Laramie Eyes the Team Prize
One is nice, but two would be even sweeter when it comes to Laramie High School’s cross country teams. Both have their eyes on the big prize Saturday.
The Laramie Plainsmen and Lady Plainsmen will be trying to sweep the 4-A State Cross Country Championships in Sheridan.
The Plainsmen are going for their fourth consecutive state title and are a heavy favorite to accomplish it. Laramie hasn’t been beaten by a team in-state all season. They return five of their top seven runners from the title team a year ago, who all finished in the top 18.
L-H-S head coach Greg Schabron knows his team is the one everyone is chasing.
“The guys are so focused and so determined, I think it’s more of the battle in-between our team at this point… all of them have their eyes on the state team title, but also being all-state, as well; hopefully placing top 10 in the state.”
Defending state champion and senior Chris Henry is vying for a second straight individual crown. He won last year’s race in 15:33.79, but has his sight set on the state record. That mark of 15:22.32 was set by his older brother Jonah in 2013.
Chris said his goal is to keep with the plan.
“I’m just going to try doing what I’ve been doing all season; just try to get out in front and try and keep that lead. I just have to make sure that I can wake myself up and push myself at right time to hopefully be able to go for my brother’s course record.”
Besides Henry, Albert Steiner, Colin Rucinski, Liam McInroy, Philip Henry, Jacob Morgan and Cas Sheridan comprise the state roster in 2015.
Laramie Lady Plainsmen
It’s been four years since the Lady Plainsmen won the school’s first state championship in cross country. That team came through with a surprising surge at the end of the season. This year’s squad is seemingly trying to duplicate it.
Coming off an unexpected conference title, the Lady Plainsmen have some momentum and are set to battle with Gillette and Cheyenne Central again, plus Evanston and Natrona County from the West.
Schabron said there’s a lot of variables going into the race, but many will help our team.
“I think having six more teams involved in the race helps out with the depth-wise. If we can split the scores the right way, they have a shot, and they haven’t had a shot for a few years here.”
Junior Maria Smith-Lopez, a returning all-state runner, will lead a young team that doesn’t feature any seniors on its roster. Still, L-H-S placed all five runners in the top 16 last week at the conference meet.
After Smith-Lopez, Allison McElwee, Kyleigh Bingham, Paige Trent, Claire Hamerlinck, Allison Dodds and Hailey Schmidt make up the 2015 state roster.
The Course & 4-A Races
For the third straight year the Wyoming State Cross Country Championships will be held on the Sheridan V.A. Hospital Grounds and run over 5,000 meters.
Schabron said the course is more wide open.
“There aren’t as many hills. It’s more of a slow grinder may be before mile two, but nothing major… a lot of grass and some dirt, but we don’t have the single track that we saw in Gillette, and the slow winding turns. It leads to a faster race.”
The 4-A Boys race will start at 11 a.m. The 4-A girls race will not commence until 12:45 p.m. Classes 2-A and 3-A will also be competing in the same location.