CASPER — Neither ultimately emerged victorious in the event, but for Laramie High senior Travis Judd and sophomore Mahlon Morris, it didn’t really matter. Standing next to each other on the podium for the first time ever was enough of a win.
Judd and Morris competed against each other in the triple jump Saturday morning at the Wyoming Class 4A Track and Field State Championships. Judd took fifth (42 feet, 10 inches) in the event while Morris took fourth (43-1/2). They stood together shoulder-to-shoulder as they received their medals in front of the packed stands at Kelly Walsh’s Harry Geldien Stadium. It was their first time ever competing against each other in a final.
No, they didn’t win the triple jump. But they created a memory they won’t soon forget.
“That means a lot to me,” Judd said. “It’s kind of hard to describe, just the feeling that I’ll keep forever.”
LHS had its share of victories Saturday afternoon, as freshman Addie Forry won the 400-meter dash (58.57 seconds) and teammate Libby Berryhill took second in the 1,600 run (5:08.73).
The Plainsmen finished eighth in the overall 4A team standings while the Lady Plainsmen took fifth.
Judd has been competing in track for four years; Saturday was the first time he’s ever medaled with a teammate, he said. Morris, meanwhile, is in his first year on the track team.
It’s always odd competing against a good friend; yes, they are both wearing Laramie-emblazoned singlets. Each wants to beat the other, however, even if it’s in the friendliest possible way. Friendly competition is competition nonetheless.
But for Morris, Saturday morning was a “coming full circle moment.” Because when he was in middle school, Morris was watching Judd compete in the triple jump for the Plainsmen. And he grew up emulating Judd.
Being able to share that special moment on Saturday with his mentor truly means something.
“I wanted to be like Travis,” Morris said. “Now that I get to jump against him, it was fun.”
Forry wasn’t sure what to expect in her race, given that she didn’t compete at regionals due to a basketball game she had to play in.
The first 400 she ran during prelims went really well, she said. It was honestly a bit of a surprise, given she was going against the best of the best and entered the final with the best time.
The next 400 Forry ran won her a medal and all-state honors, edging out Cheyenne South’s Caydince Groth by less than a tenth of a second. It was a neck-and-neck race until the very end; so close, in fact, that Forry wasn’t sure if she had actually won or not.
Upon reaching the podium, Forry received a loud round of applause from a contingency of fans decked out in maroon.
“I didn't think I got her, because I fell behind on the last 100, and (knew) that I had to push through,” she said. “I was very nervous. Like, ‘Oh my gosh, did I win, or did I not? It was chaotic, I have to say.”
For Berryhill, Saturday was a bittersweet rollercoaster. The senior won the 3,200 on Thursday and took second in the 1,600 on Saturday. In total, she won one state title and took home a trio of second-place medals. By all metrics, it was an incredible haul.
Berryhill knew she should have been happy. It was her first time ever winning anything at the state meet, after all. But the competitor in her just wasn’t going to make it that easy. She wanted more for herself, especially with it being her final meet.
“I was a little disappointed, in myself, just with the same thing happening (as in my other race),” Berryhill said. “But I’d rather lose to good competition than win (against) bad competition.”
Immediately following the final race of her high school career, Berryhill didn’t particularly want to discuss her life as a Lady Plainsmen drawing to a close. “I’m not ready for it,” she exclaimed.
One of these days, she’ll realize just how special her three days in Casper were.
“I should be (happy) … it was really a great weekend,” she said. “(I’m) very (hard on myself). I need to work on that a little bit.”