CHEYENNE – Sean Wilde is convinced Trevor Stephen has barely scratched the surface of his potential.
A series of setbacks have kept Stephen from finding the events he is best at and really developing as a runner, the Cheyenne Central cross-country coach said.
“He is a diamond in the rough because he is still at a pretty young running age,” Wilde said. “He is still very new to the sport, and has a lot left to dig up.”
The University of Wyoming thinks so too, which is why it signed Stephen to a national letter of intent last month. He will be part of the Cowboys cross-country team this fall, and then run indoor and outdoor distance events for the track team.
Stephen won the Class 4A cross-country state championship last fall, finishing the 5-kilometer race in 16 minutes, 26.9 seconds. He placed third in the 1,600 (4:34.71) and fourth in the 800-meter (2:00.61) runs at the indoor state track meet.
Stephen was looking forward to seeing what he could do during the outdoor season, but that was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s not the first time in his high school career, Stephen missed out on an outdoor campaign.
He suffered a torn labrum as a freshman, and a hip injury kept him off the track as a sophomore. His junior year was the only one in which he was able to compete during the outdoor portion of the calendar. Stephen took eighth in the 800 (2:03.78) and ninth in the 1,600 (4:35.28) at state.
“I feel like I’m two years behind everyone else because of the injuries I had early in my high school career,” said Stephen, who will study biology with the goal of becoming a chiropractor. “I was mostly healthy all four years of (cross-country), but I just had one healthy outdoor track season.
“I never really got to show what I could do. I ran decent junior year times, but I felt like I was really getting into the swing of things my senior year.”
Stephen took a couple weeks of from training when the Wyoming High School Activities Association canceled its spring track season, but he has since started following UW’s off-season training program.
“I have been doing a lot of volume training and putting in a lot of mileage trying to get ready for the next step,” he said.
Stephen regularly talks with Cowboys cross-country and distance coach Scott Dahlberg about his training.
Dahlberg has turned the UW men into one of the top programs in the region, and Stephen is eager to pull on a brown and gold jersey.
“It was the best option for me,” Stephen said. “Being an in-state student and paying that tuition was important, but I also really like the guys I met on my visit, coach Dahlberg and the facilities were great. It’s a really competitive team, and was the best option for me.”