Indoor track season hits its marks for season-opening meet on Saturday
This weekend marks the official first meet of the 2020 indoor track season for Wyoming athletes. Some of the state’s best track and field athletes started practices in the new year and finally get to show out in a competitive meet for the first time on Saturday.
While the first allowable meet date is Thursday, the first in-state meet will be held Saturday at Natrona County’s Mustangs Activities Complex as the Meet At The MAC returns for a second season.
Defending champions, intriguing storylines, ambitious individuals and upset artists all fill the field for the two-month season. That leaves a lot to watch at the three facilities in Wyoming fit for hosting indoor track meets. Here’s just a taste of the season at large.
The Sheridan boys and Laramie girls captured team gold last season. That was just the second indoor title for Sheridan and first for the Laramie girls.
The Broncs were powered by sprinters last year but return just Carter McComb off a gold medal last year (McComb ran the opening leg of Sheridan’s winning 4×200 relay team). But they also return promising talent like Alex Garber, Wyatt Shaw and David Standish, just a few of the distance runners responsible for bringing a state cross country title to Sheridan for the first time.
Laramie returns gold-medal talent in Emmy Johnson, Aubry Sanchez, Libby Berryhill, Katy Kozlowski and Carey Berendsen to field yet another strong side. Berryhill, Kozlowski and Berendsen all captured relay gold while Johnson won last year’s 400 and Sanchez won the pole vault. However, the Plainsmen won’t have Sydney Thorvaldson on roster this year since Rawlins will field a varsity indoor track team for the first time this winter. Thorvaldson won four gold medals (three individual, one relay) to contribute 40 points to Laramie’s winning 112-point tally.
Records to fall
There are a combined 32 state records (16 each for boys and girls) across the indoor track season. Half of those marks have been set since the 2016 season. And more will likely fall this season.
Just last year the Sheridan girls crushed the 1,600 sprint medley record (4:18.51), Thorvaldson set new marks in the 1,600 (4:57.20) and 3,200 (10:26.53) as well. The Sheridan boys set a new state-best in the 4×200 relay (1:31.93) that returns just McComb this season.
Those records, and likely more, will be contested throughout the season and then once again at the state meet, where a mark needs to be beat in order to be ruled a new state record.
Visser on deck
Peter Visser played second fiddle to teammate Asefa Wetzel last season. This year is his time in the spotlight.
The Star Valley junior finished No. 84 in DyeStat’s Top 100 Distance Runners of 2019 after setting a new state cross country record in Afton last fall, setting himself up for success this winter. He finished second in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200, while also earning gold on the Braves’ winning 4×800 relay team.
Numerous Wyoming indoor track athletes go into this winter as seniors with eyes on college. Some will run track next season, while others will compete in different sports at college.
Rock Springs sprinter/hurdler Alyssa Bedard, for example, has already signed to play soccer at Wyoming. Cheyenne Central’s Kaitlyn Migneault will run track at Charleston Southern. The Laramie duo of Sanchez and Johnson will stay in Laramie to run for the Cowgirls and Kelly Walsh’s Emory Yoosook just signed to run track at Chadron State.
With more signings likely before the end of the season, there’s plenty of reason to spend a winter weekend indoors at least once to appreciate these athletes.
Follow sports reporter Brady Oltmans on Twitter @BradyOltmans