Rebels show more progress in final regular season competition

Nathan Oster

The Riverside Rebels didn’t have a full lineup for Friday’s Bobcat Invitational, with some away enjoying the senior trip and others prepping for prom.  But with nine of them already assured of trips to Casper, the pre-regional meet didn’t take on the same importance that it did for some teams.
The Rebels produced 15 points in the girls division and 2.5 in the boys division on a day where every athlete’s focus was the qualifying standards in their respective events.  It was their last chance to beat them.  Those who didn’t will have to qualify by place at this weekend’s Class 1A West Regional in Shoshoni.
Among the athletes who didn’t make the trip to Thermopolils was Ty Strohschein, who is typically Riverside’s top scorer.  He’s bettered the qualifying standards in the 100, the 200, the 400, the shot and as a member of the 400-meter relay team.
Reece Whisenant scored the team’s only points in the boys division, tying for sixth in the 100. He’s already qualified for state in four events — the 100, the high jump and the long jump, and the 400 relay — and ran a good enough time in the 200, a 24.82, that he’s now planning to run it at regionals, according to Coach Jason Mitchell.
Avery Clifford (400 relay and triple jump) and Wyatt Daly-Patterson (400 relay) are the other state qualifiers at this point.
The Riverside girls who have qualified for state thus far include Vinaya VanderPloeg, (the 100, the 200, the 400, 400 relay and 1,600 relay), Kennedy Bassett (the 100, the 200, 100 hurdles, 400 relay and 1,600 medley), Dakota Cervantes (400 relay, 1,600 relay, 1,600 medley and pole vault), Johnna Clifford (400 relay, 1,600 medley, the 200 and long jump), Varissa Olsen (1,600 relay and discus) and Anna Stone (1,600 relay).
Riverside didn’t run any of its relay teams in Thermopolis, as four of them (boys 400, girls 400, girls 1,600 and girls medley) have already qualified.  Its points came on fourth place finishes by VanderPloeg in the 200 and Bassett in the 100-meter hurdles, a sixth by VanderPloeg in the 100 and a seventh by Clifford in the long jump.  
Mitchell was encouraged by his team’s performance, saying, “I think some of the people who are hoping to qualify at regionals, but have not yet qualified, set themselves up well for it by running PRs.  The weather was not conducive to the spinters or the jumpers, although we did have some long race PRs.”
He singled out Anna Stone, who improved by nearly 8 seconds in the 800 meters.  She ran a 2:55.72, which was good for 18th.  She also cut time in the 1,600 meters, going from a 6:45.91 to a 6:34.67, which ranked 11th.  “As long as she continues to progress and doesn’t fall back, she has a real chance to qualify at regionals,” said Mitchell.
While the Rebels are positioned to place high in a number of events, they may not have the depth required to make a run at the team titles.  One thing to watch this weekend will be a group of boys trying to qualify for state in the medley and 3,200-meter relays.
Mitchell said the Rebels will be entering their relay teams at regionals.  “I think winning the region in the relays, particularly in those where we have the fastest time, is a great opportunity for us,” he said. “We want to be regional champs, we want that gold medal.
“The regional is a fun meet. There are always two or three who didn’t expect to go (to state) who qualify. It’s fun watch those kids get that surprise.  They are usually the most excited ones at a regional meet.”

GIRLS — Worland 166, Powell 138, Kemmerer 74, Big Piney 53, Thermopolis 47, Rawlins 45, Lovell 39, Burlington 29.5, Pinedale 26, Saratoga 17, Riverside 15, Rocky Mt. 12.5, Dubois 11, Glenrock 8, Little Snake River 7, Greybull 6, Wind River 3, Farson-Eden 2.
100 METERS — 6, Vinaya VanderPloeg, 13.33.   
200 METERS — 4, VanderPloeg, 27.29.
100 HURDLES — 4, Kennedy Bassett, 17.29.
LONG JUMP — 7, Johnna Clifford, 14-6 3/4.
BOYS — Lovell 109, Worland 101.5, Thermopolis 101, Powell 91, Rawlins 79, Burlington 59, Kemmerer 29, Dubois 26, Glenrock 24, Ten Sleep 18, Big Piney 16, Little Snake River 15, Pinedale 12, Saratoga 11, Meeteetse 3, Riverside 2.5, Arapaho 2, Wind River 2, Fort Washakie 1.
100 METERS — 6, Whisenant, 11.82.