CASPER – Trying to add a new event to his repertoire nearly cost Tucker Norman the chance to compete in an event he dominated.
The Pine Bluffs senior pulled a muscle in the lower left side of his back while running sprints as an audition for the 4x100-meter relay team.
The injury sidelined Norman for parts of the season. He sported a brace that took pressure off his injury when he competed as a thrower.
Norman wore that brace Thursday when he repeated as Class 2A state champion in discus with a toss of 152 feet, 1 inch.
“My back has been feeling a lot better the past couple weeks,” Norman said. “I woke up (Thursday) and felt like I could throw one 160.”
Norman won the 2018 title with a heave of 148-6.
“I tried to fight through the injury earlier this season, but that didn’t work,” Norman said.
“I ended up going to see a physical therapist and did some dry needling. That really helped.
While Norman repeated as champion, teammate James Merryfield repeated as state runner-up with a top mark of 147-6. Norman’s injury clearly hampered him, Merryfield said.
“Last year, he would beat me at every meet,” he said. “There were meets this season where you could tell he was off. He only beat me three times this year.
“It was awesome to watch him pull through and win state again.”
Merryfield sat fourth before uncorking his 147-6 on his final attempt of the day.
“I wish I would have been able to hit my (personal best), because I would have won with that throw, but I’m not going to complain about second,” he said.
“It was still a really good day.”
The Pine Bluffs boys are third in the Class 2A team standings with 22 points. Wright leads at 28.5, while Rocky Mountain is second (25).
The Pine Bluffs girls sit atop the team table with 31.5 points. Southeast is second at 20.
The Lady Hornets got a runner-up finish from junior Jourdaine Cerenil in high jump. She cleared a personal-best 5-2, which surprised her.
“I came in expecting to not score any points at all based on the heights everyone else had coming in,” Cerenil said. “Instead, I beat my PR by 4 inches and got us eight points.
“I’m so ecstatic right now. I hope this is a sign of how the rest of the weekend is going to go for me and our team.”
Senior Kammie Ragsdale joined Cerenil on the podium. She split fourth by clearing 4-10.
Junior Hyleigh Fornstrom heaved the shot put 37-10 to take second. The Hornets also got a fifth-place toss from senior Paige Thompson (35-6¼).
In Class 3A, Burns freshman Emma Gonzales placed third in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 12 minutes, 18.87 seconds. The Lady Broncs are eighth in the team standings with seven points. Rawlins leads at 20.
The Burns boys didn’t score a point Thursday. Lander leads the 3A boys field with 24 points.