May 26, 2013 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports EditorEverything worked to perfection for the Lander Valley High School Tigers boys 4x400-meter relay team Saturday, May 18, at the Class 3-A state track meet in Casper .
The foursome of Levi Donaldson, Marvin Aragon, Jaxon Hedges and Tristan Herr put together a textbook race at Harry Geldien Stadium to win the relay championship.
In the third leg of the relay race, Hedges broke it open before passing the baton to Herr.
Herr didn't let up, maintaining the lead to the finish line.
"It was definitely the biggest accomplishment that we all have experienced," Herr said.
After the race, Herr said the relay members hugged everybody involved.
"It was a really humbling experience," Herr said. "At regionals, we kind of realized we had a chance of getting a real high place. We were just kind of hopeful. It turned out that we had a really good race."
The official time for the Tigers in Casper was 3:29. 22. Lander's seeded time was 3:32.22.
"We were just running the race smooth," Herr said. "We weren't super excited. We weren't overdoing things. It was just more being in control. It was more of the attitude before the race."
The win was the only relay championship for Fremont County athletes this year at the state track meet.
"They really came a long way," said LVHS assistant track coach Ben Gose, who coaches the Tiger sprinters. "We mixed up the team a little bit in the last three weeks."
In that span, the Tigers dropped their time in the relay by 12 seconds--about three seconds per leg.
Buffalo's relay team finished second at Casper in 3:31.21. Powell placed third (3:32.37), and Star Valley ended fourth (3:33.04).
"We knew that Powell and Buffalo were going to be the top contenders at that point," Herr said. "I just told the guys to keep up with Powell at any cost. Everyone just really pulled it together for the race."
The state meet was the first time LVHS battled against Buffalo .
The Tigers are in the Class 3-A West, and Buffalo is in the East conference.
"Going against Buffalo was a new thing for me," Herr said. "We really pulled it off."
Gose said it took some convincing to have Hedges join the relay team.
Herr and Aragon are both juniors. Hedges and Donaldson are sophomores.
"Once we got Jaxon involved, that was kind of the key leg at state," Gose said. "He ran really smart. He ran behind the leader for the first 250 meters, then he passed him coming off the corner and gave us a nice lead."
Herr took it home in the final stretch drive.
"Tristan just has been solid all year," Gose said. "He dropped three seconds during the year. He got down to almost 51 flat in the open 400."
Donaldson started the relay. Aragon had the second leg.
"They didn't have anything else going on at state," Gose said. "They stayed really focused all three days we were there. They kept the other guys excited. Marvin probably likes the relay more than anybody else."
This was the first season Donaldson participated in the 400 meters.
"It was pretty remarkable to get down where he was running," Gose said.
Ready to defend
All four of the relay members plan on being back next year for the Tigers to defend their title.
"They would like to take a shot at the school record," Gose said.
Gose says the relay squad has a chance to get down in the 3:24 range, which would set a school record, and a state record for Class 3-A if it happens at the state meet.
Herr can't wait for spring season next year.
"Jaxon and Levi finally realized the potential that we have in the race," Herr said.
"We are going for a school record."
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