STATE TRACK NOTEBOOK: Central’s Pemble honored; Pine’s Gross gets redemption; Burns’ O’Neal finishes strong; tons more

CASPER — Cheyenne Central’s Jasmine Pemble stood on the track listening.

She heard the stories of several other track competitors and the hardships they had gone through. From car wrecks to birth deformities, each had to overcome something to get where they were.

In truth, Pemble was no different. She just felt she was.

“Compared to the other kids, it seems like mine was nothing compared to their’s honestly,” Pemble said. “Mine lasted a month. Most of them have been fighting it their whole life.”

During a break in the action at Saturday’s Wyoming State Track Meet, Pemble was one of several athletes honored with a Profile in Perseverance Award.

Back on February 8, 2012, Pemble suffered a brain aneurysm during the warm-ups of a Lady Indians’ basketball game. She was eventually hospitalized in Denver and had to undergo brain surgery.

Despite all the hardships, she returned to action last year and played for Central’s varsity girls basketball team this winter. She was also a member of Friday’s 4×100-meter relay state championship team.

She was unaware that an award was coming her way. It was a nice recognition of her comeback.

“It means a lot. I wasn’t going to let my aneurysm overcome me. I love sports, I’m going to keep doing the best I can. I won’t let this overcome me,” Pemble said.

Gross redeems himself with a top five shot put toss

Scott Gross had to put Friday behind him.

A favorite to win the Class 2A boys discus title, Gross scratched on all three of his preliminary throws and missed the finals. Saturday’s shot put throw was his chance to earn a medal.

He made the most of it.

Gross heaved for 43 feet, 2 inches to take fourth. Friday’s discus throw was a mental stumble. Saturday’s shot put was the opportunity to overcome that problem.

“I think that the kid that got second was the kid right behind me and that might have gotten in my head a little bit and thrown me off,” Gross said of the discus toss.

“I just had way too much adrenaline and not enough brain power to control it.”

Placing fourth on Saturday was a little redemption but Gross still wasn’t satisfied with his throw.

He viewed the state met as a learning process more than anything.

“I’m happy I with what I got in shot. I just have to remember that next year will be my discus year. I’ve got to use what happened in the discus to get better all through the season,” Gross said

O’Neal gets on the podium like she wanted

Mardi O’Neal finished short of a medal last year at state.

Not this time.

The Burns sophomore secured a spot in the 2A girls 100-meter dash finals and then raced her way to a finish in 13.88 seconds to place fourth.

Those five points were important as the Lady Broncs won the 2A girls team title by eight over Lovell.

“It feels pretty good. Last year, I made it to state but didn’t make it back to finals. I was injured last year. This year was just a big step up,” she said.

Alexander picks up medals three and four on Saturday

You can’t ask for a better state track meet than Central’s Danielle Alexander had.

Over the first two days, the senior placed in a pair of jumps. She capped her career by running her way to another pair of medals on Saturday.

Alexander placed fifth in the 4A girls 200-meter dash and third in the 400-meter dash.

“This is a great way to go out,” Williamson said.

Alexander’s final event, the 400-meter dash, turned into a literal sprint to the finish. She was neck-and-neck with Rock Springs’ Mesa Weidle and made a late push to narrow the gap but fell just short of runner-up. Ultimately, the top four finishers all finished within three seconds of each other.

“I could feel myself gaining on her so I just did all that I could,” Alexander said. “I knew it was going to be close.”

South’s Stewart jumps to her second medal

Over the season, Cheyenne South’s Cali Stewart routinely cleared the 4-foot, 8-inch mark competing in the high jump. But Saturday, that height was a struggle.

“I think I psyched myself out. I was watching the competition earlier and I just think I thought about it too much and over thought my jumps,” Stewart said.

Stewart finally cleared the mark on her third jump and went on to making 5 feet, earning a seventh-place medal for the Lady Bison in the event.

For Stewart, it was her second medal at state as she earned her first medallion as a member of South’s 4×100 relay team.

“It feels amazing to be able to medal in two events. I was hoping just to medal in one, let alone two,” Stewart said.

Fleming comes close to a win, settles for third

If warmups counted, Central’s Grayson Fleming would probably be the 4A boys discus champion.

Sadly they don’t. But Fleming isn’t letting that get him down.

“I had two warm-up throws that would have won it. It was a little weird,” Fleming said.

“I’m really happy I got third. I did the best I could and proud of where I ended up.”

Fleming’s heave of 152 feet, 7 inches was good enough to take third among the 4A boys group. He was one of just three throwers to clear the 150-foot mark on the day.

Even stranger — Fleming scratched on his first two throw before hitting the 152-7 throw to advance to the finals.

A strange situation that ended with a positive result.

“I got pretty nervous there. I got into finals as the first seed so I was in first and the two in the final kind of passed me. I think it was a lot of nerves,” Fleming said.


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