By: Shawn O’Brate

LOVELL – With every high school’s Cross Country season coming to a close this weekend the past week has been filled with conference championships across the state of Wyoming. 

While Lander was lucky enough to host theirs earlier this past week, some of the local schools were not able to be blessed with home field advantage. Fort Washakie, St. Stephens, Thermopolis, Wind River and Wyoming Indian High School were all ready to show their skills and compete for some final spots in Ethete’s State Championship this Saturday.

To do so they had to travel to Lovell on Monday and compete at the Foster Gulch Golf Course. 

All five schools competed well at the event, even coming away with multiple top-ten placements across the local Fremont County runners. For starters, Wind River’s Faye Hellyer and Cora Remacle both placed in the top five with Hellyer crossing the finish line in third (22:59.87) with Remacle very close behind (23:59.68). 

Wind River’s Graham Robison finished ahead of all his male teammates, crossing the line with a time of 20:54.34, a personal best for the freshman. 

Wyoming Indian also had a few strong showings as Colton Sun Rhodes beat his own personal record when he came in fifth with a time of 18:44.43, followed closely by teammate Keiran McCorley (19:29.74). Noah Red Willow (20:26.19), Pecos Sun Rhodes (21:05.30) and Parlayne Ferris (21:57.37) rounded out the other Chiefs’ runners to finish in the top-thirty.

For the Lady Chiefs it was a huge success all-around. Roberta Whiteplume finished with a personal best time (24:50.50) which placed her at eighth amongst the field. Coming in at tenth was Camellia Brown (25:02.85), at twelfth was Takara Ferris (27:12.37)–a personal best–and Gabriella Headley would round out the top-fourteen with a time of 27:58.57. 

Coming up shortly behind them were teammates Dionne Ferris (29:19.29), Dinayla Augustine (29:41.78), and Lynnai Harris (33:15.06) who all finished within the top-23 runners in the girls’ race. 

Another Ferris to cross the finish line quickly was Fort Washakie’s Kayli Ferris who recorded a new personal best in the 5000 meter race with a time of 27:17.28. 

St. Stephens also had some good showings with Nehemiah Divers finishing in the top-five for the boys with a time of 18:35.11. Zion Sioux recorded a personal best (19:53.23) as he came across the finish line in 14th place. For their girls it was Yesenia Carrillo (29:15.27) and Quiana Piper (29:40.99) with personal bests and top-twenty placements in the race. 

In the end it was Thermopolis’ Ruth Johnson (21:02.78) who finished first in the girls’ race while Rocky Mountain’s Howard McNiven (17:08.48) finished first in the boys’ race. 

While this race was a huge one for multiple runners, the State Championship in Ethete this Saturday (see page B1) will hold the most weight for many of Fremont County’s best distance runners.