Sprinters power Rebel teams to top-five finishes at state meet

Nathan Oster

The Riverside Rebels saw eight of their athletes reach the top of the podium and their boys and girls teams each finish among the top five in their divisions at last weekend’s State 1A Track and Field Championships in Casper.
“From those who won multiple gold down to the single-event qualifiers, everyone performed exceptionally well,” said Coach Jason Mitchell. “I was very proud of their effort.”
The Riverside boys scored 61.2 points to capture fourth place behind Burlington, Cokeville and Upton.  The girls, meanwhile, were credited with 61, which trailed only Cokeville, Southeast, Upton and Burlington.
Ty Strohschein continued his dominance of the sprints, winning both the 100 meters in a time of 11.46 seconds and the 200 meters in 22.41.
“Ty is a once-in-a-generation type of kid,” said Mitchell. “You don’t get an opportunity often to have a kid who is both your best athlete and hardest worker. Not only does it benefit the team and the individual, but others see it and motivates them.”
Strohschein was also a member of Riverside’s winning 400-meter relay team, which also consisted of Reece Whisenant, Avery Clifford and Wyatt Daly-Patterson.  That foursome produced its fastest time of the year, running a 45.77 to nip Dubois which ran a 45.84.
“Coming into the year, they thought they would be a contender, but it became apparent from the first meet, and as the year went on, that they might be the favorite,” Mitchell said. “One week, Dubois ran a faster time than us.  The next week, we took the lead back and held it the rest of the year.
“Those boys went into state expecting to be champions and with a chip on their shoulders, believing it was their race and that another team was going to have to take it from them.”
Reece Whisenant and Wyatt Daly-Patterson added third-place finishes to the team’s cause. Whisenant’s came in the 100 meters, where he ran an 11.72.  Daly-Patterson’s third came in the high jump, where he cleared 5-6.  Judging by the lack of PRs, it was not a good day for any of the 1A jumpers.  
Mitchell also praised James Bassett, who placed eighth and cut significant time in both the 800 and 3,200 meters.  “He improved over the course of the year to the point where at the end of the year, he was one of our top athletes,” said Mitchell.

Vinaya VanderPloeg and Dakota Cervantes led the way for the Lady Rebels, with each of them earning two golds.
VanderPloeg won the 100 meters in 13.13 seconds and captured second in the 200 in 26.08 seconds.  The junior ran her best times in the prelims, posting a 12.92 in the 100 and a 25.87 in the 200. “The girl that beat her (Adison Barnes, a sophomore from Cokeville) is a girl who dominated the state track meet and has like seven or eight goals over the past two years.  Getting second to her is something to be proud of.”
Mitchell credited VanderPloeg for achieving that level of success in new events.  As a sophomore, she placed fourth (and set a new school record) in the 400, fifth in the 300-meter hurdles and seventh in the 100-meter hurdles.
Cervantes went out on a high note in the pole vault, winning it with a clearance of 9-3. That was a PR.  She cleared 9-0 and placed second as a junior. “She competed right away (on Thursday) and may have been the first champion of the meet,” said Mitchell. “It was a great way for us to start.”
Riverside’s other win came in the 400-meter relay, where VanderPloeg and Cervantes were joined by Kennedy Bassett and Johnna Clifford.  They ran a 51.34, which was only about a half second off the 1A state record set last year by VanderPloeg, Cervantes, Clifford and Vaidyn VanderPloeg.
“To be honest, it was a big if going into the meet,” said Mitchell. “The girls had the fastest time in the state all year.  At regionals, Dubois beat our time and because of our handoff exchange problem, we had to run in lane eight at state.  That’s not ideal because you don’t get a chance to see where everyone is, but the girls handled it really well and ran by far their best time of the year.”
Riverside also got a second from its 1,600-meter relay team of Clifford, Cervantes, VanderPloeg and Varissa Olsen and a third from Bassett in the 100-meter hurdles.
The Rebels should return a solid nucleus to build around next year, but the seniors will be missed.   Bassett, Cervantes, Strohschein and Anna Stone “all helped us in one way or another,” according to Mitchell.  Stone wasn’t able to compete last year due to injury, but made her final meet a memorable one, placing seventh in the 3,200 meters.

1A GIRLS SCORES — Cokeville 147, Southeast 107, Upton 84, Burlington 72, Riverside 61, Saratoga 45, Dubois 37, Encampment 36, Hulett 24, Little Snake River 23, Farson-Eden 13, Midwest 7, Rock River 4, Guernsey-Sunrise 3, Ten Sleep 2.
100 METERS — 1, Vinaya VanderPloeg, 13.13.  8, Kennedy Bassett, 13.69.
200 METERS — 2, VanderPloeg, 26.08
3,200 METERS — 7, Anna  Stone, 14:57.77.
100 HURDLES — 3, Kennedy Bassett, 16.94.
300 HURDLES — 8, Bassett, 52.04.
400 RELAY — 1, Riverside (Bassett, Dakota Cervantes, Johnna Clifford, VanderPloeg), 51.34.
1,600 RELAY — 2, Riverside (Clifford, Varissa Olsen, VanderPloeg, Cervantes), 4:38.8.
POLE VAULT — 1, Cervantes, 9-3.
LONG JUMP — 7, Clifford, 15-6 1/2.
DISCUS — 6, Olsen, 100-09.
1A BOYS SCORES — Burlington 115.9, Cokeville 87.2, Upton 70, Riverside 61.2, Dubois 58, Saratoga 48.5, Ten Sleep 48, Encampment 42, Kaycee 35.2, Little Snake River 27, Southeast 25, Midwest 24, Meeteetse 16, Hulett 11, Guernsey-Sunrise 8, Farson-Eden 7, Rock River 5, HEM 5, Western Heritage 4,  Fort Washakie 4.
100 METERS — 1, Ty Strohschein, 11:46.  3, Reece Whisenant, 11.72.
200 METERS — 1, Strohschein, 22.41.  6, Whisenant, 23.66.
800 METERS — 8, James Bassett, 2:13.13.
3,200 METERS — 8, Bassett, 11:49.29.
400 RELAY — 1, Riverside (Whisenant, Avery Clifford, Wyatt Daly-Patterson, Strohschein), 45.77.
3,200 RELAY — 6, Riverside (Nick Olmstead, Ryder Kozisek, Gavyn Cervantes, Paul Stone), 10:04.53.
HIGH JUMP — 3, Daly-Patterson, 5-6.  8, Ryder Kozisek, 5-4.  
LONG JUMP — 5, Whisenant, 19-4.  8, Clifford, 18-11.
TRIPLE JUMP — 4, Clifford, 41-1.