Grace Shaffer won the girls pole vault and placed second in the 55-meter hurdles, but her No. 1 observation of the scene at Cody’s season-opening indoor track meet Saturday in Casper was, “There were tons of people.”
It is not known if the operators of the Natrona High Invite plan to send notification to the Guinness Book of World Records that the largest track meet of all-time was just conducted. But with approximately 900 entries, which on most occasions would be a good spectator count, it is probably a contender.
The Broncs and Fillies participating were just part of the crowd in a meet that lasted from 10 a.m. with the start of field events till about 9:30 p.m., or 11 ½ hours. And that was before the bus ride home dropped the athletes at about 2 a.m. in Cody.
“It was crazy,” said Broncs miler Wyatt Becker, who did not even go home, he said, because his house is too far out of town.
The girls, in particular, competed well in the event, with junior Riley Smith winning the 800 meters in 2 minutes, 22.5 seconds, the 1,600 meters in 5:12.52, and running a leg on the 4x400-meter relay. The Fillies group of Smith, Baylee Stafford, Shaffer and Holly Spiering captured that event (which began at 9:20 p.m.) in 4:26.59.
Shaffer’s vault was 11-foot-6 and she felt it was an excellent way to start the season.
“I thought it was very good compared to my start last year,” Shaffer said. “I’ve just worked so hard over the summer.”
Shaffer topped 11-3 indoors last year and is aiming for 12 feet this winter. Her hurdles runner-up time was 9.02 and her personal best in that event is 9.00, so she liked how that turned out, too.
Engdahl said the enormous meet “might well have been” the largest he has seen and when he looked at the clock and saw the 9:20 p.m. time for the girls’ relay, his reaction was, “‘Holy cow!’ It was a long one.”
The first meet of the season always attracts a crowd from around the state, he said, because there are no other meets going on at the same time.
“There just aren’t a lot of options,” Engdahl said.
Some boys, such as Isaac Taylor, with a 5-8 high jump for fifty and Becker, with a 5:06.40 1,600 in his first indoor race ever, stood out.
“I found it easier than cross-country,” said Becker. “It wasn’t as far. I was pretty happy how I did in the mile. I was too sick to work out all week. I didn’t even know if I was going to run until Friday night.”
Becker was impressed by the number of entries overall and in individual events. There were 177 runners in the girls 55-meter dash alone and 164 boys in that event.
“There were some really big events,” he said.
Smith and Shaffer really stood out among the girls, but the Fillies had some other top showings. Elaine Seibert clocked 7.87 in the 55 for 11th and was fifth in the 200 in 28.77. She was also 12th in the long jump in 14-11 ¼.
“She has dug down and worked and lifted,” Engdahl said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever been more excited (about an improvement).”
Spiering was second in the long jump at 16-6.
Sarah Andre tied for third in the high jump at 4-9. She is coming off a slightly injured knee, but said she feels good.
“It was a good start,” she said, “a good first meet.”
Andre does not relish the idea of another meet that runs so long, at least without bringing along camping gear, a cooler and other supplies.
“Oh, man, I hope not,” she said.
Regardless of the mob scene, the Fillies results were encouraging for the rest of the indoor season and the spring outdoor season, Shaffer said.
“A lot of people have returned who worked very hard to reach (better times and distances) and we’ve got some new girls,” she said.
Natrona Indoor Invite
55-meter dash: 11) Elaine Seibert, 7.87 seconds; 37) (tie) Jazlyn Waltari, 8.16; 52) (tie) Soffy Anderson, 8.33; 55) (tie), Baylee Stafford, 8.34; 83) (tie) Nyah Meier, 8.53; 85) Alex Nelson, 8.54; 96) (tie) Nevaeh Asay, 8.66; 139) Ella Boltz, 9.01.
200: 5) Seibert, 28.77; 39) Waltari, 30.42; 52) Stafford, 31.06; 55) (tie) Nelson, 31.18; 129) Emma Cook, 37.28.
400: 9) Holly Spiering, 1:06.72; 14) Autumn Wilson, 1:09.90; 24) Cook, 1:25.55.
800: 1) Riley Smith, 2:22.25; 15) Raelyn Mong, 2:44.62; 16) Rachel Sanchez, 2:45.02.
1,600: 1) Smith, 5:12.12; 19) Ava Stafford, 6:12.75; 30) Ellie Osborne, 6:43.28.
55 hurdles: 2) Grace Shaffer, 9.02; 17) Sarah Andre, 10.56; 17) Asay, 10.62.
4x400 relay: 1) Cody (B. Stafford, Shaffer, Smith, Spiering), 4:26.59; 9) Cody (Asay, A. Stafford, Sanchez, Mong), 5:05.63.
1,600 sprint medley relay: 3) Cody (Sanchez, Nelson, Mong, Seibert), 4:47.21; 4) Cody (A. Stafford, B. Stafford, Wilson, Waltari), 4:51.97.
High Jump: 3) (tie) Andre, 4-9; 19) (tie) Anderson, 4-5.
Pole Vault: 1) Shaffer, 11-6; 4) Kinsie Reed, 9-6.
Long Jump: 2) Spiering, 16-6; 12) Seibert, 14-11 ¼; 20) Reed, 14-6 ¾.
Shot Put: 36) Boltz, 27-0 ½.
55 meters: 39) (tie) Tyler Grenz, 7.18; 49 (tie) Jackson Gail, 7.25; 115) Hayden Bronnenberg, 7.78.
200: 41) Gail, 26.03; 86) Isaac Taylor, 27.73; 104) Bronnenberg, 28.18. 12) Gail, 58.66.
800: 16) Braydon Bond, 2:21.92; 62) Ian Townsend, 2:53.82.
1,600: 13) Wyatt Becker, 5:06.40; 46) Josh Deal, 5:43.15.
55 hurdles: 23) Graidin Arnold, 12.01.
4x400 relay: 5) Cody (Arnold, Bond, Bronnenberg, Grenz), 4:02.23; 9) Cody (Deal, Becker, Townsend, Bridger Hult), 4:26.75.
1,600 sprint medley relay: 4) Cody (Grenz, Gail, Becker, Bond), 4:15.70; 7) Cody (Townsend, Hult, Bronnenberg, Deal), 4:41.51.
High Jump: 5) (tie) Taylor, 5-8.