Volume 2, Number 8 - May 23, 2002
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
And One More Makes Four
by Jim Carbley
Punchers set new 2A standard with fourth consecutive State Championship while Piney gals finished 5th, Pinedale gals and guys finish 12th and 14th.
At last week's State Track Meet in Casper, the Big Piney Punchers won the Wyoming Class 2A State Track Championship, and in doing so added a word that had never before been applied to Wyoming Class 2A track, fourpeat.
It was the Red's fourth straight State crown, and the first time a Class 2A team has won four championships in a row, which leaves Marbleton having to pull down those big Red banners along highway 189 so they can add 2002 to the list of championships.
For their part, with both teams racked with a respiratory infection, the Pinedale contingent fared less well than they should have, and the Lady Green finished in twelfth place with 26 points while the Wranglers finished in fourteenth place with 23 points.
From the Sublette County viewpoint, the real story of the meet was the Red's battle with Wright for the crown.
Although the Punchers had a 20.5-point lead with just four events remaining going into the 400-meter dash, the Red had no entries and Wright's second place finish in the event cut Piney's lead to 11.5 points.
Since neither Piney or Wright had entries in the meet's final event, the 4 x 400-meter relay, and both teams were far ahead of the competition, the championship hung on a duel between the two best 200 runners in Class 2A, Puncher Kyle Gerik and Wright's Nick Bear, with the crown going to the team whose runner crossed the line first.
With the gun the runners broke out of the blocks, and around the turn it was tough to tell who had the lead, but as soon as they hit the straight Gerik turned on the juice and pulled smartly away from the field to cross the finish line almost a second ahead of Bear who finished in seventh place.
Monday, the Examiner interviewed both head coaches.
"The boys went down there knowing that Kyle Gerik and Terrell Brown were the state leaders and were going to do very well in their events ... were by far the best two hurdlers in our class and Terrell was the leading triple jumper ... so we knew we were going to pick up quite a few points with those two ... (and) they pulled in 74 points.
"But the key to the championship was what the other kids did ... Justin McDonald and Justin Krieger in the long jump ... McDonald was supposed to score, but then Krieger went over 20 feet in the long jump and went over 40 feet in the triple jump, and that was 6 points we really didn't know we were going to get. For a kid in his first year to place in the top six at State is just amazing.
"Then there was Matt Kozeal's fourth place and 5 points in the shot ... Jared Holgate tying for fourth in the pole vault and pulling in 4.5 points ... Jesse King finishing seventh in the discus which was worth 2 points ... the 4 x 100 relay got sixth, and it was those 23.5 points that won the meet for us.
"LaVoie being out hurt us a little, and it's too bad that he went to State and was unable to run. It's impossible to say if he would have won the mile, but his times were as good as the mile leader and he probably could have helped us in the 800, where Wright had three in the top five.
"Basically we had to go head-to-head against Wright where we could, and just hope that our hurdlers and jumpers would outweigh their distance people, and that's kind of what happened.
"Our girls were fantastic ... and there wasn't much more we could ask.
"They won the 4 x 400 ... and they did very well...came within 2 points of finishing fourth, which I thought was fantastic," Eskelsen said,
Pinedale Coach Rich Steege said, "Out of the 25 kids we took over, 15 of them were sick ... all upper respiratory congestion, terrible sore throats, sinus congestion ... we were just a mess."
"Considering the fact that none of them felt worth a darn and that it was hard enough for them to run warm-up laps let alone their events, I was real proud of the efforts they gave. They showed a lot of character, went ahead and competed to the best of their ability. They felt bad and we felt bad for them, but they just weren't able to go over there and show what they really could do.
"On the girls side ... underclassmen ... Jessica Transtrum and Amanda Reints vaulted their best of the year and are just going to continue to improve, and high jumpers Bonnie Mackey and Amber Pearce both placed.
"There were just a lot of encouraging performances all the way through, even though they weren't our best, and these kids are making commitments now to come back not long after school is out to start making preparations to make better what we missed this year.
"Congratulations to the south side boys. It was an interesting meet going into Saturday, and Wright certainly kept the engraver from stamping the trophy ... but the Piney boys showed real character, didn't lose their composure and performed the way they needed to in order to pull it out," Steege added.
Photo credits: Jim Carbley
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