SHERIDAN – The Torrington Trailblazer runners are gearing up to compete in the state cross-country meet slated for Saturday in Sheridan.
Both the boys and girls Blazers are coming off of the regional meet last week, where both teams did better than a year before. In 2016, Torrington did not have enough girls to put up a team score, but the Lady Blazers took five runners to regionals this year and finished fourth as a team. The Torrington boys finished sixth at the regional meet a year ago, but raised the bar this year, finishing fifth.
William Fluckiger is the top runner for the Torrington boys. So far this fall, he has finished every race under 20 minutes and five out of nine races under 19 minutes. With nine races under his belt in 2017, Fluckiger has an average time of 18:53.9. That average time would put the Blazer 45th in last year’s finishing order at the state meet. The senior did compete at the state meet as a junior last year, snagging 31st with a time of 18:21.78.
Pake Haun has been the second-fastest Blazer boy this season based on his average time of 19:52.8. His fastest time came at the Wheatland Invite, when he finished in 18:36.1. Haun’s quickest time would earn him 42nd at the state meet a year ago, while his average this season would put him 66th in last year’s state meet. Haun did compete in the state invite in 2016, finishing with a time of 19:40.40, taking 62nd.
Two Torrington cross-country newcomers, Quentin Meyer and Jacob Polkowske, are looking for a solid outing at their first state meet. Meyer (20:03.4) has just edged out Polkowske (20:14.3) this season in average time, but Polkowske has the fastest time between the two in a single race, finishing in 18:53 at the Bayard, Neb. Invite. Based on average times this season, Meyer would have taken 70th at the 2016 state meet and Polkowske would have finished 73rd.
Cameron Juma is the final Blazer to have an average time under 21 minutes this season, recording an average time of 20:39.6 over seven races. In 2016, he took 74th at the state meet with a time of 20:21.16, but his average this season would have placed him 81st.
Tristen Kingsley and Jesse Lay round out the top-seven runners for the Torrington boys this year. Kingsley averaged a time of 21:05.0, while Lay turned in a season-average time of 21:27.3. Those average times would put the Blazer duo at 89th and 95th. Lay competed at the state meet last fall, snagging 73rd with a time of 20:19.83.
At the state meet a season ago, the Torrington boys finished 11th as a team. Their average time was 19:57.84. The five-man average based on this years’ time comes in at 19:56.8.
The 3A boys race kicks off at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Star Valley’s Shane Henderson will be looking to defend his state title from last year (16:00.39), while the Braves are searching for their sixth team title in a row.
Building on last year’s two Lady Blazer runners, Torrington now has five girls set to compete at the state meet. Sera Glass, who played tennis for Torrington during the tennis season, has four races to her credit and she has posted the fastest times among the Torrington girls. The freshman has an average time of 21:32.2 this season, which would put her 25th in last year’s state meet. Glass’ fastest time this season of 20:59.1, would put her 14th in the 2016 state meet.
Jaiden Hopkins is another new name to Torrington cross-country. Her average time of 24:18.7 this fall would put her 60th in last year’s state invite. She is the only Lady Blazer to compete in all nine invites so far this fall and the only runner, besides Glass, to turn in a time under 23 minutes, and she did it twice.
The two returning Lady Blazers are Renee Cline and Shelby Schainost. At the state meet a year ago, Schainost narrowly edged out Cline, taking 69th (24:45.01), just ahead of Cline, who took 70th with a time of 24:49.85. So far this fall, Cline has averaged 24:47.7 per race, while Schainost has averaged 25:20.8.
Rounding out the five Blazer girls is Brittany Schlager. So far this season, she has averaged a time of 26:19.1, but as of late, she has turned in much lower times. Four of her past five times came in under 25 minutes.
Combined, the five Lady Blazers average a time of 24:27.7, which would have put Torrington 12th at the state meet in the girls team race.
The 3A girls are slated to kick off at 12 p.m. Saturday in Sheridan. There will be a new individual champion this year because last year’s top runner (Hannah Behunin, Mountain View; 18:51.23) graduated. Star Valley is looking to defend its team title in the girls division.