Soroco sophomores lead charge with state track a month away |

Soroco sophomores lead charge with state track a month away

Austin Colbert

— Mattie Rossi called it joyful.

Tuesday at Battle Mountain, the Soroco High School sophomore broke the school record in the 100-meter hurdles, a mark she wanted but didn’t expect to reach this soon.

"It was just a good day to come out and run," Rossi said Thursday. "I knew I was kind of getting closer to it. In the back of my head, I really wanted to run faster than the school record, but when I got done with that race, I didn't really know it was the record. It felt good."

Rossi's time of 16.04 seconds — as listed by MaxPreps — was the best among girls in Class 2A and 25th overall in the state entering this weekend. The record she broke — 16.25 seconds — was set by Jessica de Ganahl in 2003.

Rossi — a cousin to former Soroco standout Jessica Rossi, who is now part of the women's basketball program at Eastern Wyoming College — also ranks third in 2A in the 300-meter hurdles (49.22 seconds). She was a state qualifier in both events as a freshman, taking seventh in the 300 and ninth in the 100. Rossi also ranks in the top 10 in the long jump this season.

"Tuesday was definitely a big confidence booster," Rossi said. “I'm really looking forward to seeing what other times I can put up."

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Rossi isn't the only Soroco sophomore making waves this spring. Ben Kelley, who broke the boys' 3,200-meter run record as a freshman, now holds the school's 1,600-meter record, as well. He broke the 10-year-old mark Saturday at Glenwood Springs, something Soroco track and field coach David Bruner saw coming before it happened.

"Mattie and Ben, they are both sophomores, and they haven't realized they can be pretty special," Bruner said Thursday. "(Kelley) was half a second off breaking the 800 record on Tuesday. And there was nobody around him. He wasn't pushed. I think he has a great chance to break that record, for sure."

Much like Rossi, Kelley's continued success isn't surprising, considering his freshman season. Last spring, he finished sixth at state in the 1,600-meter race and seventh in the 800-meter race. He also took 11th in the 3,200-meter race.

Kelley is comfortably in the top five in 2A this season in the 800 and 1,600 races, top 10 in the 400-meter dash and top 20 in the 3,200.

"So far, so good," Kelley said of his season. "I've definitely worked to get my 400 and 800 time down. I'm definitely a natural long-distance runner. I've worked to get those sprints faster. I still think I'm going to keep getting better."

Outside of Rossi and Kelley, Soroco's strength seems to lie with its girls' relay teams. Six girls — Rossi, DaKota Bruner, Morgan George, Cassie Constine, Kali Constine and Chloe Veilleux — make up the bulk of those teams, in some form or the other.

Entering the weekend, the girls' 400-meter relay team was fifth in 2A; the 1,600-meter relay team was sixth, and 800-meter relay team was 12th. The girls' sprint medley also ranks in the top 10. The boys' 800-meter relay team is on the state cusp at 18th.

Also holding steady for a trip to the state meet next month is George in the 100-meter dash, Veilleux in the 300-meter hurdles, Cassie Constine in the triple jump and Kali Constine in both the high jump and pole vault.

"We have about a month to fine tune some things and get better," David Bruner said. "We are at a good point. We are farther along right now than we were last year, which I'm pretty pleased with. I really couldn't tell you why, but we are ahead of where we were last year at this time, which is good."

The state track meet is scheduled for May 19 and 20 in Lakewood.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert