Wolverines run in ThermopolisOct 5, 2017 By Scott Akanewich, Sports Editor
Each cross country season is a series of small races inside one big one.
So far this fall, the Riverton Wolverines have run trails everywhere from Casper to Rawlins to Lander to their own backyard with an eye on the final event of the season -- the Class 3-A state championships in Sheridan.
The latest stop on the road to glory was in Thermopolis last Saturday, where Big Red took on a host of other squads and came away with some promising results.
Tarryn Whiteplume finished second in the boys varsity race with a time of 18:16.6, while a pair of Lady Wolverines finished in the top 10, as Sydney Chatfield crossed the line in fourth at 22:08.06 and Trysta Stingley was fifth in 22:29.55.
According to Riverton head coach Jay Dayton, his squad has come a long way since the outset of the current campaign.
"We've had steady improvement throughout the season on both the girls and boys squads,with the girls coming the farthest," said Dayton. "We've come from not having a scoring girls team to being competitive with some of the best teams in the conference."
Further down the depth chart on the boys side, there is still a battle brewing for competitive spots in the lineup, said Dayton.
"Our boys have great potential, but we're still waiting for our numbers five, six and seven runners to step up for the challenge. We have about six potential candidates for the spots and we're hoping to finalize those by regionals. So, we're on track, but having to put some pieces together."
Dayton praised the effort of Whiteplume -- still only a sophomore -- as well as others, for their respective recent performances.
"Tarryn is coming on strong at just the right time.I feel he can be competitive with the top six runners in Class 3-A," he said. "Dino (Baldes) has shown great leadership all season long and is coming off an ankle injury -- he should be 100 percent this week. Also, ninth-grader Drew Shroyer has been a great addition to our varsity, with other freshmen such asCaelen Oldman and Aquilo Friday -- they're poised to crack into our varsity spots, along with junior Donald Sharp."
As far as the potential battle for girls number one between Stingley and Chatfield, Dayton views it as a healthy competitive relationship which only serves to make both better, he said.
"I don't view it as a battle and neither do they," said Dayton. "It's an opportunity to get faster when your teammate pushes you. Watch the girls -- they're coming on strong, the team is starting to gel and they're working hard. They're going to surprise some other teams."
With regionals next week at Mountain View, followed by state in Sheridan, the Big Red boss in aware of what must be done in the run-up to those events, he said.
"Number one -- it's about staying healthy and taking care of yourself at this point of the season," said Dayton. "We do aim for peak performance at state, so we'll prepare for that mentally and physically."
However, first, there's the business of the final regular-season race in Powell on Friday, which Dayton will use as a last dress rehearsal for the money events at season's end.
"It gives us an opportunity to match up with a few other teams before conference and state," he said. "Powell is a quick course -- it's a great confidence boost."