Melchior, Morris have big day at 4A East Conference meet

May 11—CHEYENNE — Two injuries sidelined Cheyenne Central junior Sam Melchior for most of the outdoor track and field season.

He made up for lost time during the first day of the Class 4A East Conference meet Friday at Bison Stadium — which was just his second meet this spring — by winning long jump and finishing second in pole vault.

Melchior posted a mark of 21 feet, 9 1/4 inches in long jump, and cleared 14-6 in pole vault.

"I was really focused on qualifying (for state) in long jump because I've been so limited," Melchior said. "I had qualified in pole vault at the only other meet I got to do, which is why I was so focused on long jump.

"I was able to come out here and get qualified for state and beat the kids I picked out as my toughest competition, so I'm really happy about it."

Melchior suffered a spinal injury playing baseball during the fall. He reaggravated the spinal injury and suffered a hip flexor injury during the indoor track season. Melchior didn't run his first outdoor meet until the Central Invitational on April 22.

"I haven't had a whole lot of practice and am kind of out of shape," Melchior said. "At the same time, having that long of a break has kept me fresh. You don't really forget how to do your event.

"Long jump isn't too technical, you just run fast, jump high and finish the jump. Pole vault was different. It's more technical, but I'm not trying to overcomplicate anything."

Central sophomore James Pillivant nabbed a runner-up finish with a jump of 21-4 1/2 .

Melchior and Pillivant added 18 points to the Indians' team score, helping them grab the team lead after the first day with 67 points. Sheridan is second with 60.

Junior Nicholas Lewis placed third in pole vault for Central's boys, clearing 14-6. Sophomores Campbell and Roman Smith split sixth (13-0). In all, the Indians got 18 team points from pole vault.

Central got 18 more points from the 1-2 finish of sophomore Race Morrell and senior Jonah Rigg in the 800-meter run. Morrell won in 1 minute, 55.68 seconds, while Rigg finished in 1:55.99.

Morrell and Rigg went out together before Morrell made a push for the lead.

"Jonah is a really great 800 runner, and he told me, 'Just stay on me when we go out,'" Morrell said. "I followed what he said, and it worked out great. Today was a big confidence-booster in the 800.

"Everything with my racing right now is about mental approach and confidence. The more confidence I get, the easier it is to go out there and have fun. I've put the nerves aside and focused on finishing strong with this group of seniors we have."

Cheyenne East senior Taliah Morris picked up two championships and had the fastest preliminary time in two other events Friday. She also took down an East record in the process.

Morris ran the anchor leg of the winning 4x100-meter relay, joining seniors Bradie Schlabs and Kendra Upton and junior Nadia Burdett on a team that finished in 48.93 seconds.

Morris also won long jump with a leap of 17-8, despite scratching on five of her six attempts. Runner-up Callista Rousch of Sheridan's best mark was 17-0 3/4 .

"This was a busy day and a hard day," Morris said. "I ran the 200 right before my first couple long jumps, and I didn't have enough speed. Then I came back and did my last few jumps after running the 4x100 and getting really loose and fast.

"I was really inconsistent on the board. That showed by scratching as much as I did."

Morris qualified first in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes. She finished the 200 in 24.96. Morris' time of 11.81 seconds in the 100 broke an East record set in 1990 by Shanell Porter (11.99). It was the first time Morris has run a time less than 12 seconds in her career.

"It was a great day," Morris said. "My body feels amazing, and my blocks were phenomenal in the 100. We came up with a new approach for the blocks that's we've dialed in on, and that seemed to help.

"We changed the drive phase. I'm driving longer so I can get to my top speed earlier and hold it longer. Not only did I break 12 for the first time, I broke 12 by quite a bit."

East freshman Maggie Madsen placed second in the 800 (2 minute, 16.53 seconds). East's girls sprint medley team of Burdett, Upton, senior Ynes Ronnau and sophomore Queana Fonseca finished third (4:21.44).

Let the news come to you

Get any of our free email newsletters — news headlines, sports, arts & entertainment, state legislature, CFD news, and more.

Explore newsletters

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