May 19, 2017 - By Randy Tucker, Staff WriterWyoming Indian's senior star won the 3200 meters in a snowstorm in Casper.
Hail, wind, sudden downpours, lightning and all the best Wyoming weather can offer in late May are all part of the experience of the state track championships in Casper each spring.
This year, Mother Nature upped the ante with a strong spring storm, dumping rain and snow across the central portions of the Cowboy State and closing treacherous Interstate 80 from the Nebraska to the Utah border.
In spite of the horrid conditions, a few brave, resilient athletes competed in an abbreviated opening day of competition on Thursday afternoon that featured only two events.
The 200-meter preliminaries were originally scheduled, but foul weather prevented meet officials from risking athletes in a sprint around a cold, slippery curve.
The 3200-meter run and the 4x800-meter relay were the only events held on Thursday afternoon and Wyoming Indian's phenomenal senior, Charlene Brown, was the only Fremont County athlete to bring home a gold medal.
Brown ran an excellent, strategic race, trailing runner-up Jordan Jones of Moorcroft for the first seven laps.
Brown used Jones to break a strong headwind down the far side of the track, then sprinted into the lead and first place in the final 200 meters of the race in a time of 12:45.78.
Gaven Murphy of Shoshoni was fourth in the event in 13:24.28.
Riverton's Trysta Stingley was eighth in Class 3-A in the event with a time of 12:59.01 and St. Stephen's junior Xavier Hubbard finished seventh in the Class 1-A boys division with a time of 11:13.63.
Riverton's quartet of Jaitlyn Pettit, Kelsey Milleson, Madyson Dolcater and Sydney Chatfield finished fourth in the 4x800-meter relay in 10:42.65 to lead Fremont County teams in the event.
Three other squads took sixth place in the distance relay.
In Class 2-A, the Wyoming Indian girls' team of Brown, Jocelia Her Many Horses, Denaira Hiwalker and Rai'el Valdez So posted a sixth place time of 11:38.10.
Shoshoni's Gary Medicine Cloud, Kadon DeWitt, Jackson Spence and Andrew Jennings also finished sixth, in 9:20.84.
Lander's squad of Connor Wilkinson, Ryan Brinda, Micah Kistemann and Conrad Swenson tallied a 8:54.48 for their sixth place Class 3-A finish.
Friday and Saturday's competition will be condensed, with events beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Friday and subject to rescheduling or postponement as the weather dictates.
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