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By Alex Kuhn
Sports Editor 

Lady Bobcats win first cross-country state championship in school history

Bomengen, Hunt and Weyer earn All-State honors


October 23, 2018


Lady Bobcats (l-r) Tahja Hunt, Oliva Weyer, McKenna Bomengen, Aime Robinson, Rebekah Johnson and Hallie Martinez are all smiles as they stand on the podium as 2018's 2A Girls State Cross-Country champions Saturday afternoon at the Sheridan V.A. in Sherdian.

SHERIDAN - The Hot Springs County High School Lady Bobcats made history Saturday morning by winning the first cross-country state championship in school history. The Lady Bobcats gave their best performance of the season as they beat out Wyoming Indian by two points for the state title at the Sheridan V.A. Hospital Grounds in Sheridan.

"They had a really great mindset and they brought it up, that if we do our best and don't win, then what was it all for? They were the ones that had that conversation that doing our best is mandatory. And if our best wasn't going to get us in front of the girls ahead of us, then we needed to go faster and push harder.

"For them to be saying those things shows how focused they were, and the night before they talked about their goals and knew what was at stake and they did what they had to do," said HSCHS cross-country coach Stephanie Metz.

The Lady 'Cats scored 21 points and placed three in the top 10, Tahja Hunt finished second (20:11.39), McKenna Bomengen sixth (21:11.75) and Olivia Weyer ninth (22:03.88). Not to be outdone the other Lady 'Cat runners ran very well and were instrumental in the team's victory, Hallie Martinez just missed the top 10 finishing 11th with a time of 22:06, Aime Robinson was 13th running 22:31.62 and Rebekah Johnson 33rd with 25:47.92.

After Johnson crossed the finish line, Metz went to work figuring out her team's score. There was double-checking, triple-checking and comparing results with other Bobcat parents who kept score, and each time the same result came up, the Lady 'Cats were the 2A State champs.

Metz told her runners they beat out Wyoming Indian by two points and any exhaustion felt from the race was instantly gone. Euphoric joy took over as the Lady 'Cats hugged one another and celebrated the program's first state championship.

The sense that something special was going to happen was there but it was even more evident when the starter's gun went off. Each Lady 'Cat was locked in and was not going to be the one to let down their teammates. And during the race's final stretch, when most other runners are fading, the Lady 'Cats took it to another gear.

"We had conversations about leadership and what it means to wear a Bobcat jersey. We also talked about who is your target and what's your job for the meet. We really lined out where the last 800 starts, where's your 400-marker start, so they knew at those spots I've got a job to do. They looked for their target and with all the parent support, the adrenaline, it was just perfect," Metz.

Another key to Saturday's historic day was the leadership provided by Bomengen, Hunt and Weyer. The three juniors are by and far the most experienced runners on the team and while Metz was in coaches meetings. The junior leaders walked through the course with their teammates and gave out pointers for every spot on the path.

"Their experience at this course helped a ton because they were able to walk everybody through when I had coaches meetings in the morning. Just a reminder this is the uphill, this is the downhill, use this, stride out, angle your arms for the hill. Just walking everyone through was phenomenal; everyone did their part and then some to make it happen," said Metz.

Adding to the already sweet taste of victory is the fact that the Lady 'Cats do not lose a single runner from this year's championship team. This team has the potential to be even better next year than they were this year. With that kind of potential Metz was already brainstorming training ideas for the summer and ways to recruit more runners to the team.

Metz said, "My planning hasn't really stopped since they crossed the finish line. What do I have to change for next year? It's in Star Valley and we're going to have hills up the wazoo and crazy elevation change. I was thinking when our summer training has to start and what do I need to do to recruit more.

"It is great that we have three in the top 10, five on our team but I think it's going to be this winning mentality that's going to be infectious amongst our team and through our school. Hopefully, we'll recruit more for our guys' team too, we had two this year but we want to fill out a team."

Having a championship to their name has made every mile the Lady 'Cats ran this summer or during practice, well worth it. Everyone knows it takes hard work to bring home a title but when that knowledge turns into an actual experience, it brings a level of affirmation that not many get to know.

The Lady 'Cats know exactly what it takes to win a championship, they'll be more than ready for their coach's summer training because in 2019, it's all about defending their title.

"They all know what it takes. My top three, the juniors know the work it's going to take. I think they just have more trust in me now and we can get there if we're doing these things," said Metz. "Higher mileage at the start and more intervals, more up hills and down hills to be ready. With this championship, they're going to attack those workouts more with a mentality of we have to defend our state title."

Results from the 2A Girls State cross-country meet are as follows.

2, Tahja Hunt, 20:11.39.

6,McKenna Bomengen, 21:11.75.

9, Olivia Weyer, 22:03.88.

11, Hallie Martinez, 22:06.80.

13, Aime Robinson, 22:31.62.

33, Rebekah Johnson, 25:47.92.


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