It’s been a very solid start to the 2018 outdoor track and field season for Laramie High School with two meets in Colorado over the last two weekend.

Both teams finished in fourth place at the Runners Roost Invite March 23. That was followed by a second for the Plainsmen and fourth for the Lady Plainsmen March 31 at the Altitude Running Invite.

Laramie finished second in the boys’ division and seventh in the girls at the state championships last spring. They return seven All-State performers, one individual state champion and five members of state champion relays.

Gil Bradfield is in his 38th year as head track coach at Laramie High School. He knows this spring season could be really good for LHS. The Plainsmen are coming off an indoor state championship, while the Lady Plainsmen were second indoors. Add to that some student-athletes that competed in other winter sports, and Laramie looks to have a strong outdoor season.

Bradfield feels they’ve been able to use these first two meets to learn and grow, especially with some difficulty getting in practice due to the weather.

“Our distance boys and our distance girls are tremendous. Our boy’s jumpers and the girl jumpers, and definitely the mid-sprinters are coming along really well. We’ve found out a few things we didn’t know, and hope to build on that and just get better as the weeks come along.”

There’s around 90 students that came out for track this spring at LHS. About 15 seniors are leading the two squads.

Leading the way for the Plainsmen is defending state champion Albert Steiner. The senior won the 1600 and 3200 meters last May and was also part of the victorious 4x800 meter relay. In fact, the LHS boys return all four members from that relay team. In addition, All-State competitors like Philip Henry, Liam McInroy, Brendan Rucinski, Tyler Dahl and Jason Upton are back.

Bradfield says with this boys’ team, “They’ve done well in cross country (1st). They’ve done well in indoor track (1st), and they know there’s a lot on the line. If they can get better and get more experience, have some people step up and get the seventh and eighth place points, anything’s possible.”

Bradfield says their main competition will come from boy’s teams at Natrona County, Rock Springs and Thunder Basin.

The Lady Plainsmen are led by their only returning All-Stater in sophomore Abigail Whitman. She was runner-up in the 3200 meters as a freshman last year. Along with sophomore Emmy Johnson, senior Kyra Wulff, senior Becky Barbier and more, the Laramie girls are in a better position to be competitive this season.

“I definitely thing we can come along with this girls team,” said Bradfield. “In fact, after the indoor, we thought the indoor girls who are still out (for outdoor track and field) would do even better than they did, and they did do well (indoors). They got a solid second place, but I think there’s a lot of potential, and a lot of kids that can do well.”

Bradfield knows there will be some good squads from Cheyenne Central, Sheridan and Kelly Walsh that the Lady Plainsmen will have to face.

KOWB’s David Settle recently visited with seniors Monica Cossitt and Albert Steiner about the outdoor season, their expectations and much more.

Weather had already played a role, not only in practice, but also with last week’s Cheyenne South Twilight meet cancelled. Bradfield says all you can do is move on to the next one.

In the end there’s high expectations for both teams, and coach Bradfield says that comes from the kids.

“We just have to have small goals of achieving little things right now, and then working towards the big goal. They want to do well at the end (at state), both boys and girls.”

The schedule features meets around southeast Wyoming and into northern Colorado. Laramie is set to make trips to Denver and Sturgis, S.D. The 4A East Regional Track Championships will be in Cheyenne at East High School May 11 and 12. The 4A State Championship meet is May 17, 18 and 19 in Casper.