As a small 4A school, coach Bret Engdahl said the Cody track team doesn’t have the depth to match the bigger squads.
But what the Broncs and Fillies lack in numbers, they make up for in top-end talent and the ability to dominate in certain events.
Last Friday and Saturday at the 4A West Regional in Riverton, Cody qualified a number of athletes for state, and solidified a handful of four-event qualifiers.
“We’ve got quite a few qualified,” Engdahl said. “We’re not quite as deep as we’d like to be, but the things we do, we do really well.”
Luke Talich, Ada Nelson and Grace Shaffer won individual events, while the girls also won the 4x400 relay.
The Fillies finished third and the Broncs sixth in an eight team field of all 4A schools, most of which Cody hadn’t seen much of during the regular season.
Talich actually did better in his 200 prelim, but still got the win in the final, while he finished second in the 100. In the long jump, he finished just off his season best, which was still nearly 7 inches ahead of second place.
“Coach (Taylor) Hensen has been working with me on long jump in practice,” Talich said. “And we have been trying to just fine-tune some of the flaws that I have with my jump. That has definitely helped a lot.”
Shaffer was followed in the pole vault by second-place Nyah Meier for a 1-2 Cody finish. Shaffer also took one leg of the 4x400, along with Holly Spiering, Nelson and Lake Harrison. The team shaved more than six seconds off its time for the win.
“We have a very strong and competitive relay team,” Spiering said. “We run really well together. Our coaches really helped us improve on our handoffs this season. We competed in a relay at every meet, which really helped us prepare for regionals and state.”
Spiering also finished second in long jump, with Hayley Pearson-Horner close behind in fourth to also qualify.
“With long jump I have been working really hard to improve this season,” Spiering said. “I have been working on getting more height with my jumps.”
The 4x800 relay team, which hadn’t run much this season, finished second, with Ava Stafford, Zelma Rudd, Taylen Stinson and Nelson nabbing an automatic qualifying time.
Stafford, Stinson and Nelson all finished top-eight in the open 800 to secure a state spot.
Stafford credited the harder training and more speed workouts with helping the runners improve this year, as evidenced by the distance runner qualifying in not just the relay, but the 800, mile and two-mile for state next weekend in Casper.
She’s also impressed with the freshman middle distance runner who took another leap at Riverton with the 800 win.
“I’m really proud of Ada and her accomplishments this year, she has been a great teammate and a good addition to our team,” Stafford said. “She’s very reliable and consistently gets better with each meet.”
For the Broncs, Graidin Arnold shaved time off his PR to run 41.69 and finish third in the 300-meter hurdles, while the team of Nic Talich, Dillon Brost, Blake Beardall and Luke Talich finished second in the 4x100-meter relay with a state qualifying time. Brost also nabbed a third-place finish in the pole vault, securing him a spot at state.
Luke Talich said his improvement in the sprints has been a year-long endeavor.
“The 200 has been getting better for me all year just because I have been getting in better shape I think,” he said. “But on Friday my 200 felt really good. And then on Saturday, I think I had a good start, and I tried to just keep that speed the whole time. It definitely didn’t feel as good as Friday, but it was good to come out with the win.”
Cody throwers also had a productive meet. For the girls, Torrance Brown qualified for state in shot put and discus, while Bronc Jonny Williams will be headed to state in shot put for the first time.
Engdahl said most athletes peaked at the right time.
“Without question our sprinters all went faster, very few kids that didn’t have personal bests,” he said. “As young as we are, to do so well at a big event, that’s what you’re looking for.
“There were lots of smiles there, lots of kids competing, seeing the effort pay off.”
4A West Regional
Friday-Saturday in Riverton
100 meter: 11. Hayley Pearson-Horner, 13.77; 12. Elaine Seibert, 13.96; 13. Emileigh Dalton, 14.01.
200 meter: 10. Pearson-Horner, 28.28; 19. Dalton, 29.79.
800 meter: 1. Ada Nelson, 2:24.66; 3. Ava Stafford, 2:25.72; 7. Taylen Stinson, 2:28.27; 15. Zelma Rudd, 2:41.26.
1,600 meter: 8. Stafford, 5:48.61; 9. Stinson, 5:50.60; 17. Rudd, 6:14.24.
3,200 meter: 3. Stafford, 12:30.50.
100-meter hurdles: 3. Nicole Wagler, 16.54; 7. Callie Shelton, 17.72; 9. Kamry Hutchison, 18.27; 11. Sarah Andre, 18.52.
300-meter hurdles: 3. Wagler, 48.84; 9. Hutchison, 51.49.
4x100-meter relay: 4. Cody (Seibert, Holly Spiering, Lake Harrison, Grace Shaffer) 51.18.
4x400-meter relay: 1. Cody (Shaffer, Spiering, Nelson, Harrison) 4:09.30.
4x800-meter relay: 2. Cody (Stafford, Rudd, Stinson, Nelson) 10:14.06.
1,600-meter sprint medley relay: 3. Cody (Shaffer, Spiering, Harrison, Nelson) 4:25.81.
High jump: 9. Andre, 4-08; 9. Harrison, 4-08.
Pole vault: 1. Shaffer, 12-06.75; 2. Nyah Meier, 10-00; 4. Hailey Holeman, 10-00; 6. Kinsie Reed, 9-06; 8. Dalton, 8-06.
Long jump: 2. Spiering, 16-01.25; 4. Pearson-Horner, 15-10.50.
Shot put: 6. Torrance Brown, 32-01.50; 15. Ella Boltz, 29-08; 22. Emily Hecker, 25-06.50.
Discus: 6. Brown, 103-10; 10. Boltz, 92-03; 20. Hecker, 81-04.
100 meter: 2. Luke Talich, 11.26; 11. Nic Talich, 11.89; 12. Dillon Brost, 11.90.
200 meter: 2. L. Talich, 22.58; 12. Kellon George, 23.86; 13. AJ Baustert, 23.87.
400 meter: 14. Ian Graham, 57.99; 21. Bridger Hult, 59.96; 22. Ben Stewart, 1:02.45.
800 meter: 12. David Juergens, 2:08.47; 19. Graham, 2:11.63; 22. Stewart, 2:15.07; 25. Kash Merritt, 2:16.69.
1,600 meter: 14. Charlie Hulbert, 4:59.49; 16. Juergens, 5:01.42; 20. Merritt, 5:06.00; 24. Riley Nielson, 5:18.09.
3,200 meter: 9. Hulbert, 10:50.31; 16. Nielsen, 11:48.33.
110-meter hurdles: 6. Graidin Arnold, 17.23.
300-meter hurdles: 3. Arnold, 41.69.
4x100-meter relay: 2. Cody (N. Talich, Brost, Blake Beardall, L. Talich) 44.32.
4x800-meter relay: 5. Cody (Merritt, Stewart, Juergens, Graham) 8:50.04.
1,600-sprint medley relay: 5. Cody (Baustert, George, Arnold, Juergens) 3:49.78.
High jump: 9. Robby Porter, 5-08; 10. Beardall, 5-06.
Pole vault: 3. Brost, 11-00.
Long jump: 1. L. Talich, 21-08.
Triple jump: 18. Stewart, 35-02.5.
Shot put: 7. Jonny Williams, 45-05.75; 28. Logan Class, 29-06; 29. Keegan Hensley, 29-02; 30. Baustert, 27-07.5.
Discus: 13. Williams, 114-02; 18. Hensley, 108-02; 21. Class, 105-03; 27. Baustert, 100-02.