Kemmerer senior Louis Failoni runs in a track meet earlier this season. Failoni broke the school record in the 1600-meter (mile) race last weekend at the High School Invitational at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah. (GAZETTE PHOTO / Theresa Davis)
Kemmerer senior Louis Failoni competed at the Utah Valley University High School Invitational in Orem, Utah, on Saturday, March 31, to run against some of the best milers in Wyoming and Utah.
Louis’ primary goal was to challenge himself against superior competition in the hopes that he might finally end his three-year quest to best the Kemmerer High School 1600-meter record of 4 minutes 35.20 seconds set by Joey Guice in 1993. When the dust settled on the Hal Wing Track in Orem, Failoni had finished in twentieth place in the mile, but had successfully set a new school record with a run of 4 minutes 34.66 seconds.
The boys’ mile race in Kemmerer has a long history. In 1958, Jim “Slim” Gianola ran a mile in 4 minutes 45.2 seconds, setting the mark for the first known school record. Wayne Beachler and Todd Jacobson ran under five minute miles in the early 60s, and Sim Mayne did the same in 1976, but their attempts fell short of the record.
In 1979, the mile officially became known as the 1600-meter run. A mile is actually 1609 meters, so the conversion favors the modern runners. That same year, Mike Geslin set a new Ranger record in the state finals of the 1600-meter run with a time of 4 minutes 35.9 seconds. The first runner to challenge Geslin’s record was Geoff Vickrey in 1985. Vickrey still holds the school record in the 3200-meter run by a safe margin, but his best time in the mile of 4 minutes 44.02 seconds fell short.
Joey Guice set a new mark of 4 minutes 35.20 seconds in 1993, which held up for 25 years. In 1995, Matt Alleman missed the mark by one-hundredth of a second in the state finals with a time of 4 minutes 35.21 seconds. That same year Mike Kjar ran a 4 minute 44.4 second mile.
In 1998, Jason Mower ran his fastest mile at 4 minutes 43.20 seconds. Marshall Crosland made a serious attempt at the record in 2001 with his time of 4 minutes 41.97 seconds. Other sub-4:50 milers in Kemmerer history include Doro Guizar in 2004, Kylie Bluemel in 2007, and Lukas Mathews in 2017.
Louis Failoni emerged as a miler when he set the current Kemmerer eighth-grade boys record of 5 minutes 9.43 seconds. His freshman year he ran a 4 minute 45.72 second mile in the state finals to place fifth. As a sophomore, he won the 2A boys’ state title by running 4 minutes 38.92 seconds, within 4 seconds of the school record. Last year, his best run came at the Wyoming Track Classic in Casper at 4 minutes 39.54 seconds.
The Lady Ranger record for the mile was set in 1980 by Shellie Avery at 5 minutes 22.2 seconds. Amanda Schreurs’ 5 minute 36.79 second run in 2004 remains the closest challenge to date.