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Morris wins elusive 100 title, East girls take second

May 18—CASPER — Despite all she had accomplished during her decorated career, the 100-meter dash championship had eluded Taliah Morris.

That changed Saturday morning at Harry Geldien Stadium in Casper.

The Cheyenne East senior overcame a stumble shortly after leaving the blocks to win comfortably in 11.93 seconds.

"I got out of the blocks pretty well but, on my second step, I didn't drive very well out of the blocks and stumbled," Morris said. "I had to get out of my drive phase a little faster than I prepped for. It wasn't my overall fastest time, but I still broke 12 (seconds) and still won.

"I had to have grit and have the mindset that every race isn't going to be your perfect race. You just have to not freak out or come up too quick, stay calm and just do what you know how to do."

Sheridan senior Addie Pendergast — who won the 100 in 2023 — was second with a time of 12.28 seconds.

Morris was state runner-up in the 100 for three consecutive years, including her sophomore season when she was edged by seven-hundredths of a second. She broke Wyoming's all-time girls record with an 11.68 during Friday's preliminaries.

Morris was far from finished. She broke her own overall state record in the 200-meter dash with a winning time of 23.45 seconds. Morris went 25.70 during Friday's prelims.

"I had great blocks, a great curve and a great finish," Morris said.

Morris has battled a right ankle injury since her sophomore season. The injury required two surgeries to repair and this is as healthy as Morris has been since her rookie campaign. She closed her high school career with three state championships, three all-class records and a runner-up effort in the 4x100-meter relay.

Morris said she couldn't have asked for a better final chapter of her storied prep career.

"It's been great," she said. "I had a great indoor season and was able to come execute and finish it off in outdoor. I'm the strongest, healthiest and most fit mentally that I've ever been.

"I'm finally healthy and excited to spend four more years at (the University of Wyoming) healthy."

Morris' exploits helped the Lady Thunderbirds finish second in the 4A team standings with 83 points. Sheridan captured its first team title since 1993 with 112 points, while Cheyenne Central was ninth (42).

Cheyenne Central sophomore sprinter Tegan Krause had quite an emotional 24 hours at the state meet. On Friday, Krause was disqualified from the 200-meter dash due to a false start. Costing himself the chance to compete in what he considers his best event caused Krause to breakdown just inside the infield.

Krause left Casper on a high note Saturday afternoon, notching state runner-up finishes in both the 100- and 400-meter dashes. His time of 10.94 seconds in the 100 was one-hundredth of a second behind Sheridan junior Chance Morris. Krause hit the finish line in 48.08 seconds in the 400.

"The false start was disappointing and I was pretty upset about it, but I came back well in the 100, (4x100 relay) and 400," Krause said. "I was pretty worked up, but I used it to fuel me. I got mad and that probably helped me qualify first in the 100.

"I was a little shaky when I got into the blocks for the 100, but I still knew I needed to get a good start. I put the false start out of my mind pretty quickly."

Central junior Sam Melchior cleared 14 feet to place third in pole vault. It's his second third-place finish of the meet after taking third in long jump Friday.

Sheridan's boys also won the team title with 141 points. Central finished third (64).

Burns senior Ethan Norris closed his hurdles career with a pair of runner-up finishes. He finished the 110 hurdles in 16.10 seconds, while Tongue River senior Caleb Killbride won in 16.02. Norris crossed the finish line in 41.75 seconds in the 300 hurdles. Lingle-Fort Laramie junior Louden Bremer won in 41.39.

"The 100 was probably one of my cleanest for form and I was staying close to the hurdles, but that's what ended up getting me because I clipped the ninth hurdle with my trail leg," said Norris, who claimed the pole vault title Friday. "That slowed me down enough that (Killbride) was able to stay ahead of me.

"You can't be too upset over second place at state, though."

Norris was fourth in the 300 as the group neared the home stretch.

"I've found another gear I can reach down and get when I come around that last bend this year," Norris said. "I put it all out there in my last high school race. There was no point in not giving it everything I had."

Pine Bluffs senior Mitchell Birkhofer placed second in shot put with a top heave of 44-11.

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