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After placing fourth in the shot put at last year’s state track meet, Southeast junior Morgan Ekwall wanted to make sure she finished atop the podium this season.

“I didn’t throw good last year,” Ekwall said. “I wanted to improve so much that even if I came here and threw bad it would still be good enough to win.”

Ekwall lived up to that promise Thursday, winning the Class 2A title at the Wyoming State High School Track and Field Championships with a heave of 39 feet, 1.5 inches.

That was more than three feet further than she threw at last year’s meet.

“I knew I had to put in extra work,” Ekwall said. “My coaches told me that they wanted me to take a weightlifting class so I rearranged my schedule. I had to move around some of my core courses, and I wasn’t really too excited about taking weights at first. Now I love it.”

Ekwall also loved stepping off the podium with a state championship medal around her neck.

“It just makes me so happy for all the work I put in,” she said.

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Three months ago, Wright junior Dax Yeradi was an all-state football player, a state runner-up wrestler and one of Class 2A’s best pole vaulters.

State Track - Thursday

Wright's Dax Yeradi makes his approach in the Class 2A boys pole vault Thursday, May 16, 2019 during the Wyoming State High School Track and Field Championships at Harry Geldien Stadium in Casper.

Yeradi can now add two-time state champion to his resume after winning the pole vault with a personal-best mark of 14 feet, 1 inch. He won a state wrestling title in early March.

“I’ve been battling shin injuries,” he said, “but I knew I could do this if I put my mind to it.”

Yeradi celebrated his latest accomplishment with a backflip off the podium.

“That was my only event,” he said, “so I had to do something.”

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Coming into her first state meet, Wyoming Indian freshman Larissa McElroy didn’t know what to expect. Safe to say, winning the 2A 3,200-meter run wasn’t on her list.

But that’s just what she did Thursday. McElroy finished in a time of 12 minutes, 35.85 seconds to top Moorcroft junior Jordan Jones by nearly 30 seconds.

“I’m really surprised,” McElroy said. “I took the lead and then I just kept on pushing.”

McElroy punctuated her victory by bounding over the finish line in what she hopes will become a signature finish.

“It makes me feel like a champion,” McElroy said with a smile.

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At the races
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State Track - Thursday
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State Track - Thursday
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State Track - Thursday
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State Track - Thursday

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In other events Thursday, Pine Bluffs’ Tucker Norman defended his state championship in the discus with a toss of 152-01 and Southeast freshman Jordan Stoddard claimed the high jump title with a leap of 5-04.

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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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