Big Piney tracksters sweep Regionals


Robert Galbreath photos Senior Colby Jenks, pictured at the Puncher Invitational on May 2, bagged gold in the 300-meter hurdles and set a new 2A West Regional record in the event at the Regional Meet in Shoshoni on May 13. Sophomore Micah Strong, pictured running a relay at the Puncher Invitational, bagged hardware in multiple events at the Regional Meet in Shoshoni. She won the 100-meters, 400-meters, 800-meters and placed second in the 200-meters. Sophomore Emma York, center, maneuvers to overtake her opponent from Kemmerer in the 800-meters in Rock Springs on April 15. York captured gold in both the 1600- and 3200-meters at the Regional Meet in Shoshoni. Senior Hunter Fisher, pictured at the Ted Schroeder Meet of Hope in Rock Springs on April 15, snagged gold in the 110-meter hurdles, long jump and triple jump at the Regional Track Meet in Shoshoni. Senior Hannah Runyan, pictured at the Puncher Invitational, secured gold in the shot put at the Regional Meet in Shoshoni on May 13.

Jenks sets new Regional record

SHOSHONI, WYO. – The Big Piney High School Puncher track athletes crushed the competition at the 2023 2A West Regional Tournament in Shoshoni on Friday and Saturday, May 12-13.

The Puncher girls’ team captured gold, posting 212 points. Kemmerer came in a distant second with 169 points. Tallying 166 points, the Big Piney boys’ team also earned first place, soundly beating Rocky Mountain High School with 137 points.

The top eight placers in individual events and the top four relay teams at Regionals punched their ticket to the State Track and Field Championships in Casper on May 18-20. Several athletes already qualified for state at meets during the season.

“The Punchers showed up at Regionals ready to compete,” said Head Coach Jess Nugent. “On day one, the kids worked hard to get to the finals, battling the wind and the competition. Our young kids stepped up and did their job to help claim victory. Our veterans led the way and competed well.”

Nugent credited each athlete with putting in a considerable amount of blood, sweat and tears over the course of the season.

“Seeing the athletes on the podium, cheering for their teammates and seeing the determination on their faces while competing makes this one of the best jobs in the world,” Nugent added. “We couldn’t be more proud, but we have one more week to get our jobs done. The kids are ready for Casper and competition from the other side of the state.”

Nugent gave a shoutout to the community for its support and her coaching staff.

“These kids wouldn’t be where they are without the support and training our coaches provide,” Nugent said.

Senior Colby Jenks bagged gold in the finals for the boys’ 300-meter hurdles, clocking in with a new 2A West Regional record of 39.50 seconds. Saratoga’s Ryan Larscheid held the previous record of 39.83 seconds set in 2007.

Jenks secured his first win at the meet on Friday, sweeping the 800-meters with a time of 1 minute, 57.25 seconds.

Timing the 400-meter dash finals in at a new personal record of 51.40 seconds, Jenks snagged gold in the mid-distance event as well. He improved significantly from a second-place finish in the preliminaries at 54.49 seconds.

Jenks went on to earn second place in the 1600-meter run, hitting the finish line in 4:34.19.

Sophomore Micah Strong returned with plenty of hardware in multiple events. The girls’ 100-meter dash finals came down to the wire, with Strong pulling ahead of Kemmerer’s Jolee Swasey by 0.02 seconds to snap up gold at 12.80 seconds.

Strong won the 400-meter dash, timing in at 1:01.01. She beat Keira Heiner, of Kemmerer, by more than 0.2 seconds.

In the 800-meter run, Strong picked up first place with a time of 2:30.21. The sophomore also achieved silver in the 200-meter dash, finishing the race in 26.28 seconds.

Senior Hunter Fisher dominated jumping events. Fisher scored his first win of the weekend in the boys’ triple jump, clearing 41 feet, 4 inches. He defeated Rocky Mountain’s Kelden Boettcher by a quarter of an inch.

Fisher went on to capture gold in the long jump with a leap measured in at 20-03 ½, nearly 2 feet ahead of Boettcher.

Timing the finals for the 110-meter hurdles in at 15.40 seconds, Fisher won the event with 1.18 seconds to spare over the rest of the pack. Fisher also earned second place in the 300-meter hurdles at 40.42 seconds.

Sophomore Emma York snagged a pair of wins in long-distance events. On Friday, York secured gold in the girls’ 3200-meters, crossing the finish line at 13:27.76. Arianne Dearden, of Kemmerer, came in a distant second at 14:08.96.

York rustled first place in the 1600-meters on Saturday, coming in well under 6 minutes at 5:44.64. The sophomore also garnered third place in the 800-meters with a time of 2:34.79.

Senior Hannah Runyan trounced the competition in the girls’ shot put, snapping up gold with a throw of 35-07 ½. She beat Rocky Mountain’s Rylee Winland by more than 3 feet. Runyan also earned third place in the discus, clearing 93-09.

Relay victories consisted of a first-place finish for freshman Kodee Greene, freshman Tilly Evans and sophomores Addison Statham and Jolynn Jones in the girls’ 1600-meter sprint medley relay. The team hit the finish line in 4:52.42.

Girls’ individual top eight

Jolynn Jones pulled into second place in the 800-meter run, clocking in at 2:33.08. In the 1600-meter run, Jones placed second and came within 0.01 seconds of tying the first-place finisher with a time of 5:44.65. Jones went on to secure fourth place in the 400-meters at 1:05.39.

Junior Julia Hymas represented the Lady Punchers in the pole vault, capturing second place at a height of 7 feet. Hymas came in third place in the 3200-meters at 15:20.38.

In throwing events, senior Esther Van Grol bagged second place in the discus with a toss measured in at 100-03 ½. Van Grol placed sixth in the 100-meter hurdles at 20.60 seconds. The senior rounded the meet out with seventh-place finishes in both the long jump, at 12-04 ½, and shot put, at 30-03 ½.

Freshman Ahbre Nunn snagged third place in the finals for the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 19.74 seconds. She went on to earn sixth place in the 300-meter hurdles at 1:00.84.

Timing the 1600-meter run in with a sub-6-minute time of 5:56.94, freshman Elizabeth Brandt snapped up bronze in the event. Brandt also placed sixth in the 800-meters at 2:40.69.

Sophomore Charleigh Smith achieved fourth place in the shot put, reaching a distance of 30-09 ½.

Evans finished fourth in the long jump, clearing 13-05. Evans also took eighth place in the 100-meter dash finals at 14.33 seconds.

Junior Morgan Brown garnered fifth place in the finals for the 100-meter hurdles, timing in at 20.28 seconds.

In the 300-meter hurdles, freshman Clairee Bingham snagged fifth place at 1:00.77.

Freshman Maybrie Denison secured fifth place in the long jump, leaping 12-08 ½. Sophomore Addison Losik came in sixth in the event with a jump of 12-07.

Senior Brynne Hoffman obtained seventh place in the 3200-meters, crossing the finish line in 15:41.21.

Greene picked up seventh-place ribbons in both the finals for the 100-meter dash, at 14.08 seconds, and the 200-meters, at 28.53 seconds.

Statham took eighth place in the finals for the 100-meter hurdles, posting a time of 22.82 seconds.

Boys’ individual top eight

Sophomore Caden Clifford secured ribbons in multiple sprinting events. He placed second in the 100-meter dash finals with a time of 11.65 seconds. Clifford went on to garner third place in the 200-meter finals at 23.44 seconds.

Brandon Jones captured silver in the pole vault, reaching a height of 11 feet. He also picked up second place in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:08.41. Jones rounded the meet out with a fourth-place finish in the 400-meters, clocking in under 1 minute at 54.03 seconds.

Sophomore Kelby Staley achieved hardware in multiple events. He bagged third place in the finals for the 110-meter hurdles, posting a time of 17.78 seconds. Staley earned fourth place in the 300-meter hurdles at 46.02 seconds. He capped the weekend off with a fifth-place finish in the 800-meters with a time of 2:10.33.

In throwing events, junior Roger Young scooped up fourth place in the shot put, clearing 37-08 ½.

Junior Jackie Meador secured fifth place in the finals for the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 19.47 seconds.

Senior Braunsn Smith snagged sixth place in the shot put, hitting his mark at 36-11 ½.

Timing the 110-meter hurdles in at 23.69 seconds, senior Owen Nielson placed seventh in the event.

Sophomore Ben Ferguson came in eighth place in the 1600-meters at 5:29.31.

Freshman Zef Zuniga bagged eighth place in the discus at 94-06.

Additional relay highlights

Greene, Bingham, Brown and Brandt captured second place in the girls’ 4x400-meter relay, posting a time of 4:52.61.

The girls’ 4x800-meter relay team – Brandt, Brown, freshman Kaydence Guest and York – also snagged second place at 11:31.50.

In the girls’ 4x100-meter relay, sophomore Mari Sambrano, Statham, Denison and senior Enna Coote bagged third place with a time of 1:00.16.

Boys’ relays included a second-place finish for Clifford, Meador, Ferguson and Smith in the 4x100-meter relay at 47.84 seconds.

Ferguson, Nielson, freshman Scotty Ring and Young cornered third place in the boys’ 4x800-meter relay at 9:48.14.

The boys’ 1600-meter sprint medley relay team – Clifford, Smith, Staley and Jones – came in third place at 3:59.88.