CHEYENNE – Will Monger does not cut an imposing figure as he loosens up for the 100-yard dash at the Okie Blanch- ard Invitational on Friday morning.
Most of the other sprinters are heads and shoulders taller than he is.
“I’m like 5-foot-3, 5-4 or maybe 5-5,” the Cheyenne Central senior said. “People give me funny looks when I go up to the (starting) line because I’m so much smaller than everyone else. I kind of stand out.”
Monger stands out for an entirely different reason when the starting pistol fires – he is usually out in front.
Monger won the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes at the Okie Invite.He finished the 100 in 10.98 seconds, the 200 in 23.59 and the 400 in 52.92.
Monger now has six wins through three meets this season. He had the fastest time in the preliminary heats of the season-opening Binfield Invitational in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, but took second in the 100 and didn’t race the 200 final.
“I felt really good coming into this season, and I want to finish really strong,” Monger said. “I want to make myself known, but there is still some work to do.
“I have to keep working on my breathing technique – especially in the 400 – and just have a good mindset. I’m going to focus on one thing each week until I get it down. That will help me get where I want to be.”
Monger says he didn’t start unlocking his speed until late in his sophomore year. He describes himself as far from fast during his junior high days, but he loved the sport and stuck with it. Monger benefitted from the event-specific coaching he has gotten at Central.
“When he was a freshman, he didn’t have a lot of form,” Indians assistant Danielle Alexander said. “He was kind of all over the place. He has worked hard year after year to control his body when he’s running.
“He also has worked hard on block starts and powering through. When he was younger, blocks were an issue. We work on blocks from the very beginning, and he made it a point to get better at it.”
Monger showed promise during the 2020 indoor season. Top-five finishes came with regularity, and he was runner-up in the 55-meter dash at Central’s Kevin Salverson Memorial meet. The outdoor season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that left Monger itching to get back to work.
He won the 55 and 200 at two of the three state qualifying meets Central’s indoor team competed in this winter. He also had a runner-up finish in the 55, and also competed in long jump. Monger placed fourth in the 55 at the state meet.
“I kept comparing my times to the other guys around the state, and that gave me confidence that what I was doing was working and to keep going,” Monger said. “The times and results I’m posting now are giving me confidence. Winning and knowing what my times are and what they could be helps me a lot. I’m getting close to my goals.”
The 400 is a new event for Monger. He wasn’t going to run it Friday, but he talked Central coach Bruce Mowry into letting him.
“He has figured out how much a little bit of work can help him get better, and he is working really hard right now,” Mowry said. “I’m excited to see what this season has in store for him. He had a great indoor season, and I think his outdoor season is going to be even better.”
Central sweeps team titles
The Cheyenne Central girls won just two events, but took the team title at the Okie Invite.
The Lady Indians’ wins came from senior Dakota Lobmeyer (shot put) and sophomore Sydney Morrell (1,600-meter run). Lobmeyer also took second in discus.
Cheyenne South senior Caydince Groth won both the 200-meter dash (27.01 seconds) and 400 (1 minute, 0.84 seconds). She also was second in the 100 (13.56). She joined Paige Guille, Kaycia Groth and Darby Downham on the winning 4x400 relay team (4:18.76).
Downham also won the 300 hurdles (50.52).
Cheyenne East freshman Taliah Morris won the 100 (13.25) and long jump (18 feet, 1¼ inches). Junior Mikaila Trujillo won the 3,200-meter run (12 minutes, 36 seconds) and was second in the 1,600 (5:50.87). She joined Elysiana Fonseca, Bradie Schlabs and Alleynah Ronnau on the winning 1,600 sprint medley relay team (5:02.48).
In addition to Monger’s three wins, the Central boys also got wins from Jacob Frentheway (800) and Bridger Brokaw (1,600). Frentheway also was second in the 1,600, while Brokaw was third in the 800. The Indians had the top six finishers in the 800.
East’s Kaliff Guevara (triple jump), Ethan Brinkman (high jump) and Trey Bower (shot put) won their respective events. Guevara also was second in the 100.