Red Devils 4th, Lady Devils 10th at State

Barker state champ; teams combine for 17 medals

By Don Cogger, Herald Sports Editor
Posted 5/22/24

CASPER — At the 4A State Track and Field Championships in 2021, then-freshman Kai Barker looked on with pride as his older sister Stacia stepped on to Best of the Best podium to receive her …

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Red Devils 4th, Lady Devils 10th at State

Barker state champ; teams combine for 17 medals


CASPER — At the 4A State Track and Field Championships in 2021, then-freshman Kai Barker looked on with pride as his older sister Stacia stepped on to Best of the Best podium to receive her medal, following her impressive win in the girls’ high jump.

Three years later, the roles were reversed. Now a senior at Evanston High School, the younger Barker and recent Weber State track commit lived up to his billing as the favorite coming into last weekend’s 4A State Championships in Casper, holding off a game challenger in Kelly Walsh’s Eric Whitley to win the high jump title. Barker’s jump of 6 feet, 6 inches was two inches better than Whitley, and also earned the Red Devil his own spot on the Best of the Best podium, reserved for the top performances in a given event, regardless of class.

“I was in complete disbelief,” Barker said. “I had always had someone older than me who was the top dog, but this year it was me. That feeling of being on top of the podium brought so much relief and satisfaction – it made the perfect ending to the perfect season.”

Kai’s dad – EHS head track coach Roy Barker – said he was proud of his son for staying focused and accomplishing his goals.

“Kai was a favorite going in there,” he said. “One of the Natrona kids had an injury, he broke his ankle so he wasn’t there – that was pretty sad for him. Another kid out of East had gone pretty high, but he didn’t perform probably to what his liking would have been. Kai was able to jump well and stay consistent, and he won the competition. He did what he needed to do, so it was great.”

For the second year in a row, sunshine was plentiful at the 4A State Championships in Casper, though the wind caused havoc for the first two days of competition. The Red Devils placed fourth overall as a team, while the Lady Devils placed 10th; the two teams combined for 17 individual placers, with three relays also earning podium finishes.

“I’m proud of the kids, proud of their efforts,” coach Barker said. “There were a lot of good marks, but man, that wind was brutal. Our kids competed very well at a high level. It was pretty competitive in Casper this year.”


Red Devils

Along with his win in the high jump, Kai Barker placed in both the 110 (4th, 15.25) and 300 (6th, 40.24) hurdles; he also ran a leg in the 4x400 relay – along with teammates Jayden Rieker, Ayden Hartzell and Gabe Hutchinson – placing fourth, with a time of 3:26.14.

“It was weird, because my prelims were better than my finals with my times, but I still performed and placed better than I thought I would’ve,” Barker said.

Fellow senior Gabe Hutchinson also made the podium in multiple events, placing fourth in the 100 meters (11.13), fifth in the 200 meters (21.76) and fifth in the 400 meters (49.81).

Junior sprinter Ayden Hartzell earned fourth-place finishes in both the 200 meters (21.54) and 400 meters (49.15); his time in the 200 meter finals broke the school record, set by Hutchinson in the prelims the day before.

“Those two are just phenomenal sprinters, and I think any other year, they probably would have brought home a state championship,” Barker said. “State this year was so competitive.”

In the field events, Cameron Hiatt capped off his senior season with a fifth-place finish in the pole vault. Clearing a height of 13 feet, 6 inches. Junior Trayten Wiedrich earned a spot on the podium in the triple jump, with a distance of 42 feet, 9.75 inches.

In the distance events, Paul Baxter finished seventh in the 800 meters, posting a time of 2:00.59. Baxter had a bit of a rough go in Casper, after getting hit with a runaway team tent that was picked up and sent airborne by the strong winds.

“Hit by a tent, can you believe that?” Barker asked. “I was just proud of Paul – he pulled off the quad – running all three distance races and the 4x800. That’s just hard to do. I think we probably put him in a situation where it was very difficult, and he just did it, and we’re very proud of him. He did it with a good attitude, and went on [after the tent incident] and continued. That last mile he ran, he was pretty tired, but he did a great job. All the distance runners were great. They’ve had great careers.”

“We don’t bring home the trophy with the boys, you don’t do that without Treyton and Cameron – those points they earned for placing fifth were huge,” Barker said. “Treyton, I think he was seventh or eighth in the finals – he hit a big one and moved to fifth. Cameron has been consistent, especially in the last month, so we’re proud of him, as well.”

The school record-setting 4x800 relay team of Gideon Stahl, Aidan Conrad, Paul Baxter and Jamar McDowell weren’t able to match their performance of their week before, but still ran well enough to finish third, posting a time of 8:21.28.


Lady Rangers

The Lady Devils finished the weekend with six individual placers and a podium finish by the 4x400 relay team.

Senior sprinter Talia Conrad placed in all three of her three individual events, finishing fourth in the 200 meters (26.92), fifth in the 200 meters (24.94) and fifth in the 400 meters (59.13).

Fellow senior Jocelyn Capener – competing in her first, and, as it turned out, only – state meet, also earned a spot on the podium in all three of her events, placing third in the 800 meters (2:15.37), fifth in the 1600 meters (5:18.77) and sixth in the 400 meters (59.15).

“Jocelyn and Talia scored a lot of points, but obviously they’re graduating, so we’re going to miss them,” Barker said. 

Other notable performances included freshman Cassie Barker in the high jump (9th, 5’) and 300 hurdles (11th, 47.89); Emma Lonsway in the 300 hurdles (9th, 47.46), triple jump (10th, 34’6.75”) and pole vault (16th, 9’6”); Marissa Parks (11th, 34’1.25”) and Celeste Swensen (12th, 33’8.5”) in the triple jump; Liesl Botts in the 3200 meters (15th, 12:43.75); Hallie Prete in the 800 meters (16th, 2:35.18) and Coaley Clifton in the 100 meters (17th, 13.20).


4A State


Girls Results

1. Sheridan 112, 2. Cheyenne East 83, 3. Kelly Walsh 79, 4. Natrona County 72, 5. Cody 57, 5. Star Valley 7. Thunder Basin 56, 8. Laramie 54, 9. Cheyenne Central 42, 10. Evanston 31, 11. Rock Springs 15, 12. Riverton 14, 13. Green River 10, 14. Campbell County 7, 15. Jackson Hole 6, 15. Elite Solutions Academy 6


100 Meter Dash

5. Talia Conrad 12.53, 17. Coaley Clifton 13.20

200 Meter Dash

4. Talia Conrad 24.94

400 Meter Dash

5. Talia Conrad 59.13, 6. Jocelyn Capener 59.15

800 Meter Run

3. Jocelyn Capener 2:15.37, 16. Hallie Prete 2:35.18

1600 Meter Run

5. Jocelyn Capener 5:18.77

3200 Meter Run

15. Liesl Botts 12:43.75

100 Meter Hurdles

15. Cassie Barker 17.43

300 Meter Hurdles

9. Emma Lonsway 47.46, 11. Cassie Barker 47.89

4x400 Relay

4. Emma Lonsway, Braelynn Morrison, Jocelyn Capener, Talia Conrad 4:04.00

High Jump

9. Cassie Barker 5’

Long Jump

16. Celeste Swensen 15’5.5”

Pole Vault

16. Emma Lonsway 9’6”

Triple Jump

10. Emma Lonsway 34’6.75”, 11. Marissa Parks 34’1.25”, 12. Celeste Swensen 33’8.5”


Boys Results

1. Sheridan High School 141, 2. Cody High School 81.50, 3. Cheyenne Central 64, 4. Natrona County 62, 4. Evanston 62, 6. Kelly Walsh 60, 7. Thunder Basin 55, 8. Star Valley 39, 9. Campbell County 35, 10. Riverton 33, 11. Green River 22, 12. Laramie 21, 13. Rock Springs 11, 14. Jackson Hole 9.50, 15. Cheyenne East 6

100 Meter Dash

4. Gabe Hutchinson 11.13

200 Meter Dash

4. Ayden Hartzell 21.54, 5. Gabe Hutchinson 21.76, 23. Jayden Rieker 22.85

400 Meter Dash

4. Ayden Hartzell 49.15, 5. Gabe Hutchinson 49.81, 17. Jayden Rieker 54.41

800 Meter Run

7. Paul Baxter 2:00.59, 11. Jamar McDowell 2:03.09, 16. Aidan Conrad 2:08.27

1600 Meter Run

17. Paul Baxter 4:42.86

3200 Meter Run

13. Paul Baxter 10:09.36, 25 Bryan Baxter 10:38.15, 28. Gideon Stahl 11:08.31

110 Meter Hurdles

4. Kai Barker 15.25

300 Meter Hurdles

6. Kai Barker 40.24

4x100 Relay

10. Jayden Rieker, Jay Hill, Brayden Wallace, Ayden Hartzell 45.29

4x400 Relay

4. Jayden Rieker, Kai Barker, Ayden Hartzell, Gabe Hutchinson 3:26.14

4x800 Relay

3. Jamar McDowell, Paul Baxter, Aidan Conrad, Gideon Stahl 8:21.28

High Jump

1. Kai Barker 6’6”

Pole Vault

5. Cameron Hiatt 13’6”, 17. Trayten Wiedrich 12’

Long Jump

12. Trayten Wiedrich 19’10’

Triple Jump

5. Trayten Wiedrich 42’9.75”

Shot Put

13. Luca Flores 43’10.5”, 15. Kenyen Muir 42’8.5”