Track: Cowboys clean up at Baker Invitational

The Custer County District High School track teams were “Stanton Strong” on Saturday, cleaning up on the competition at the 15-team Baker Invitational.

The Cowboys took first place, the Cowgirls placed third, and the teams ended their weekend with a “Stanton Strong” gesture. 

The team uses former coach Dan Stanton’s quote of “the average man would complain” as their affirmation that positive attitudes have a big impact on how they perform in competition and everyday life, according to head track coach Paul Yoakam. 

The team signed a track and field shirt and brought it with them to pay their respects to Stanton, who passed away in 2015, and to share with him their victories. 

“Throughout everything he went through,” Yoakam said, “we never heard him complain and he always loved being around the athletes and seeing them succeed.” 

Stanton would have been proud of Saturday’s performance.

The Custer County squads set numerous season and personal records, and the boys’ 4x400 relay team — Tyler Burk, Caleb Petross, Kaden Stradley and sophomore Steven Ray — prequalified for the state tournament. They crossed in 3:33.9, the best time in the state in Class A this season.

Not to be outdone, the girls’ 4x400 relay — Heather Baker, Ashley Venable, Morgan Vosler and Myhia Metzenberg —  moved into second place in the state Class A ranks with a time of 4:16.47.

“We had an unbelievable day overall and are a lot farther along at this point than we anticipated,” Yoakam said. 

Senior Savanna Walker, junior Morgan Vosler, and senior Caleb Petross prequalified for state earlier in the season in shot put and discus, the 1600 meters, and the long jump, respectively. 

On the track, sophomore sprinter Keith Vanderlaan took third place in the 100 meter dash with a personal best time of 11.62 seconds, and second place in the 200-meter dash with another personal best of 24.07 seconds. 

Freshman Chase Drange took fourth at 800-meters with a personal record of 2:15.82, and freshman Quest Savery finished third in the 1600 meters in 5:20.71, a personal best.

Alex Mitchell, the Cowboys’ sophomore distance specialist, took fourth place in the 3200-meter run in 10:53.78, his best ever.

Cowboy senior Tyler Burk jumped to a third-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles. Burk, Petross, Stradley and freshman Nate Bundy dominated the 300-meter hurdles, notching third, fourth, sixth and seventh places respectively. 

The boys’ 4x100 relay squad — Burk, Ray, Petross, and Vanderlaan — raced to second place in 45.08. 

Vosler led the Cowgirls with a season-best 12:05.32 ato win at 3200-meters, and sophomore Heather Baker won the 800-meter event in 2:28.68, both season-best performances. 

Also recording personal bests were freshman McKenna Friend in the 200-meter dash and freshman Madi Meyer in the 300-meter hurdles. 

The girls’ 4x100 relay team — Metzenberg, Venable, Friend and Mackenzie Rask — finished in fourth place with 53.81 on the clock. 

Walker led in the field with her first-place finishes in the shot put and discus, hitting a season record 111’-05” with her discus throw. 

Freshman Jess Bellows ranked first in the high jump with a leap of 5’-10” leap, while junior Cordell Ellis hit a personal best 11’-6” to place third in the pole vault. Ray was fourth in the triple jump. 

Junior Emily Findlay logged a season-best 92’-5” to finish fourth in the discus, while sophomore Ashlyn Marum recorded a personal best in the javelin with a throw of 102’-8”. Junior Alyssa Shipp recorded her best vault of the season at 8-feet in the polve vault, while Venable placed third in the triple jump with a leap of 32’-4.25”. 

The teams will compete in the Billings Invitational on Thursday. “This meet coming up will be a very competitive meet, which will allow us to compete against some of the top [athletes] in the state and hopefully push us to improve even more,” Yoakam said.