CASPER — Abigail Whitman jumped out to an early lead, and never relinquished it.
The Laramie High junior repeated as Class 4A champion in the girls 800-meter run Friday at the Wyoming State Track and Field Championships at cool and windy Harry Geldien Stadium.
That effort, along with others from Whitman’s teammates, helped Laramie be in second place in the team standings with 51 points. Cheyenne Central leads with 58 points, and took the lead from Laramie on the final event Friday — the discus — as junior Kyla Bush won the event and junior Kaitlyn Migneault finished seventh. Laramie didn't have anyone in the discus.
Laramie is seeking its first-ever girls outdoor team title.
Whitman, who finished third in the 3,200-meter run and helped Laramie win the 1,600 sprint medley Thursday, led pretty much from start to finish in the 800. Her lead wasn’t big after the first lap, but she extended it through much of the final lap. Whitman’s time was 2 minutes, 18.73 seconds.
She ran in the 2:15.46 at last year’s state meet.
“Last year was a lot more competitive. There were a lot more girls up there trying to win. This year, I had to do it for myself,” Whitman said.
“The race went pretty well. I knew I wanted to lead it, stay in first and try to push as hard as I could. It was a little bit surprising no one was right next to me to push me, but I still sped up at the end.”
Jackson freshman Kate Brigham was second (2:20.01) and Central senior Claudia Miller, who won the 3,200 Thursday, was third (2:22.35).
Laramie also repeated in the 4x100 relay. The team of senior Ketisa Akamasi, junior Rachel King, junior Aubry Sanchez and junior Emmy Johnson won with a time of 49.88 seconds.
“It was a pretty seamless race for us,” King said.
Laramie led throughout, but Casper Kelly Walsh junior Taylor Rowe made a push to catch Johnson over the final 100 meters. That push came up short as Kelly Walsh finished second (50.09).
“I didn’t really notice her, but I knew (Rowe) was going to be there because we ran the same time for prelims of the 100 (earlier in the day and both ran 12.28),” Johnson said. “I figured if I kept my form and ran the whole way we would be fine.”
The time was a season-best for Laramie, but not as fast as last year’s winning relay team (49.47). Sanchez is the only new runner on the relay this season.
The Lady Plainsmen got some key points Friday from sophomore Libby Berryhill with a seventh-place finish the 800 (2:25.61), and sophomore Taylor Gardner’s eight-place finish in the triple jump (34 feet, 8 inches).
Johnson had the fastest qualifying times in the 100 (12.28), 200 (24.90) and 300 hurdles (45.00) Friday. The finals in those events are today. Johnson’s time in the 300 hurdles was 1.77 seconds faster than the second-fastest qualifier.
Sophomore Aiden Morris made the most of his first state meet as he finished second in the pole vault with a personal-best 13-6. Morris’ previous best was 13-3.
Participants had to deal with strong gusty winds, but that didn’t seem to bother Morris.
“For us to get deeper in the pit it was nice, but that side wind was kind of scary. I’m used to it living in Laramie,” he said with a laugh.
Sheridan freshman Ryan Karajanis won the event at 14 feet.
Morris didn’t participate in last year’s state meet because he had knee surgery. He said this spring was the first time he’s pole vaulted since eighth grade.
Morris has been doing double-duty this spring with baseball and track. On Wednesday, he was the catcher in the Laramie Rangers’ 20-13 loss to Cheyenne Post 6.
“It has pretty much been school, track and then baseball, but I love them both. Now it is back to baseball,” Morris said.
Laramie's 4x800 relay finished second (8:18.69). Junior Mason Swingholm held off a late charge by Sheridan junior Tim Brown to hold on to second place. Sheridan's time was 8:18.89. The other members for the Plainsmen were sophomore Micah Zeller, senior Derk Lyford and freshman Collin Krueger. Jackson won the race (8:11.68).
Swingholm finished fifth in the 800 (2:02.05). He was eighth in the 3,200 Thursday. Junior Max DeYoung finished in a three-way tie for sixth in the high jump (5-10).
The Plainsmen, who won last year's team title, is in eighth place with 28 points. Kelly Walsh leads with 68 points.
Laramie senior Jason Upton, who will run track at Montana, isn’t competing at the meet due to a hamstring injury.
Senior Tristan Bunce was fourth in the 1A boys long jump Thursday (19-6). He qualified for the finals in the 100 (11.69) and 200 (23.96) with the sixth-fastest times in each event. Bunce added a sixth-place finish Friday in the 800 (2:06.43).
Bunce has scored all eight of the Longhorns’ eight team points.
Junior Anthony Davila was seventh qualifying for the finals of the 200 and will be in today’s finals.
The final day of the state meet begins at 9 a.m. today. The final event, the 4x400 relay, begins at 3:50 p.m.