Bulldogs blaze to second-place finish at state

David Peck

A talented Lovell High School boys track team reached the highest rung of the championship ladder for Class 3A in school history over the weekend at State, placing second out of 16 teams at the state track and field meet in Casper.
The Bulldogs racked up 87.5 points, trailing only Douglas with 135.5 points by the end of the three-day meet. Lovell topped third-place Powell (77 points), fourth-place Buffalo (71 points) and fifth-place Worland (64.5), along with 10 others.
“What a great way to end (the season), breaking records, getting state titles and setting personal records,” coach Joshua Sanders said. “Gavin (Robertson) and Adnan (Khan) set personal records in almost all of their events, so that’s fantastic, especially for a senior to finish that way, when you look at Adnan.
“That’s the highest team finish for Lovell in 3A. We have high quality athletes.”
Among the highlights, the 400-meter relay team of sophomore Matthew Newman, Khan, Blake Wilson and Robertson broke their own school record, winning the race in 43.65 to beat the record of 43.71 set in Thermopolis two weeks earlier.
“Those guys did a great job. They really wanted to do well,” Sanders said. “So many times that’s the most important part, wanting it badly enough to work hard and focus on what you’re doing.”
Khan, Robertson and Newman placed in four events at State, Owen Walker three.
Robertson had an outstanding meet. Besides being a member of the winning relay team, he placed second in the 100-meter dash by just 1/100th of a second to Tyler Bohnen of Wheatland, blazing the 100 meters in 11.26, a personal record.
“Gavin was 1/100th of a second from winning a state title,” Sanders confirmed. “He ran an outstanding race. He had a good start, which has been problematic for him. He did everything he could to put himself in that position.”
He also ran a PR in the 200-meter dash, placing fourth in 22.32.
“That’s really good,” Sanders said. “He ran a tremendous race. He had an outstanding meet all the way around.”
In his lone field event, Robertson placed third in the long jump with a personal-record effort of 21-8.
Khan, meanwhile, placed fourth in the 100-meter dash in 11.41 after running 11.06 in the preliminaries.
“I know he really wanted to win the 100,” Sanders said, “but he still ran a good race. He wishes his start would have been better. He’s been a mainstay in our program.”
Khan also placed fourth in the triple jump, hitting the sand at 42-10½, and fifth in the long jump at 21-2¾, a personal record.
Newman and Walker were dynamic in Casper. Newman broke his own school record in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles, placing second in 39.53, 3/10s of a second behind Reed McFadden of Lander.
“He was worried about dealing with a little bit of a back injury,” Sanders said. “He hurt it going over the hurdles at Regionals. This was his first one under 40 (seconds). McFadden is really good, but Matthew closed on him in the home stretch.”
Newman won the triple jump, sailing 43-9 as one of four Lovell jumpers to exceed the 40-foot mark. Walker finished close behind Newman in second at 43-3½, Khan was fourth and senior Wilson finished 10th at 40-7¼.
“I was ecstatic about the finish in the triple jump,” Sanders said. “Those guys have worked really hard on their form, and I think the younger triple-jumpers coming into the program can learn a lot from them. It all came together for them. Blake injured his foot on the first jump, otherwise he would have placed. I felt really bad for him. He’s been jumping really well this year.”
Walker placed third in the high jump, clearing 6-2, and he placed sixth in the long jump with a personal-record distance of 21-2½.
Newman ran a strong race in the 800 meters, placing fifth in a time of 2:00.55, just 4/100ths of a second off his PR.
Junior Taggart Shumway reached a season-long goal by exceeding 12 feet in the pole vault, clearing the bar at 12-6 to place fifth. Owen Edwards also set a personal record, clearing 11-6 to finish 11th.
Asked about what propelled Shumway to new heights, Sanders replied, “It was definitely his approach. He was coming in hard, like he meant business. He also did a better job getting his feet up on the swing portion of his vault.”
Sophomore Halen Strom placed seventh in the discus with a toss of 135-11.
Other Lovell boys results at the state meet were:
300m hurdles – Kaeson Anderson 15th in prelims, 43.92 (PR); high jump – Anderson tie for 10th, 5-10; shot put – Halen Strom 12th, 41-8; discus – Kyle Wilson 13th, 116-5.
Girls results
The highlight of the state meet for the Lady Bulldogs was the performance of the throwers, who set two new school records.
Senior Summer Teter uncorked a throw of 38-7¼ to break the school record of 37-1 set by fellow senior Carissa Lindsay. Teter placed third in a strong field with the throw. Lindsay placed seventh at 36-1¼.
“She nailed it,” Sanders said of Teter’s throw. “We’re glad she came out (for the team) her senior year. AJ (Montanez, throwing coach) does an excellent job. All of our coaches do. I’ve been impressed with all of the coaches we have. They know what they’re doing, and they know how to coach.”
Lindsay broke a school record herself, flinging the discus 112-11 to break the record of 112-7 set by Miranda Griffis in 2011. Lindsay finished ninth with the throw.
“It was a tough field,” Sanders said. “That was a nice way to cap her senior year and make up for
her disappointment in the shot put.”
The Lovell 3,200-meter relay team of sophomore Becca Nichols, freshmen Kandace Asay and Jenna Hessenthaler and senior Keyanna Walker placed sixth in a season-best time of 10:49.84.
“I thought they all ran strong,” Sanders said. “Becca Nichols got off to a strong start, and the two freshmen ran strong. Keyanna (a senior) has been on that relay team all four years.
“I’m excited for those three (Nichols, Asay and Hessenthaler). I think they’ll be strong for our middle distances going forward.”
The foursome of Asay, Nichols, Brooklin Clark and Raegan May placed ninth in the 400-meter relay, running a time of 53.71.
Clark finished 14th in the long jump at 15-1, and she ran a personal record in the 300-meter low hurdles, finishing 14th in the preliminaries in 49.80.
“She broke 50 (seconds). That’s impressive,” Sanders said. “She’s been really good for our program. Breaking 50 is a difficult thing to do in the hurdles.”
Summing up the season and the meet, Sanders noted, “I don’t think we’ve had as many PRs and school records as we had this year. I feel like we’re on the right track, that our program is going in the right direction.”
Season awards
On Monday, Sanders presented four outstanding athlete awards. He named Lindsay as the outstanding female field athlete, Nichols as the outstanding female track athlete, Walker as the outstanding male field athlete and Newman as the outstanding male
track athlete.