once again won the girls’ pole vault this time at 11-03.

Kelly Walsh had a trio of boys winners in Ryan Foy (pole vault), Darius Wiggins (400) and Emory Yoosook (long jump). Connor Etzelmiller gave Natrona County an individual winner in the 1,600 (4:40.74) and Colby Werner of Lovell won the high jump at 6-4. Douglas’ Brady Brooks won the 800 with the asterisk of the race’s second heat not capturing on timing equipment.

Sheridan won the girls’ 1,600 sprint medley relay while Natrona County won the boys’ division of that race. Cheyenne East won the boys’ 4x800 relay. In the 4x200 relays it was the Thunder Basin girls and Rock Springs boys capturing victory.

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High School Sports Reporter

Brady Oltmans reports on high school and local sports. He joined the Star-Tribune in July 2016 after covering prep sports and college soccer in Nebraska. He also contributes to University of Wyoming sports coverage. He and his dog live in Casper.

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