(Story Written By Con Marshall)
With just one senior on both the men’s and women’s roster this spring and a high retention rate among younger team members, Chadron State College Head Track and Field Coach Riley Northrup didn’t have many scholarships available for newcomers, but he and his assistants were able to entice nearly 30 newcomers into joining the Eagles for the 2022 season.
“We did a lot of searching and think we’ve found numerous athletes who have good potential and are happy to be coming to Chadron State,” Northrup said. “Since track and field is such an individual sport, they’ll all have a chance to prove themselves. As coaches, it will be our job to help them do their best.”
Several of the recruits are from the Panhandle. They include two well-known sprinters from Mitchell. Early in the season, Kadin Perez won all three of the sprints and also was named the outstanding male contestant at the meet his team hosted.
Perez also won both the 100 in 11.31 seconds and the 200 in 22.62 at the Best of the West, before missing a couple of meets because of a quadricep injury. However, he bounced back to win both races at the Class B-6 District Meet in 11.03 and 22.92. At the state meet, he was fifth in the 100 in 11.06 and third in 200 in 22.29.
Another Mitchell senior, Rylan Aguallo, usually finished next to Perez in the 100 and also placed high in the long jump last spring after rushing for 1,950 yards and scoring 31 touchdowns for the Tigers’ 8-2 football team last fall. Aguallo is a freshman on the CSC football team and also plans to continue his track career with the Eagles.
Also joining the CSC men’s track and field team from the Panhandle are Logan Andrews of Gering, who placed fifth in Class B in the 1600 meters in 4:32.85 at the state meet last May, along with two athletes from Scottsbluff. The latter are James Bruner, a long and high jumper who was recovering from injuries much of this spring, but Northup believes has good potential, and Conner McCracken, who hopes to resume his high jumping career after clearing 6-6 while placing fourth in Class B in 2018.
Quintin Emerson of Ogallala, who won the Class B-6 District pole vault last spring by clearing 14 feet, is another addition. Chris Jennings of O’Neill, who sailed the discus 149-10 this spring, will compete in the throws for the Eagles.
Four men from Wyoming have signed with the Eagles. They include Kaden Dower, who scored all 40 points for Western Heritage Lutheran, a Class 1A school in Riverton, at the state meet last May by winning the 100, 200, shot put and discus.
Zach Purviance of Newcastle will run the middle distances and Blaine Johnson of Sheridan and Kyson Miller of Kelly Walsh High in Casper are distance runners.
Another distance prospect is Rhett McMasters of Lake Preston, S.D. Isaac Perkins of Rapid City Stevens, who was fourth in the Class AA shot put at state with a toss of 50-2, will throw for the Eagles.
Quincy Efeturi is coming from much farther away. He’s a Nigerian who has some excellent marks in the sprints. Northrup said he has run the 100 meters in 10.6 seconds, the 200 in 21.8 and the 400 in 49 seconds.
Two women from Jamaica will give the Lady Eagles a boost in the sprints if they can match or improve upon the times they posted while competing for St. Rusea’s Academy. Shantae Morgan has run the 100 in 12.1 seconds, the 200 in 25.1 and the 400 in 59.6. Shantel Goodison had bests of 12.5 in the 100 and 14.3 in the 100 high hurdles.
Another excellent sprint prospect is Caydince Groth of Cheyenne South, who placed second in the Class 4A 400 meters at the Wyoming State Meet in 58.66 and also anchored the winning 4×400 relay team. Another CSC recruit, Joclyn Toso of Riverton, ran the anchor leg for the second place Class 4A 4×100 relay team.
Hunter Wiebelhaus, who attended Keya Paha County High at Springview, went 5-7 in the high jump this spring for the North Central co-op team. Also an outstanding student, she will be in the Rural Health Opportunities Program at CSC as a pre-med participant.
Another highly successful high school athlete joining the Eagles is Devyn Thornton of Windsor, Colo. While she did not quite match her season bests of 18-7 ½ in the long jump and 37-4 in the triple jump, she placed third in both in Class 4A at the state meet after winning both events at five regular season meets.
Rounding out the incoming class of Lady Eagles are Averie Harold, a thrower from Sutherland with best marks of 34-2 in the shot put and 107-8 in the discus; Sammi Comes, a high jumper from Harding County High in Buffalo, S.D., who has cleared 4-11; Danae Rader, a sprinter and hurdler from Doniphan-Trumbull High in Nebraska who has personal bests of 26.4 in the 200 meters, 16.14 in the 100 hurdles and 48.35 in the 300 hurdles.
In addition, distance runner Caela Benkendorf of Elizabeth, Colo., has run the 800 in 2:28.0 and the 1600 in 5:44 and also will add depth to the cross country team.
The same is true for Alissa Weimann of Douglas High at Box Elder, S.D., who has personal bests of 2:27.83 in the 800, 5:18.27 in the 1,600 and 11:23.16 in the 3,200. She qualified for the South Dakota State Meet every year since she was an 8th grader, placed four times and was the runner-up in the 3200 as a sophomore.