CASPER – It didn’t take long for Jefferson Danso to figure out Friday was going to be a good day for him at the Wyoming Class 4A state track and field meet.
That’s because the Cheyenne East senior posted a respectable triple jump mark on his first attempt even though his technique was sloppy.
“When I jumped in the 45s by not doing everything as well as I could, I started thinking about how well I could jump if I put everything together,” Danso said. “I thought if I could pull out everything I’ve got, I could put up something big.”
Danso did just that.
He reeled off a jump of 48 feet, ½ inch to repeat as state champion. That mark came on his final attempt of the afternoon. Danso also had a pair of jumps that measured 47-7.
Danso suffered a right hamstring strain during one of East’s first meets of the outdoor season. The injury forced him to stop sprinting, hurdling and triple jumping. Danso was able to continue high jumping because he plants and jumps off his left leg.
“We tried to take a slow approach with him to let him rest, but also get him where he needed to be training-wise so he could do this,” Thunderbirds assistant Paul Garcia said. “He is such a great competitor that he got locked in and ready to jump, and that helped him go out there and win.”
Casper Natrona County senior Hunter Brown was second in triple jump (46-9), while Cheyenne Central’s Blain Dilly was third (45-2).
Central senior Sam Spiker and East sophomore Kaliff Guevara placed fifth and seventh, respectively.
Danso – who will sign with the University of Wyoming on Tuesday afternoon – said there is something about the state meet that brings out the best in him.
“This is the last chance to do your best for the season, and the atmosphere is great,” he said. “I don’t feel the same at other meets as I do here.
“Whenever I’m here, I feel really fast going down the runway. I get filled with so much energy, and I just let it out.”
Danso also was part of East’s runner-up 4x100 relay team. The T-Birds’ team of Danso, seniors Sam Hageman and Dakota Merritt and junior Jacee Sheets finished in 42.94 seconds. Casper Kelly Walsh won the title at 42.82.
“Our handoffs were all really good,” Danso said. “Both teams were working hard, and fighting on the last leg. It was neck-and-neck, and I thought we
were going to get it, but (Kelly Walsh) just pulled it out.”
The East boys are fifth with 39 points in the team standings. Kelly Walsh leads with 68 points. Cheyenne Central is sixth (36).
Central junior Tanner Bullock placed third in discus (143-10). East had senior Scott Uglow take third in shot put (52-7) and senior Onyx Jackson finish sixth (49-1). Central senior Riley Cash heaved the shot 51-4 to take fourth.
The Indians’ 4x800 relay team of Trevor Stephen, Austin Stephen, Joshua Broomfield and Kaycee Clark-Mellot placed fourth (8:28.83). East was fifth (8:32.74).
On the girls side, Central leads the field with 58 points. Laramie has 51, while East is seventh at 26.5.
Junior Kyla Bush’s confidence was low heading into shot put Friday. She had struggled throwing against Sheridan senior Jordan Christensen – a UW signee – at the 4A East Regional, and followed that with what she described as a horrible week of practice.
“I was really nervous about throwing against (Christensen) because she is so good, and I let that get into my head,” Bush said. “I was trying too hard and wasn’t focusing on what I needed to do to throw my best.”
All of that is a distant memory after Bush won the discus state title (134-0) and was state runner-up in shot put (41-6).
Shot put was on the schedule for Friday, but discus added to Bush’s schedule when all of Saturday’s field events were moved up a day. Bush wasn’t excited about the change at first, but it may have been a blessing, she said.
“I was already dreading throwing (Saturday) because the weather is supposed to be horrible,” Bush said. “At first, I wasn’t happy about throwing both (Friday), but I think it was the right thing for me.”
Christensen took the shot put title (43-9), and Central junior Kaitlyn Migneault was fifth (38-8¾). Migneault also placed seventh in discus (117-3).
East’s 4x800 team of senior MacKenzie Marler, junior Madison Blaney, sophomore Emma Jacobsen and freshman Alleynah Ronnau placed second (10:00.80).
Central senior Claudia Miller started the day with a third-place effort in the 800 (2 minutes, 22.35 seconds).
East junior Addy Turner cleared 5-2 to finish fourth in high jump.