Ranger boys earn fifth place at state track meet in Casper


The Kemmerer High School track team traveled to Casper for the 2A state track Meet last weekend.  The boys’ team ranked 11th in points scored at the combined regionals and the plan was to hold onto the points they had and let the other teams cancel each other out. The plan worked and the boys were able to surpass six other teams to finish fifth at state. 

Louis Failoni and Lukas Mathews have scored a combined 95 points at state track meets together the last 3 years, the most ever by a Kemmerer boys’ duo.  Their total tops the career total of 93.5 points scored by Bruce Mowry and Tom Harding in 1979-81 (based on today’s scoring system, and including top three individual events and one relay).

The last time the Kemmerer boys team had 10 boys score points at the state meet was 1994.

The sprinters from Upton were just as stingy with their points, however, and actually gained a point at state to finish 12 points ahead of the Rangers and claim the fourth place trophy. Lovell held off Rocky Mountain for the boys’ championship title, with Bighorn making a late run to finish third. 

In the girls’ division,  last year’s runner-up Big Piney, who lost to Bighorn by 51 points a year ago, closed the gap to 2.5 points this year, but finished second to the Lady Rams once again.

Thursday

A cold, wet spring storm forced the postponement of all field events, but the long-distance races proceeded on schedule. The few fans that braved the weather huddled near the top of the stadium under the breezeway. The participants hit the track dressed in gear that was more suited to cross-country skiing. Kemmerer athletes’ times did not suffer as badly as most other contestants, possibly because they are more accustomed to dressing warm and running in cold conditions.

Louis Failoni and Lukas Mathews dominated the 3200-meter run, as expected. The duo took the lead after the first three laps and never looked back, outpacing the third place finisher by 140 meters. Failoni ran a personal record of 10 minutes 37.04 seconds for first place. Mathews finished second with 10:43.65.

Kemmerer’s ability to perform well in cold conditions was very useful in the 4x800 meter relay. The team of Mathews, Nick Vineyard, John Caugherty and Failoni climbed from a fourth place-seed to finish second, with a time of 9:03.07. The boys’ team ended the day in first place with 26 points on the scorecard. 

The girls’ relay team of Charity Chamberlain, Brooklyn Hagler, Teryn Thatcher and Katie Zuniga got the scorecard by finishing eighth with a time of 12:07.44 in the same event.

Friday

The weather on Friday started where it left off on Thursday, wet and cold. Gavin Julander and John Caugherty braved the pole vault but were unable to score. Connor Bateman and Brooklyn Hagler had solid runs in the preliminaries for the 300-meter hurdles, but did not make the finals. Bateman ran it in 45.59 seconds and Hagler ran 54.17 seconds.  In the 100-meter hurdle prelims, Hagler fell and was unable to recover in time to make the finals.

In the girls’ 800-meter dash, Teryn Thatcher sprinted to the front of the pack from an outside lane and led the race for the first 300 meters.  The experience of the other runners came into play and they outran the freshman from Kemmerer, but she finished with an excellent time of 2 minutes 41.97 seconds, just out of reach of the scoring.

For the boys, Louis Failoni ran from the inside lane into second position. He took the lead at the halfway mark with a split of 56 seconds and Lukas Mathews in sixth position. Failoni eventually succumbed to four other runners and placed fifth, and Mathews held onto sixth place.  Failoni slashed over two seconds off his personal record to finish in 2 minutes 2.26 seconds.  Mathews cut over a second off his personal record to finish in 2:04.64.

Kemmerer got a pleasant surprise in the day’s last event, the 4x100 meter relay. The team of Anthony Tibbetts, Tanner Plowman, Gavin Julander and JT Van Der Zalm managed to climb out of their ninth place-seed to finish seventh, with a time of 48.06 seconds, which added two points to Kemmerer’s team total.

Saturday

Colton Rydstrom threw the shotput 43 feet 5.75 inches, but missed the finals by a quarter of an inch. Connor Bateman suffered the same fate as he ended in a tie for tenth place in the high jump. Teryn Thatcher reached the podium in the triple jump when her preliminary leap of 32 feet 3.5 inches, which put her into the finals. She finished in eighth place.

The Rangers’ final event was the mile. Louis Failoni defended his title from a year ago, winning first with a time of 4 minutes 41.20 seconds.  Failoni set his pace early by running the first lap in 63 seconds. His lead was never challenged during the race. Lukas Mathews finished third with a personal record time of 4:47.49.

The Rangers will say goodbye to a total of nine talented seniors.  Connor Bateman, John Caugherty,  Kaylee Hagler, Gavin Julander, Lukas Mathews, Colton Rydstrom, Brennan Starr, JT Van Der Zalm and Nick Vineyard will be graduating this spring.

Bateman ranks in the top 15 in Kemmerer history for the high jump, 100-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles. Rydstrom ranks in the top 20 for shotput, Julander ranks in the top 20 for pole vault and Van Der Zalm ranks in the top 25 for high jump. Hagler ranks in the top 20 for girls’ high jump.

Mathews leaves the Rangers with the tenth-fastest 800-meter dash, the tenth-fastest mile and the fourth-fastest 3200-meter run in school history. With 34.5 total points scored at the state track meet in his Ranger career, Mathews ranks fourteenth on the all-time scoring list for the boys. He will be running for Central Wyoming Community College this fall.

Failoni’s 60.5 points scored at the state meet tops the career total of 49 points by Mowry.  His career total trails only Joan Rangitsch’s 99.5 points (1983) and Amanda Aimone’s 65.5 points (2007) for most in school history.

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