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Despite a spring break week where nearly all the track & field athletes were out of the competition loop, a pair of Star Valley tracksters stood out anyway.
Hailey Ricks, running in Arcadia, Calif., obliterated her own 3200 meter time running with David Livingston and Sam Gertsch broke his newly minted shot put record at the Roy Peck Invite in Riverton. Head coach Ty Draney praised their efforts during what he described as the most frustrating time of the year.
“This time of year is not for the faint of heart,” he said. “There are distractions like the weather and vacations and other obstacles. Dave and Hailey went to the biggest most competitive track meet in the nation. Hailey has been a little dinged up and her goal was to break 11 minutes so she’s not happy about that. That’s what’s fun about coaching her. Dave had a decent race but it wasn’t quite what he wanted.”
Ricks, who edged out the old school record in the 3200 last year with a time of 11:43, beat her own mark by an astonishing 42 seconds with a blistering 11:01.20. Ricks won the Wyoming Indoor championship in the event in Gillette last month with a time of 11:24.90 which was a new state record. This time will not pre-qualify Ricks for the state championship but is well below the pre-qualifying mark of 12:45. Livingston also competed in California where he battled windy conditions to run a 51.2 in the 400 meter dash.
Sam Gertsch competed under the Star Valley banner at the Roy Peck Invite in Riverton where he rolled up 24 team points by winning both the shot put and the discus. He also placed fifth in the 200 meter dash. Gertsch, who broke the 24-year old school shot put record last weekend, broke it again with a heave of 53’ 4”.
“Sam was hoping to throw against the [top throwers] from Powell but he had a good showing,” Draney added. “It’s fun when we have kids who are that motivated and despite the distractions they get after it and keep the eye on the prize. It’s going to pay off for us in the end. It’s tough to flip the switch and hopefully this drive will bring some things in May.”
The track & field team is expected in Rock Springs this weekend for the competitive Tiger Invite. As with most events this time of year, weather permitting.
“Its a good meet,” Draney said of the Tiger event. “A lot of the teams from 4A and 3A will be there. It will be a good chance to see Jackson and some of the other 3A teams and the weather is supposed to get nicer towards the end of the week so we’ll see if we can’t pre-qualify a bunch of kids for state.”