Mar 21, 2014 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorThe RivertonR00;Wolverines are sending a big contingent to the Early Bird Invitational in Casper.
A strong nucleus of underclassmen has lifted the numbers for the Riverton High School Wolverines girls and boys track and field teams.
The teams have been preparing for two weeks to get in shape for the start of the 2014 season.
Jorah Griffith is the head girls coach, while Tawn Gopp is the head boys coach.
RHS opens the season on Saturday at the Early Bird Invitational in Casper.
"I want to come out injury free this weekend and develop good habits," Gopp said.
There are 28 girls out working out for the team.
Griffith said 16 of the 28 are first-year athletes.
"I'm super pumped about the future, Griffith said. "There are some quality kids there."
Riverton senior Ashtyn Leisy is top returner this season. The best event for Leisy is the long jump. She finished fourth at the state indoor track meet in that event.
"She is way far ahead of where she was last year," Griffith said.
Leisy had a mark of 16-2.50 in Gillette.
"That was a really solid mark for indoor," Griffith said. "She looks really good. She has made some progress technically. She is pretty confident."
Leisy probably will run the 200 meters and the 400 meters.
"We won't push her to hard at the start," Griffith said.
Jensyn Pettit leads the RHS hurdlers. Pettit qualified last year in the 300-meter hurdles.
"She does a little bit of hurdles and jumps," Griffith said. "Just watching her in basketball, she looks stronger and faster. We are excited to have her."
Jordan Settlemire is another top athlete for the Wolverines.
"She is just a really good all around athlete," Griffith said. "She will do anything that you ask."
Settlemire qualified last year as a sophomore in the shot put.
"We want to push her more into the throws," Griffith said. "She was really spread out last year."
Freshman Nancy Webb should jump right in for the Wolverines.
"She will be really solid in the sprints and the jumps," Griffith said. "As a middle schooler, she was having competitive high school marks in the jumps."
Freshman Kyli Yorgason will be in the pole vault.
"She did pretty good in the indoor season," Griffith said.
Sophomore Kayle Lewis is set to be in the sprint events.
"She will do anything for us," Griffith said.
There are 45 boys on the roster this spring.
"We picked up a lot of incoming freshmen, which has helped a lot with our numbers," Gopp said.
The first two weeks of practice have included working on conditioning and a skill test that included sprints and the shot put test.
"That just gives us a baseline to start to build from," Gopp said.
Several of the Wolverines were on the indoor track team.
"They are up to speed already," Gopp said. "We will just plug in the new ones."
Riverton's Sean Watts placed third in the 55 meters at the state indoor track meet in a time of 6.70 seconds. Watts came in fourth in the 200 meters. He'll run the 100 meters and 200 meters Saturday in Casper.
Another top athlete for the Wolverines is Casey Savage. He will be in the shot put and the discus.
In the second week of the regular season, the Wolverines are slated to be in a meet on Cody on Saturday, March 29. The annual Roy Peck Invitational is planned for Saturday, April 4, at Wolverine Track.
RHS hosts a Riverton Twilight on Tuesday,, April 22.
"I feel like it's the best schedule that we have had in awhile," Griffith said. "I'm looking forward to it."
After the two head coaches, Matt Mason works the sprints and the hurdle athletes.
Samantha Miller spends her time as an assistant sprint coach. Randy Weber teaches the high jump and the pole vaulters. Bob Cogdill and Jennifer Campbell work with the throws. Dale Yorgason instructs the pole vaulters.
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