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By Alex Kuhn
Sports Editor 

Bobcats sprint medley team breaks school record


April 11, 2019

THERMOPOLIS - It was a record-setting day for the Hot Springs County High School track and field team at the L.A. Kohnke Invitational at Powel High School on April 6. The Bobcats sprint medley relay team set a new school record by breaking the old record of 3:54.55 by over three-tenths of a second at 3:54.33.

The relay team even had a new member, as Kolby George usually ran the relay anchor leg, with Ethan Becher joining Blake Williams, Jesse Skelton and Wyatt McDermott in Powell.

"We didn't break it by a ton," said HSCHS track and field coach Aimee Kay. "They're still working on the handoffs, which were better. We were able to get around without getting disqualified, there were still some bobbling and not smooth handoffs. So we'll keep working on that until we get it down.

Added Kay, "For Ethan to be thrown in there to take Kolby George's place, he did a great job."

Both the Bobcats and Lady Bobcats turned in excellent performances. "Overall we did well, we had a lot of new personal records and that's not a bad day at all," said Kay. "Kolby George and Wyatt McDermott set new PRs in their 800. [Kolby] is one to admit that he didn't work hard enough over the spring break so I anticipate that as he gets into better condition he'll continue to improve."

Competing in her first meet of the season, Lady 'Cat distance runner Tahja Hunt got her season going with a fast start, as she finished first in the 3200-meter run with a time of 13:38.59. Then ran a 5:59.56 in the 1600-meter finishing third.

Hunt has been working back from an illness that required her to miss some practices, but the junior has added extra conditioning to her daily training to boost her conditioning.

"She's a workhorse," said Kay. "Neither of her times were personal records but she was sick the first part of the season and she's starting to get her conditioning under her. She's an incredible worker and I know she's doing conditioning work before school too."

The 'Cat and Lady 'Cat pole vaulters also turned in an impressive showing as all six of them had personal records at Powell. Blake Williams was the high-placer for the 'Cats clearing 11-4, coming in second, and Olivia Weyer made it over 8-9 to finish second.

Kay credited her pole vaulting coach Ryan Williams, who pole vaulted at Chadron State College.

"Every single one of my pole vaulters had a great weekend. Each of them set new personal records. I think part of it is working with a new coach who has college experience.

"Ernie [Mecca, former head coach of HSCHS track and field] worked hard with the pole vaulters over the years and was the best he could be for those kids. But I think having a different perspective from coach Williams has been really helpful to the kids. That and they're all also getting older and stronger, but it was pretty darned exciting to see them all do so well," Kay said.

Jesse Skelton is on the verge of qualifying for the 3A State meet in Casper on May 16-18 in the 200-meter dash. Just a few meets into the season and Skelton has dropped close to two seconds on his 200.

"Jesse Skelton improved on his 200 PR, he was at a 26.41 and now he's at a 24.82 and he's getting closer to qualifying for state. He's so much stronger than he was last year and I'm excited to see his progress. He's an integral part of that medley relay team," said Kay.

The Glenrock Invitational on Friday and the Riverton Invitational on Saturday are the two meets lined up for the 'Cats and Lady 'Cats this week. As it tends to do this time of year, weather could alter those plans but Kay has her athletes prepared for whatever the weather throws their way.

"With the weather, I'm not completely optimistic that Glenrock will happen but Riverton looks like it should. It won't be bathing suit weather but we got new rain gear weather and we'll be wearing that for the meet," said Kay. "That's Wyoming track, you have to get used to that unexpected weather."


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