CHEYENNE – Kyla Bush was disappointed but undeterred when she didn’t qualify for the Class 4A state track and field meet as a sophomore.
Sitting out while her Cheyenne Central teammates claimed a state championship only stoked Bush’s newfound passion for throwing.
Instead of wallowing in her disappointment, Bush went to work. She became a fixture in Central’s weight room, and she decided she was going to compete in indoor track instead of basketball.
“I really liked basketball, but I was having a lot more fun in track,” Bush said. “I started getting better and better, and more people started believing I could do even better. That made me decide to start taking throwing more seriously and do my best to get better.
“I knew indoor track was going to give me a lot more practice in shot put, and a lot more time in the weight room.”
Those decisions paid off when Bush won the discus state title (134 feet) and finished as runner-up in shot put (41 feet, 6 inches). She contributed 18 points to the Lady Indians’ team total and helped them repeat as state champions.
Those efforts earned Bush Prep Athlete of the Week
honors from WyoSports’ Cheyenne staff.
“She really came on this year,” Central coach Sean Wilde said. “She is a product of hitting the weight room and getting stronger. Coach (Bruce) Mowry and Coach (Brick) Cegelski have really helped her become a brand new thrower because of what she does in the weight room.”
Bush was squatting 220 pounds a year ago. She is now at 315.
“The coaches really push me in the weight room, but they don’t push me past my limits,” Bush said. “They push me right to my limit, and that helps me get stronger. They have really made me want to get stronger and improve.”
The 134-foot throw Bush uncorked at state is by far her personal best.
“I was overwhelming myself by thinking about too many aspects of the throw,” she said. “I would always tell myself, ‘Get your left foot down. Keep your hips low.’ I was thinking about too many things.
“I just needed to let myself go and throw the way I have always known how. I told myself, ‘Just throw.’ It was natural when I did that.”
Bush knows her championship and runner-up finishes put a target on her back. She is determined not to let that pressure get to her. The same support system that helped her succeed this spring will carry her again, she said.
“Mowry is always telling me how good he thinks I am when I doubt myself,” she said. “My teammate, Kaitlyn (Migneault), is such a great competitor and thrower, but she is also a great teammate. She really supports me and makes me better. I like to think I do the same thing for her.
“And my parents are always there for me. So many people helped me get here, and they’ll keep supporting me.”
Others recognized for their efforts include:
n Jefferson Danso and Dakota Merritt, boys track and field, Cheyenne East: Danso, a senior, repeated as the state triple jump champion with a leap of 48 feet, ½ inch. He also was on the runner-up 4x100 relay team with Merritt, Jacee Sheets and Sam Hageman (42.94 seconds). Danso also placed fifth in the 100 hurdles (15.93) and 10th in high jump (5-10).
Merritt, also a senior, won the 400-meter dash (50.26), fourth in long jump (21-11) and eighth in the 200 (23.52).
n Makyleigh Howard and Zoe Lam, girls soccer, Central: Howard, a junior, scored eight goals and assisted on two others to help the Lady Indians go 2-1 and finish second at the Class 4A state tournament.
Lam, a sophomore, scored three goals and dished out four assists.
n Claudia Miller, girls track and field, Central: The senior won both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs at the Class 4A state meet. She finished the 1,600 in 5 minutes, 10.11 seconds and the 3,200 in 11:14.45.
Miller also was third in the 800 (2:22.35) and was on the third-place 1,600 sprint medley relay team with Jessica Salinas, Elizabeth Prescott and Janessa Miller (4:20.19).
n Tucker Norman, boys track and field, Pine Bluffs: The senior repeated as Class 2A state champion in discus with a heave of 152 feet, 1 inch. He also was fourth in shot put (44-8).
n Jourdaine Cerenil, Maddie Fornstrom and Kendra Sloan, girls track and field, Pine Bluffs: Cerenil, a junior, was on the Class 2A state champion 4x100 relay team with Sloan, Kami Tangeman and Jaden Shelit. Individually, Cerenil was second in high jump (5 feet, 2 inches), third in long jump (15-10¾) and third in triple jump (34-2¼).
Fornstrom, a junior, was second in both pole vault (10-0) and the 100 hurdles (16.65 seconds). She also took sixth in the 300 hurdles (52.11) and ninth in long jump (15-1).
Sloan, a senior, won the Class 2A pole vault title by clearing 10-6. She also was eighth in the 100-meter dash (14.04 seconds) and was on the Lady Hornets’ winning 4x100 relay team.