By Alex Kuhn
Sports Editor 

Raising the bar

2017 Ten Sleep track and field team turns heads this season


June 6, 2017

TEN SLEEP - The 2017 track and field season was a tremendous year for the Ten Sleep High School team. The Lady Pioneers placed third at 1A state meet, scoring 93 points with only seven athletes, and the Pioneers sent two athletes to state.

And for the program it is a step in the right direction.

"I think it's super important. It shows we have kids that are capable of competing and I think it pulls more kids to come out and be a part of something special," said TSHS track coach Desiree Egger about her team's performance this season. "To bring home some hardware after I missed out last season felt good. It was hard missing last season, so to be able to do better this season was a cool thing."

One of the many highlight of this season for Egger was watching senior Allison Hampton successfully defend her triple jump championship, beating out rival Mackenzie Powell and, Powell's sister, Paige Powell, both of Encampment.

"It was exciting. Mackenzie Powell had beaten her at the Track Classic and at regionals, so it was the last go for her. They have a good competitive relationship and they respect each other. For Allison, and for me, the culmination of four years together and missing out last year on her championship, it was cool for me to be there to see her win it again," said Egger.

As a freshman, Hampton was the only athlete out for the Lady Pioneers, and to see her high school career culminate with back-to-back championships was a special moment for both Egger and Hampton.

"I don't think she got to enjoy it in the moment because she was preparing to run the mile. But I told her I'd give her a thumbs up if Paige didn't jump as far. When I knew Paige wasn't going to catch her I gave her the thumbs up and it was probably the highlight of state for me. Just being able to see her go out on top and to do it together because we were together when she first started jumping. That was a really cool moment for us and for her especially," said Egger.

Sophomore Kelli Holliday not only defended all three of her state championships from her freshman year (800, 1,600, 3,200), but added the 400 to make her a four-time champion in 2017.

"I don't think there is a kid out there as tough as she is. She's a strong mental competitor. She'll tell you she gets nervous, but in the end she knows that she can do it and will do it. It's amazing that she added one more championship to her list. There's nothing but good things coming from her down the road," said Egger.

Freshman Sydney Holiday was the champion in the 100, 200 and finished seventh in the 100 hurdles and fourth in the 300 hurdles. In the 100 hurdle finals, in which she was the favorite, Holiday was leading until she clipped a hurdle that dropped her to seventh. Afterward, Egger told Holiday to use the disappointment from the 100 hurdles as motivation for next season.

"She had a great outing, but she was upset and one of the things I asked her when it happened was, 'is this the first time you've messed up?' She told me no and I told her it's not going to be her last either. Moments like those are what builds character in an athlete. I think it was a good lesson for her and those lessons never come easy, but she's going to be better for it," said Egger.

The Lady Pioneers were close to placing second and only needed five more points to do so. While it was frustrating, Egger used the moment to teach her team that if they're going to bring home bigger hardware in future. It's going to take everyone's best performance to do so.

"They were close but you have to have everyone firing on all cylinders. We had some disappointments, but that's how you learn, grow and become better as a team and individual athlete," said Egger.

Some of the best moments from this season for Egger were the little ones, like watching her athletes keep working until they had that breakthrough. Zayne Cooper and Zane Taylor were able to qualify for state at the 1A West regional meet. Due to injuries Cooper was put in the high jump, an event he had not competed in all season, yet still made it to state. While Taylor gave it his all to sneak in the final spot for the shot put.

"I think all the little moments that makes everything so memorable. Being with the kids every single day and seeing the outcome of their hard work. You look at what the Zanes did, Zayne Cooper was willing to get to state any way he could. And Zane Taylor picked up steam down the stretch and threw a PR (personal record) at state. Sometimes you don't see the progress until the end and you're able to reflect on all the hard work that was put in," said Egger.

Egger was also thankful for her assistant coach Brian Holiday, "A shout-out to Brian Holiday, he has been a pleasure to work with and we definitely couldn't do it without him," said Egger.

As for next season's goals Egger won't worry about setting any until the start of the season, but knows expectations have been raised.

"We'll decide on those goals at the start of next season when we know who we have. But the expectations have been raised and our experienced athletes know what it's like to taste victory. So they'll expect the same hard work from the younger kids coming in next year. The bar has been raised and we have to meet it or do better," said Egger.


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