Ava Tompkins was inspired by her older sister, Claire, to pursue the triple jump. Ex-Bearcat Claire set a personal record of 33 feet, 8.5 inches during her senior season in 2017, and now her younger sister is chasing after her as a freshman.
Tompkins set a DHS PR last Wednesday at the Wheatland Invitational with a leap of 32 feet, 7.5 inches en route to placing second. She set her overall PR as an eighth grader last year with a jump of 33 feet, 6.25 inches, coincidentally at the same meet. Tompkins’ jump in Wheatland puts her in fifth-place in school history, just two spots behind Claire and 2 feet, 5.5 inches behind the school record of 35 feet, 3 inches set by Daryl Barnett in 2012.
Helped in part by Tompkins and a hoard of other top finishes, the Lady Bearcats finished first overall at last week’s meet with 146.5 points.
“It went really well,” Tompkins said of the mid-week meet that was rescheduled from Saturday due to inclement weather. “To finish second as a freshman at the second meet of the season was pretty cool.”
Tompkins also took sixth in the high jump, clearing a distance of 4 feet, 4 inches.
Just behind her in the triple jump, Stephanie Witbrod, Haedyn Rhoades and Colson Webster-Viers finished third, fourth and seventh, respectively. Tompkins knows she’s in good company each time she heads to the sand pit.
“(They’re) a fun group of girls to be around,” Tompkins said. “We push each other to be better and we’re always cheering each other on.”
Head coach Josiah Smith has also pushed Tompkins early on this season, encouraging her to get her knees up and place more focus on “finishing.”
Even though she’s just a freshman, Tompkins has already set some lofty goals for herself. She has her sights set on surpassing Claire, but that’s just the start.
“I’m going after the school record,” she confidently said.
LADY CATS QUALIFY THREE
Kam Townsend, Allyson Fertig and Riley Seeds wasted little time securing state pre-qualifying times and distances last week in Wheatland.
Seeds and Fertig each pre-qualified for the state meet with top throws in the shot put. Fertig took first with a launch of 36 feet, 10 inches, while Seeds finished in second with a throw of 35 feet, 8 inches. Townsend, who nearly tied Bri Leman’s school record of 5 feet, 4 inches in the high jump, pre-qualified in the 200-meter race with a time of 27.32. Her jump of 5 feet, 2 inches in the high jump earned her the top spot.
Brynn Zwetzig set a PR in the 400-meter with a time of 1:13.13. Allison Olsen and Jenny Porter each finished in the top-three in the 800-meter. Olsen took first overall, crossing the finish line in 2:33.24, while Porter set a PR of 2:36.15 in third.
Webster-Viers accompanied her seventh-place finish in the triple jump with a third-place spot in the 100-meter hurdles in 18.35. Witbrod took seventh in 19.21 and freshman Chloe Collins placed 10th in 20.14.
Lauren Gates set a PR in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 56.94 in second, while Witbrod finished in fifth at 1:00.76. Gates also ran the final leg of the 4x400-meter relay, which took first overall and was also run by Townsend, Olsen and Porter. Olsen and Porter also helped the Lady Cats take the top spot in the 4x800-meter relay, along with Zwetzig and Kinley Johnson.
Townsend also picked up a first-place finish in the long jump with a distance of 15 feet, 11.75 inches, and Fertig took first in the discus throw with a toss of 105 feet.
PERRY VS. PEARSON
Sutton Perry secured his own state pre-qualifying height in the high jump and in the process, duked it out with Dylan Pearson of Wheatland. The two jumpers competed neck and neck for several height changes, with Pearson coming out on top at 6 feet, 4 inches. Perry settled for 6 feet, 2 inches, which tied his PR set in 2017.
Overall the boys team finished with five top finishes, including the 4x400-meter and 4x800-meter relays. Brady Brooks, Heath Hayes, Kenyion Townsend and Perry took first in the 4x400 with a time of 3:39.88, while Brooks, Townsend, Perry and Cameryn Spence finished first in the 4x800 with a time of 8:58.58.
Spence also took home a top individual finish in the 800-meter race with a time of 2:14.47. Fellow freshman Jayden Archuleta placed first in the long jump, landing in the sand pit at a distance of 17 feet, 11 inches. He also took first in the triple jump with a leap of 39 feet, 5 inches.
Sophomore Justin Wilkinson impressed in the high jump with a PR of 5 feet, 8 inches, while Britten Young recorded his own PR in the long jump with a distance of 15 feet, 10.5 inches.
Heath Hayes took third in the 100-meter with a PR of 12.10 and sixth in the 200-meter with a time of 25 seconds flat. Kaden Bauersachs and Gabe Saint finished fourth and sixth, respectively, in the 110-meter hurdles, and the trio of Brooks, Townsend and Spence placed second, third and fourth in the 1600-meter race.
Douglas will travel back to Casper on Friday for the Kelly Walsh Invite. The meet is scheduled for a 9 a.m. start time. The Bearcats will then host the Bison on Tuesday, April 9 for the Buffalo Brawl. Field events will begin at 4 p.m., while running events are slated for a 5:30 p.m. start.