Puncher track teams bring home double bronze


CASPER – The Big Piney High School Puncher track teams were exceptional at the 2022 State Championships in Casper on May 19-21.

Competing against the best athletes from across Wyoming, the Punchers also contended with less than favorable weather conditions. On Thursday, wet, fat snowflakes accumulated on the track by the time the 1600-meter sprint medley relay teams got in their blocks, forcing field events to be rescheduled. Soggy conditions, gray clouds, wind and sub-freezing temperatures greeted athletes on Friday.

Big Piney took on each challenge and hardship with tenacity and grit, and both the boys’ and girls’ teams earned third place.

On Saturday, when the sun finally appeared, the girls’ 4x400-meter relay team – junior Shelby Guest, sophomore Morgan Brown, freshman Jolynn Jones and freshman Micah Strong – snapped up bronze, tallying the points needed to pull the Puncher girls ahead of Pine Bluffs to earn third place with 76 points.

Senior Colby Jenks found the energy to sprint the remaining 100 meters in the boys’ 1600-meter finals on Saturday afternoon, after running two events that morning, to win gold, despite his shoelaces coming untied.

Seniors Jaron Petty, Thomas Barron, Karson Cline and Hunter Fisher bagged bronze in the 4x400-meter relay finals, securing the additional points needed to place the Puncher boys in third place, beating Rocky Mountain High School with 68 points.

Head Coach Jess Nugent expressed pride in Big Piney’s accomplishment.

“Our athletes really stepped up this weekend,” she said. “They came to State to compete and that’s exactly what they did. We joke that cold and snowy weather is Puncher weather, and this weekend was proof that we can perform in anything. I’m so lucky I get to coach these kids. Spring is busy and kids are ready to be done, but it says a lot about kids when they are committed, determined and focused to stick it out until the end of the year.”

Nugent also thanked assistant coaches Terry Cain, Jennie Kozeal and McKenzie Sullivan for a successful season.

All-State

Eight Big Piney athletes earned 2A All-State honors by placing in the top two individual events or first in a relay.

Jenks scored four All-State awards. He opened a successful weekend with breaking the 2A record in the boys’ 800-meter run set in 2008. Jenks crossed the finish line at 1 minute, 55.59 seconds, beating Tongue River by more than 6 seconds.

On Saturday morning, Jenks won the finals for the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 40.60 seconds, shaving more than 1 second off his preliminary time.

Clocking in at 4:31.43, Jenks edged out Tongue River in the 1600 meter by 0.20 seconds.

In the 400-meter finals, Jenks came in second place in a race that came down to .01 seconds, timed in at 50.05.

As the mercury plummeted and wind picked up on Friday, the girls’ 4x800-meter team managed to trounce the competition. Jones, Brown, freshman Emma York and Strong beat Wyoming Indian by a commanding 38.29 seconds to finish at 11:00.09.

Jones scooped up silver in the girls’ 800-meter finals, hitting a personal record of 2:33.86.

Guest pushed ahead of Tongue River by 0.21 seconds to seize gold in the girls’ 100-meter hurdle finals, improving her time from the preliminaries by over a half second to finish at 16.79 seconds.

Guest earned silver in the 300-meter hurdles finals, clocking in at 49.29, shaving nearly 4 seconds off her preliminary finish.

In boys’ hurdles, junior Hunter Fisher beat Tongue River by 0.74 seconds to win the 110-meter hurdles at 15.42 seconds.

Junior Hannah Runyan overcame tough competition during a long, cold morning in the girls’ shot put to secure second place with a toss measured in at 33 feet, 1/4 inches.

Top-eight highlights

York raced through slush on Thursday evening to place fourth in the girls’ 3200-meter finals, clocked in at 13:10.45.

Jolynn Jones and York raced neck-and-neck in the 1600-meter finals, with Jones in fourth place at 5:57.86 and York in fifth at 5:58.29.

In the girls’ 800-meter finals, Strong snagged fourth place with a time of 2:34.28.

Pole vaulters battled windy conditions yet managed to land in the top eight. Junior Brandon Jones placed fourth in boys, clearing 11 feet. Sophomore Julia Hymas took sixth place in girls at 7 feet.

Petty snapped up sixth place in the boys’ 400-meter finals, clocking in at 52.47 seconds, 1.37 seconds faster than his preliminary time.

Fisher came in sixth place in the finals for the boys’ 300-meter hurdles at 44.02 seconds.

Guest came in eighth place in the girls’ 400-meter finals, crossing the finish line at 1:06.52.

Guest, Brown, Jones and Strong pulled into third place in the girls’ 4x400-meter relay finals, finishing in 4:29.40.

In the boys’ 4x400-meter relay, Petty, Barron, Cline and Fisher bagged third place with a time of 3:36.19.

Despite snow accumulating on the track Thursday evening, the girls’ 1600-meter sprint medley relay team took sixth place. Senior Ceci Sambrano, senior Lena Hatch, freshman Addison Losik and junior Brynne Hoffman timed in at 5:41.44.

The boys’ 4x800-meter relay team secured seventh place. Freshman Kelby Staley, sophomore Jackie Meador, Jones and freshman Ben Ferguson timed in at 9:35.22.

Senior Zoe Long, freshman Charleigh Smith, freshman Addison Statham and Losik finished eighth in the girls’ 4x100-meter relay at 1:01.48.

Barron, senior Thomas Howard, freshman Caden Clifford and junior Wiley Smith took eighth in the boys’ 4x100-meter finals at 49.24 seconds.

Additional girls’ results

Hoffman placed 15th in the girls’ 3200-meter finals, timed in at 14:51.16.

In the long jump finals, Losik took 16th place at 12 feet, 5 1/2 inches. She also finished 16th in the long jump finals at 12 feet, 5 1/2 inches.

York raced into 13th place in the 800-meter finals, clocking in at 2:48.72. Hymas placed 16th at 2:56.42.

Hymas pulled into 13th place in the 1600-meter finals at 6:24.27.

In the shot put finals, Sierra Keiter earned 12th place, hitting a mark of 26 feet, 7 3/4 inches. Smith came in 13th at 26 feet, 6 inches, with Taylor Cary in 14th at 25 feet, 10 inches.

Runyan bagged 10th place in discus finals at 84 feet, 11 inches. Keiter came in 11th at 78 feet, 7 inches and Cary 12th at 77 feet, 1 inch.

Brown placed 15th in the 100-meter hurdles prelims at 20.61 seconds with Sambrano in 16th at 22.13. In the 300-hurdles prelims, Brown finished 16th at 1:02.52 with Sambrano in 17th place at 1:04.06. Losik picked up 13th place in the 400-meter prelims at 1:12.80.

Additional boys’ results

Brandon Jones secured 11th place in the boys’ 3200 meter with a time of 12:05.93. Ferguson came in 16th in the event at 12:36.04.

Ferguson finished 14th in the 1600-meter finals, hitting a personal record of 5:22.91.

Cline earned 11th place in the triple jump finals with a mark of 38 feet.

In boys’ shot put finals, Howard took ninth place with a throw of 38 feet, 10 1/2 inches. Brayden Hymas took 13th at 34 feet, 1 1/4 inch and Seth Stoutenburg 15th at 31 feet, 10 inches.

Stoutenburg captured ninth place in the discus finals with a personal record of 112 feet, 2 inches. Howard placed 10th at 106 feet, 5 inches.

Staley took 14th place in the 800-meter finals at 2:17.02.

In the 110-meter hurdles prelims, Staley placed 10th at 18.80 seconds with Meador in 11th at 19.32.

Preliminary results in the 200 meter included 10th place for Fisher at 24.49 seconds, Petty in 11th at 24.78 and Cline in 14th at 25.00. Petty finished ninth in the 100-meter prelims at 12.15 seconds with Cline in 15th at 12.51.

Staley took 15th place in the 300-meter hurdles prelims at 48.92 seconds.

© 2022-Sublette Examiner

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