GHS opens track season

By: 
Nathan Oster

Coach Nolan Tracy is expecting 11 or 12 teams and more than 200 athletes to converge on Greybull Saturday for the Bill Gerrard Invitational.  For many of them, it will serve as the opener of the 2021 track and field season.

Field events start at 10 a.m., with the running events to follow at 11 a.m.

“It’s been two years since we had a meet, so just to be able to host one again is great,” said Tracy.  “I was talking to (senior) Gaven (McColloch) about the fact that the last time he and our other seniors competed, they were sophomores.

“It’s a weird situation we don’t normally have to deal with, but it’s just awesome getting kids on the track again.”

 As of Tuesday, Tracy was still looking for volunteers, particularly to help with the field events.  If you’re interested, contact him at the high school.  With most of the big schools in the area going to Cody, the meet in Greybull is expected to attract mostly 1A and 2A schools so it may not be an all-day commitment.

As for the team that he coaches, Tracy said 14 of his 29 athletes were healthy enough and had logged enough practice time to make their season debuts at Saturday’s Wind River Invitational. The Greybull boys placed eighth with 14 points and the girls were ninth with 16 points, with Worland and Kemmerer, respectively, winning the team titles.

McColloch paced the Greybull boys, earning a second place in the 1,600 meters (5:07.5) and a seventh in the 800 (2:26.7).   “His goal was to get under 5 in the mile so he didn’t quite get there, but it was a great first outing,” said Tracy. “Now we know where we are and what we need to work on.

“He’s a hard worker and I know he’ll do what he needs to do to meet my goals for him and his goals for himself.”

Sophomores Cole Bolzer and Ethan Blair rounded out the boys scoring, placing sixth and eighth, respectively in the long jump.  Bolzer went 17-2 ¾ and Blair 16-10 ¾.

Freshman Chaise Benasky turned in Greybull’s top finish in the girls division, capturing fourth place in the high jump with a 4-4 clearance.  “She told me her best ever was a 4-5, so she’s starting the year about where she left off,” said Tracy, adding that he’s looking for more good things from her as the season progresses.

Benasky also placed eighth in the 400 meters with a 1:12.4.

Tracy said he also liked what he saw from freshmen, Caroline Boyer, Katie Murph and Ashley Gomez.

Boyer ran a 14.2 to place fifth in the 100 meters. There were 34 runners in the field, so the fact that she topped all but four of them is encouraging, said Tracy. “I knew she was one of the faster girls on the team, but she may have surprised even me a little with her speed.  Definitely a pleasant surprise.”

Murph took sixth in the 800 meters, finishing in 3:06.0.  Tracy said her two trips around the oval went so well that she told him, “I actually kind of liked it” — suggesting she’ll likely give one of the most challenging races in the sport another try.

Gomez rounded out the Greybull scoring with a sixth in the triple jump (26-2 ¾) and a seventh in the long jump (12-10 ¾).

With just 10 teams in attendance, the meet was a good starting point for those who were able to attend, according to Tracy.  While he still won’t have a full team, Tracy hopes to get five or six more kids entered this week and most of the rest in time for the April 1 meet in Shoshoni. Once considered “optional,” that meet has taken on added importance, given the number who missed the opening meet. 

Kaylyn Burns, the team’s most experienced returnee, is expected to make her debut soon.

So, too, is Irving Castro, one of the team’s top sprinters.

Tracy said he eventually hopes to form boys and girls 400-meter and medley relay teams and will start putting them together as athletes gain practice-eligibility and heal up from minor early-season injuries.