CHEYENNE – A stress fracture in his left foot derailed Jacob Frentheway’s junior cross-country season just as it was starting.
The Cheyenne Central senior was able to run in just two races last fall: the junior-varsity race at the Class 4A East Conference meet and the varsity competition at the 4A state meet.
Frentheway placed 28th at state, helping the Indians take second as a team. He expected to improve on his fifth-place effort and help Central win a state title. Instead, he was left to stew in disappointment.
That disappointment fueled an incredible fall season that ended with a runner-up finish and team championship at this year’s 4A state meet. Those efforts earned Frentheway Prep Athlete of the Week honors from WyoSports’ Cheyenne staff.
“After last year, I was really hungry and had a lot of high hopes for this year,” Frentheway said. “I had hoped to win, but I’m still happy with my performance throughout the season and finishing second at state.”
Frentheway finished the 5-kilometer course in Ethete in 16 minutes, 20 seconds. It was 50 seconds faster than he ran as a junior and 38 seconds faster than his fifth-place time as a sophomore.
Frentheway finished less than 10 seconds behind state champion Mason Wheeler of Jackson.
“He looked strong, he looked confident, and he looked like the runner I was expecting to see last year,” Central coach Sean Wilde said. “He lacked a little bit of experience and wisdom when it came to racing, but that’s because he lost his sophomore outdoor track season to COVID and his junior cross season to the stress fracture.
“You have to experience the blood, sweat and tears and having your teeth kicked in every now and then to learn how to really race. You have to see what works and what doesn’t, and you have to learn what kind of racer you are. He missed out on a lot of experience because he lost those two seasons.”
Frentheway didn’t have to race much this season because he was often well out in front of the nearest competitor. He won two meets, was second in two others, third in two more and fourth in another.
The preparation Frentheway did for his junior campaign is likely what led to his injury. He logged hundreds of miles at a fairly high intensity, and his left foot started aching only a few days into Central’s practices. Frentheway hoped the discomfort would subside like so many other aches and pains runners regularly deal with, but the pain lingered and only got worse over the next two weeks.
An X-ray revealed a stress fracture, and Frentheway was told he might be able to return in time for the final two meets of the season. In an effort to keep some semblance of cardiovascular fitness, Frentheway swam laps in the morning and rode a bike in the afternoon.
The experience with the stress fracture taught Frentheway to listen to his body like he never had before. It was an invaluable lesson that helped him this season.
“Whenever something started hurting, I made sure to stretch a ton, treat it and do exercises to keep it healthy,” he said. “I also tried to get extra sleep and eat healthy. I have been getting my homework done in class, or getting it done early so I can make sure I get to bed early and get extra sleep.
“Those changes helped me stay healthy, but they also helped me stay focused on what I really wanted.”
Frentheway has a hard time comparing his junior and senior seasons because they were so different. He knows he will relish this season because he was part of such a dominant team. The Indians won seven meets in total, and won them by an average of more than 30 points.
“I loved this season and what we were able to do as a team,” he said. “Being able to apply what I learned from last year helped me, and it helped my teammates perform even better.
“My teammates, my coach and my parents deserve so much credit for my success this season. I wouldn’t be able to do what I did without the workouts our coach gave us, the perseverance I learned from my teammates and the confidence my parents gave me.”
Others recognized for their efforts include:
n Keagan Bartlett and Chase Talich, football, Central: Bartlett, a junior, rushed for 177 yards and three touchdowns during Central’s 58-13 win over visiting Laramie. He also completed 6 of 12 passes for 98 yards and three more TDs.
Talich, a sophomore, finished with 6.5 tackles (1.5 tackles for loss and a sack), a pass breakup, a fumble recovery and an interception.
n Ellie Brewer, girls swimming, Cheyenne South: The senior set school records while winning the 100- and 200-yard freestyles at the Class 4A East Conference meet.
She finished the 100 in 55.82 seconds, and reset her own record in the 200 with a time of 2 minutes, 1.94 seconds.
n Kira Brownell and Brinkley Lewis, girls swimming and diving, Central: Brownell, a senior, won the 50-yard freestyle and 100 backstroke at the Class 4A East Conference meet. She finished the 50 free in 24.48 seconds and the 100 back in 59.32.
Lewis, a junior, scored 415.75 points to win 1-meter springboard diving.
n Central boys cross-country: The Indians’ Class 4A state championship squad had four athletes finish in the top 10. In addition to Frentheway’s runner-up finish, Central had sophomore Bridger Brokaw take seventh, senior Jason Frentheway finish eighth and junior Will Barrington place 10th.
n Central girls cross-country: The Lady Indians also captured the 4A state title in dominating fashion. Central put four in the top 10 to finish with 43 points, which was 53 points better than runner-up Jackson. Junior Sydney Morrell was fourth, senior Kaya Pillivant finished fifth, sophomore Emma Hofmeister took eighth and freshman Rian Cordell-Reiner was 10th.
n Brooke Hansen, Savannah Kirkbride, Diomena Mercer, Emma Norris and Rylee Jo Ward, volleyball, Burns: Hansen averaged 12.3 kills, 7.7 digs and three aces to help the Lady Broncs go 2-1 on the week and lock up the South Quadrant’s No. 1 seed to the Class 3A East Regional.
Kirkbride added 14.7 digs per match, while Mercer averaged 16.7.
Norris averaged 20.7 kills and 15.7 digs.
Ward averaged 42 assists, 13.3 digs and five kills in those matches.
n Braeden Hughes, football, South: The senior had 73 receiving yards and a touchdown during the Bison’s 51-27 loss at Natrona County. He also rushed for 71 yards and posted six tackles (five solo) and an interception.
n Drew Jackson and Cade Pugh, football, Cheyenne East: Jackson, a sophomore, had 13 tackles (four solo) and returned three kickoffs 60 yards during the Thunderbirds’ 31-15 loss to Rock Springs.
Pugh, a senior, had 16 tackles (six solo).
n Boden Liljedahl, volleyball, East: The junior libero averaged 14 digs to help the Lady Thunderbirds go 1-1 on the week.
n Sean Rhoads, football, Pine Bluffs: Rhoads rushed for 137 yards and two touchdowns during the Hornets’ 66-0 victory over Moorcroft.