by Chris Brown WG coach
The West Grand track team with 22 boys and 15 girls has been practicing inside for 3 weeks to prepare for the 2022 season. Of the 37 athletes, 27 are either freshmen or first time tracksters. With the track complex buried in snow, the coaching staff has been inventing ways to introduce many events to a large group with no experience. The maintenance staff has cleared 4 lanes outside, and if we can get some sunshine, it might be usable after we return from spring break.
Returning for the Mustangs with State experience are senior Levi Edson, juniors Wyatt Howell and Ollie Bergman, and sophomore Lillian Hufford. The three boys all medalled in relays while Ollie and Lillian qualified in the pole vault. Lillian was the league champ in the pole vault, and the boys all scored in their events in league. Also, returning league placers are seniors Maddy Probst and Audree Miller.
The Mustangs took half the team to their first meet in Rifle on Friday, March 18, at the start of spring break. The weather was a crisp 25 degrees at the 9 a.m. start, but by noon it was a nice cool, calm spring day. Most athletes then ran, jumped, threw, or hurdled for the first time. On the girls side, they were 16th out of 25 teams with 12 points. Lilian Hufford won the pole vault, involving 32 athletes, after a four way jump-off to decide the winner. She then teamed up with Celia Guzman, Lillie Steinle, and Sara Lechman to place 7th in the 4X400 relay.
On the boys side, Ollie Bergman placed 4th out of 34 in the pole vault and freshmen Joe Probst was 7th in the 110 high hurdles and 9th in the 300 hurdles. Joe ran his first set of high hurdles, 3 stepping 9 of them until he clipped it enough to stumble and disrupt an otherwise excellent first time race. In a call to longtime, former Coach Joe Shields, he confirmed that in his 50+ years, only school record holder Gary O’Hotto was able to 3-step all 10 hurdles as a freshman.
Practice will resume March 28, when school returns with the next meet being the University Invitational in Greeley on April 2. Twenty-five teams are scheduled to compete there. The Mustangs host two meets this year, the High Country Pole Vault Championships with 80+ vaulters on April 19 and the Joe Shields Invitational on May 13.