PINE BLUFFS — Ask Pine Bluffs-Burns cross-country runner Austin Asay about the Leroy Sprague Invitational and you get an answer that can best be described as upbeat or excited.
The varsity girls race at the Prairie View Golf Course in Cheyenne will kick off today at 3 p.m. with the boys slated to run at 3:30.
Asay, the defending Class 2A individual state champion, has reached the pinnacle of high school competition in Wyoming. But there’s something special about running in this race. It’s a chance to prove something — she belongs.
“There’s (Cheyenne) Central and (Cheyenne) East runners there so that’s always fun. Last year, there was only one East girl in front of me so that’s kind of in my mind right now,” Asay said. “Just seeing girls that I have done sports with in the past, it’s just fun because you can get with some old friends and stuff.”
The Cheyenne Central girls placed four runners in the top five of the Horizon Invitational in Colorado last week. Not only that, but Cheyenne East’s Kiana Rief was third.
Central sophomore Christie Schiel won the event and he’s what she said about the Capital City’s dominance of the meet featuring more than 200 runners.
“It was really cool,” Schiel said. “People were coming up and asking where we were from. When we’d tell them we were from Cheyenne, they’d look like, ‘You guys really run that well up there?’ It’s impressive for, not only ourselves, but for others to look at what we accomplished.”
Central coach Rick Bishop was a tad surprised at what his squad accomplished considering it’s been banged up. “Our workouts haven’t been that crisp,” he said. “Anna Yanchek is running on a knee that’s going to have to be operated on after this season. She’s not at 100 percent. Erica Gajda has a broken knee. We’re missing some valuable parts and just chugging along.”
Don’t know if this was injury related, but Bishop mentioned the Indians will be without the services of Jessica Lemaster at today’s Cherry Creek Invitational in Englewood, Colo.
Here are some notes and quotes I couldn’t fit in Wednesday’s paper from Cheyenne East’s signing day.
Qarus Hernandez, football, Dakota Wesleyan
— Hernandez also visited NCAA Div. II Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colo., and Div III Cal Lutheran. He said he enjoyed his visits to those schools, but got a better offer from Dakota Wesleyan. He also said there would have been too many distractions at Cal Lutheran with it being so close to Los Angeles and the beach.
— “The biggest thing, for me, was finding somewhere I was comfortable. I had to be comfortable with the town, the coaches and the team. Dakota Wesleyan felt like home.”
— Dakota Wesleyan is in Mitchell, S.D., home of the famed corn palace.
Abi Bever, track and cross country, Black Hills State University
— “The thing I liked most about it was it has really good academics. It has a really good elementary education program. The cross country program has a pretty good history of being pretty good. They’re one of the best programs in the Dakota Athletic Conference.”