May 10, 2012 - By Randy Tucker, Staff WriterQuality usually beats quantity in a big track meet, and this weekend's 1-A / 2-A West Regional will have a bevy of talented athletes on the Riverton High School oval and in the field event arenas surrounding the track at Wolverine Field.
The two divisions, along with the simultaneous Class 4-A West regional, make this the biggest meet of the year aside from the state championships next week in Casper. It also marks the first time Riverton has hosted an event of this magnitude on the new facility.
In the Class 1-A boys division, the Little Snake River Rattlers are favored. The Rattlers won the six-man football championship and the Class 1-A boys basketball championship this year and look to add a third title to this memorable year.
Vying for a team trophy will be Fremont County's own Dubois Rams. Dubois is paced by hurdlers Jesse Hawk and Sterling Baker, along with solid field-event competitors and the fastest 4x100-meter relay in the division.
Burlington also will post a strong team behind junior Ben Mancuso, who has posted the best high jump mark in all divisions this year at 6-8.
Lovell is the favorite in the 2-A division, but Wyoming Indian and Shoshoni will both field solid teams as well. Thermopolis also boasts a solid squad paced by junior Omar Bridges in the sprints.
Coach Chico Her Many Horses always has his WIHS distance laden team peak at regionals and this year should be no exception. Look for junior Alvin Spoonhunter to battle in distance events along with Donald and Wilson Clifford. Freshman Keegan Her Many Horses has improved his times with each meet this season, and junior Joey Aragon is a favorite in the 400-meter dash. The Chiefs 4x800-meter relay has the fasted posted time in the division.
Shoshoni is riding a resurgence of athletics this season, and the Wrangler boys are competitive in every event. Coach Tim Ervin's boys will be strong in all three relays, with their best chance for a regional title coming in the 4x400-meter race.
Senior hurdler and jumper Nick Wright paces the Wranglers along with fellow senior Dalton Linnan in the throws. Junior Mason Steffen and sophomores Casey Lagois, Lawry Johnson and Jayden Haslam have the potential to qualify in four events for the state finals next week.
Wind River sophomores Joe Lupher and Tyler Rupe lead the Cougars.
Lupher has been solid in the shot and discus all season, and Rupe has the potential to take gold in all three sprint events.
On the girls side, Rachelle Leseberg leads the Rams with top marks in four events and the best performance in the 100-meter hurdles and the long jump in all of Class 1-A.
Dani Havercamp boasts the fastest 300-meter hurdle time in all of Class 1-A this season and has a chance to qualify for state in the 100 and 200 meter dashes and the 100 meter hurdles as well for Western Heritage Lutheran Academy. Western Heritage fielded its first track team ever this season.
In Class 2-A Lovell is the favorite but Thermopolis and Shoshoni will both field very competitive girls. Shoshoni is paced by freshman Olivia Thompson, who will battle the Shumway sisters from Lovell in the distance events. The Wranglers 4x400- and 4x800-meter relays have the speed to take a pair of state championships as well. Senior Hailey Pince is a key to both relays and is a darkhorse in the open 400.
Tasha Maddock, Natalee Goff, Sarah Thompson and Celsey Martin should qualify in open events and in relays for state next week.
Kolbi Pickinpaugh is an outstanding hurdler and key member of Shoshoni's 4x100-meter relay team.
Wind River is paced by sophomore hurdler Josee Vogel. Vogel is the defending state champion in the 100-meter hurdles and is a favorite to repeat.
Wyoming Indian's Jasmine McGill has posted great times in the sprints, as has Shaylee White in the distance races.
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