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Central's Karson Tempel, Pine Bluffs' Jessica Hoffman repeat as state champions

May 17—CASPER — A pair of repeat state championships came down to the final attempt Friday afternoon at Harry Geldien Stadium.

Cheyenne Central junior Karson Tempel was tied with Sheridan senior Calista Roush for the top triple jump mark before uncorking a mark of 38 feet, 3 1/2 inches on her final marked jump to repeat as Class 4A state champion.

"I was kind of stressed out heading into that final jump because I hadn't gone as far as I would have liked," Tempel said. "I knew I needed a bigger jump, and I had already scratched one that was really far. That (winning) jump was my longest this season, so it's a good way to finish."

Tempel didn't compete in either triple or long jump as much this season as she did last spring. She even passed through the 4A East Conference meet because she had beaten the pre-qualifying standard in both events.

The goal was to keep her legs fresh for state. It worked.

"My legs weren't in horrible shape, but we wanted me to have fresh legs for this meet so I could do my best," Tempel said. "My bounds were way farther, and I was able to finish it. I had been falling out of balance before that one. ... Even though I hadn't jumped as much, we were pretty confident coming into this meet because we had seen what everyone else's marks were."

Pine Bluffs junior Jessica Hoffman has struggled to throw discus into headwinds. Success under those conditions requires athletes to release at less of an angle in an effort to keep the disc flatter. If done correctly, the disc will catch the wind just right and carry nearly as far as it normally would have.

Hoffman found that sweet spot on her final toss Friday, posting a mark of 116-6 on her sixth and final throw to repeat as Class 2A state champion.

"They say you know it's a good throw if you throw hard enough that you don't turn around in time to see it land," Hoffman said. "That throw felt good, and I wasn't turned around in time to see it land."

Hoffman's top mark prior to the 116-6 was a pair of 111-5s that would have finished behind Rocky Mountain junior Elliahana Scheeler's 114-4.

"I wasn't even thinking when I stepped into the ring because thinking makes it worse most of the time," Hoffman said.

East senior Taliah Morris continued her assault on the state record books during the 100- and 200-meter dash preliminaries Friday.

She posted a time of 11.68 seconds in the 100 prelims, breaking the all-class record of 11.91 seconds posted by Cheyenne Central's Arenetta Simpson in 1998. Simpson's record had just been matched by Torrington's Brooklyn Asmus during the 3A prelims.

Morris took down the 200 record with a 23.70 Friday morning. That bested the previous all-class record of 23.79 set by Kelly Walsh's Jerayah Davis in 2013.

Morris ran the anchor leg for the Thunderbirds' 4x100 relay team, which finished in a state runner-up time of 48.56 seconds. Morris, seniors Bradie Schlabs and Kendra Upton and junior Nadia Burdett were two-hundredths of a second slower than champion Kelly Walsh (48.54).

Burns senior Ethan Norris overcame a stiff wind and equally difficult field to win the Class 2A pole vault championship. Norris posted a personal-best height of 12 feet, 8 inches to win the title by 14 inches over the runner-up.

"I was able to perform the way I normally do, and did a decent job of staying calm under the pressure," said Norris, who placed third in pole vault as a junior. "I tried to treat it like any other pole vault competition. I wasn't expected to win, so there wasn't any pressure other than the pressure I put on myself.

"I've been a little self-conscious because I haven't vaulted double my height. That mark is almost exactly double my height, so that's another goal I can cross off the list."

Wind blowing out of the west eventually got strong enough the Wyoming High School Activities Association suspended the 4A boys pole vault mid-competition. It required the 2A pole vaulters to account for the wind during attempts.

"You have to focus on throwing the pole back, otherwise it's going to blow back and knock off the bar," Norris said. "That's a really unnecessary way to get a scratch. I had to make absolutely sure I got the pole out of the way when I finished."

Norris also had the fastest qualifying time in the 300-meter hurdles (40.94). It was his first time breaking the 41-second mark, and puts him in two finals today after he qualified third in the 110 hurdles (15.89) on Thursday. Norris was second in the 110 hurdles during his junior campaign, and narrowly missed out on a spot in the 300 finals.

The 4A boys and 2A girls pole vault competitions will be concluded this morning.

Friday got off to an inauspicious start for the Central boys. They Indians are loaded with strong 800-meter runners, but only sophomore Race Morrell made the podium by finishing sixth in 2:00.47. Senior Trevor Schmidt was just off the medal stand, finishing ninth in 2:02.39. Senior Bridger Brokaw took the lead with 200 meters remaining, but faded down the final 100 and finished 12th (2:03.24). Senior Jonah Rigg was 17th (2:09.47).

Most of the quartet was battling an illness that has waylaid much of Central's roster. However, the 800 crew rallied at the team hotel and got some extra rest — and in Brokaw's case, intravenous fluids at an urgent care — and returned to the stadium determined to redeem themselves in the 4x800 relay.

They did just that.

Schmidt took the lead on his second lap, and the Indians only added to it over the final three legs to win in 8:13.48.

"We changed up the order," Brokaw said. "Typically, Jonah starts because he's the best at getting us the lead, but Trevor felt like he could go first. He went out and got the job done and got us the lead.

"Jonah and Race added to that gap, and I brought it home. It worked out really well."

Central junior Sam Melchior placed third in long jump with a mark of 22-10 3/4 .

Burns' 4x800 relay team of Mason Medley, Cooper Sanchez, Hunter Munson and Mason Terry placed third in Class 2A with a time of 8:58.69.

Jeremiah Johnke is the WyoSports editor. He can be reached at jjohnke@wyosports.net or 307-633-3137. Follow him on X at @jjohnke.