As winter gear gets hung up for the season and cleats get laced up, it’s clear the spring season is upon us.
The Jackson Hole Broncs track and field team kicked off their season this past Saturday, making the trip nearly three hours east to Wind River High School.
The meet was productive for the team of around 40 Broncs, all looking to get the kinks out from a long offseason. The boys finished in third place out of the 14 teams in attendance with 71.50 points, while the girls earned an eighth-place finish with 33 points.
Burlington High School won on the boys side with 110.5 points, while Kemmerer High School was victorious on the girls side with 111 points.
Point values were awarded to the top eight finishers in each event.
Broncs track and field head coach Bill Wiley expects up to 96 kids to be eligible for competition during the rest of the season.
“We kind of look at that first meet as competitive practice, instead of just working on technique and fitness and stuff like that,” Wiley said. “It’s nice to get out there and get in the blocks with somebody next to you wearing a different color that you don’t know.”
At the meet, the Broncs’ Axel Klomparens soared to victory in the boys 800-meter run with a time of 2:13.60, while also reeling in a third place podium finish in the boys 400 meter run.
Jade Ridgway earned three top-five finishes over the course of the afternoon with a third place in girls triple jump, a fourth place in girls high jump and a fifth place in girls long jump.
Other notable finishes include Audrey Fouras, who finished second in the girls discus, and Zaidee Smith, who took second in the girls 1,600-meter run.
While Wiley said the team has many seniors, several athletes from the solidly-sized freshman class shined in the first track meet of their high school career.
Freshman Jack Joyce earned a first-place finish in both the 100 meter dash (11.58 seconds), and 200-meter dash (23.58 seconds), with 20 total points for Jackson.
Joyce competed as a member of the Star Valley indoor track team this past winter, and Wiley has high hopes for him during his years on campus.
“[Joyce is] a sprinter that’s going to be heard from for four years, that’s for sure,” Wiley added.
Fellow freshman Boomer Weisman also thrived in his first outdoor meet of the season, finishing second in the boys 3,200-meter run with a time of 11:00.38. The youngster earned eight points toward the team total for his efforts.
Wiley believes the young talent can learn from those who’ve competed at the 4A level for years. And with so much carryover from the fall cross country season, many freshmen have already been introduced to the quality senior leadership in the Jackson community.
“It’s going to be hard to replace [the seniors], but at the same time, I couldn’t think of better kids for our younger kids to emulate and learn from,” Wiley said.
The Broncs will prepare for a two-week lull in their schedule during spring break, with an optional meet this Friday at Green River for those still in town. For the rest, they’ll kick things off again in Rock Springs on April 9.
“We kind of look at that first meet as competitive practice, instead of just working on technique and fitness and stuff like that.” — Bill Wiley broncs track coach