Laramie High School Competes at Three State Championships
It’s state championship weekend for three Laramie High School teams with Nordic skiing, wrestling, and boys’ indoor track attending culminating events.
The Wyoming High School Nordic Skiing State Championships and the Wyoming High School State Wrestling Championships are in Casper, while the Wyoming High School Indoor Track State Championships for the boys are in Gillette.
Laramie Indoor Track
The state championships were split up this year due to COVID protocols. The boys’ and girls’ state meets are on separate weekends. First up, the boys on Saturday at the Campbell County Recreation Center.
LHS qualified nine boys for the state championships. Only the top eight times in running events and top nine marks in field events made it to the state meet. Laramie’s nine consists of senior Aidan Morris, senior Travis Judd, and sophomore John Rose in individual events. Morris and Judd are joined by senior Austin Dahl and junior Quail Perkins on the 4x200 meter relay. The 4x800 meter relay qualified, and the members are juniors Russell King and Will McCrea, and sophomores Meyer Smith and Nathan Martin.
Laramie head coach Greg Schabron was happy with nine given how difficult it was to qualify for state this year.
“A lot of these that have qualified in relays and especially individual events, it’s because they did off and preseason work, and so they deserve that (qualification status). Obviously, as a coaching staff, we’re a little disappointed that the state didn’t allow some more athletes in. We’re super-glad that we get a state meet, but it’s definitely going to be eerily different this year.”
Morris will compete in four events. He’s seeded second in the 55-meter hurdles and pole vault. He will also long jump and run a leg on the 4x200 meter relay. Judd is also on that relay and will compete in the long and triple jumps. All other student-athletes from LHS are in just one event.
Schabron said, “I think they’re going to be ready to go. We’re backing all these athletes off a little bit this week; getting them up and see the facility, do some run-throughs on Friday evening and be ready to go for Saturday.”
Schabron’s goal each year is to finish among the top three in the state. He’s not sure how the Plainsmen will fare in the team race.
“Team title-wise, we just don’t have the depth this year, to be quite honest with you, so we’re going for these athletes to perform as well as they can in these events.”
The field events start at 9 a.m. on Saturday. Track events will begin at 10 a.m.
Laramie Nordic Skiing
The 2021 state Nordic ski meet will be at the Casper Mountain Nordic Trails on Friday and Saturday.
The competition features a 5 km classic race starting at 10 a.m. on Friday and a 10 km freestyle race on Saturday, also at 10 a.m.
LHS head coach Rebecca Watson says her teams look good going into the state championships.
“I really feel like they’re in a really strong spot. We’ve been working on tapering, and they’re starting to look sharper. I’m really excited to see what they’re able to do at these state races.”
Watson says they’ll be competing on what she calls technical courses but nothing they haven’t seen or skied on already this year.
“Just revisiting what we know, and how we put it all together and make everything happen for us.”
Jackson is the defending team champion in both the girls’ and boys’ divisions. The Lander boys and girls, plus the Kelly Walsh girls also have strong teams, according to Watson.
Junior Tristan Smith leads the Plainsmen, and Watson feels he has a good shot at possibly top-five finishes in both races. Watson also mentioned Emmitt Gray and Emmet Shuman, as possibly top 10 contenders. A pair of freshmen, Eliza Fay and Laura Brande lead the girls’ team into the state meet.
The Plainsmen have 11 state qualifiers for this year’s Class 4A state championships, which are a one-day event in Casper at the Ford Wyoming Center (formerly the Casper Events Center).
Laramie took third at last weekend’s 4A Northwest Regional Wrestling Quad. They had two champions in senior Gavin Kopp (182) and freshman Dakota Ledford (126). Three more placed second.
Head coach Stuart Brinkman was happy to have 11 wrestlers qualify for the state championships.
“We have a lot of first-year wrestlers on our team this year. They were one match away, some of them one point away, so I was really pleased with the number received going to state.”
Brinkman also said the brackets are rather interesting this year.
“On some of them, there’s three of the top guys on one side (of the bracket), and sometimes that’s where we’re at, too, so we’re going to have to beat some good guys. Some people’s brackets, though, are a good match-up, where we’re wrestling somebody we’ve already beaten twice, which doesn’t matter in the postseason. You can’t overlook anyone. I’m pretty pleased with how the brackets turned out.”
Brinkman stated that he’s hoping guys reach their potential this weekend.
“We’ve been talking about goals all year, and that’s what I’m really looking forward to, is these guys achieving their goals.”
Brinkman believes conditioning could play a role. The most they’ve wrestled all season is three matches in a day. Some guys could potentially wrestle five or six matches on Saturday.
The first round starts at 8:30 a.m. The championship and other placing matches are scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
Laramie Alpine Skiing
Both teams finish up their regular season this weekend.
At the Pinedale Invitational last weekend, both teams placed fourth. The girls scored 38 team points. McCrea Doyle was 10th in the giant slalom, and Lina Woelk took 10th place in the slalom. The boys scored 41 points. Ashton Ford was the top finisher in both races. He was eighth in the GS and fifth in the slalom.
Laramie is back at Hogadon Basin Ski Area for the NCHS Britt Farr Memorial race. Their state championships are next weekend.