TORRINGTON – The 2023 season will be the third year in a row which student-athletes from Torrington, Southeast and Lingle-Fort Laramie have joined forces to compete together for an indoor track season.
Numbers continue to increase each year, and long-time THS track coach Mark Sims expects to see numbers into the mid-40s this winter with the Blazer indoor track and field team.
“It’s really exciting. It’s a tribute to Southeast, Lingle and Torrington coming together and making one team. It shows what can happen when that happens,” Sims said. “Lingle has always had good teams. Southeast is generally really tough too. Then you put Torrington in there, and it makes for a super team.”
Practice for the upcoming season began this week in preparation for the team’s first meet which is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 14 at Natrona County High School in Casper.
Despite not having a full-fledged indoor track facility like the larger schools, the team still has it better than some places, according to Sims.
“We built a runway in that old gym that we pole vault in and can long and triple jump in,” he said. “We also have a high jump pit in there. It’s not ideal, but it helps a lot that we can do those things inside. Then we find places to run outside if the weather allows.”
The practice materials were built with the help of Jason Groene and the Ag department.
“It’s a tribute to the Ag department,” Sims said. “They built the runway for us and the shot put rings.”
The biggest challenge is to find places to run when it’s cold and wet in the winter, and on Tuesday, the team ran over by the bus barns behind Wiseman Field.
“We can do a lot of things other people can’t and that’s exciting.” Sims said.
Sims will be assisted this season by Russell Stienmetz and Shaylee Mortimore, along with volunteers Kathy Hamer-Smith and Robb Nicolay.
The 2023 season will also be the first season which there will be two divisions for indoor track.
“They moved Central, East and South, Kelly Walsh and Natrona, both Gillette schools are up, as well as Rock Springs and Laramie,” Sims said. “They are all above us. We would have competed very well there, but not like we are going to here. We should be in the top three in both. We have depth in both.”
Blazer boys eyeing
hardware at state
“The boys’ team should be really good,” Sims said. “If everybody stays healthy and stays up with their grades, we should be real competitive.”
The team will have a good mix of sprinters, middle- and long-distance runners, as well as field events.
Brenden Flock, Wyatt Campbell and Slade Hopkins will lead the group of sprinters.
“Brenden Flock, he’s going to have an excellent chance to win the 55 and 200, and he’s pretty good in the 400 as well,” Sims said.
Mix in Aydan Loya, coming off a strong cross country season, in the mile and 800, as well as LFL’s Wilson duo of Myles and Sully.
In field events, Ty Bennick and Boyd Oliver will lead the group of throwers. Dawson Mullock is coming off placing in the top five at state in the outdoor season in both the long jump and high jump, while Bryant DeMott placed a year ago at the indoor state meet in high jump.
This winter will be Junior Fuller’s first season doing indoor track.
“He jumped 21-7 and was third in our class last year,” Sims said. “He’ll be tough.”
A year ago, the Blazers finished fifth at state, and despite losing Ryan Clapper and Kyland Fuller, Sims said everyone else is back.
“We should be in the hunt,” Sims said. “We should be in the top three at least. There is no place where we can’t place.”
Lady Blazers young but talented
“The girls are going to be a bit younger, but they still have a lot of talent,” Sims said.
He mentioned the names of Torrington’s Alyssa Wondercheck, who didn’t place in indoor but placed at state during the outdoor season, Southeast’s Harper Boche, who finished second in shot put during the outdoor season, a trio of Lingle-Fort Laramie hurdlers in Emma Walker, Grace Gibson and Jade Kaufman.
Sims said Torrington’s Ambery Froerer and Tiffany Krueger will aid in the relays, while Southeast duo Tylar Stoddard and Angie Logsdon will help in the jumping events again this season.
There are also a number of freshmen who Sims expects to contribute right out of the gates this winter, including Brooklyn Asmus.
“We have Asmus, who ran well as an eighth-grader,” Sims said. “She actually ran times that would have pre-qualified in the 100 and 200 last year.”
“They will be very competitive as well,” Sims added. “Just with the numbers, we will have an opportunity to run all these events and relays.”