Connie Kersnowski jumps hurdles for the Pershing County Mustangs.
Connie Kersnowski jumps hurdles for the Pershing County Mustangs.
This past Friday, Lovelock hosted the Pershing County Invitational, the track team’s 2021 season-opener. 

As afternoon turned to evening, a timekeeper headed to her car for a jacket. 

“We’re not here for a long time- we’re here for a good time,” she quipped. And that’s what it was for the volunteers, fans and athletes from Pershing County, Battle Mountain, Coral Academy, Silver Stage and Yerington.

Lyon and Lander County school buses parked in the lot. 

The drivers peeked through the fence at the multiple events. Jim Rowe (Class of 1960) spoke about his days as a lineman for the Mustangs as he helped keep time.

Pershing County’s track and field team consists of 11 athletes, six of whom are seniors – Connie Kersnowski, Cheyeanne Diaz, Victor Flores, Dalton McNeff, Julia Steele and Zeke Jackson. 

Rylee Renfroe is the team’s only freshman, and Kaylen Halverson is the only sophomore. Kylee Fuller, Diego Gonzalez and Presley Burrows represent the Class of 2022.

On the girl’s side, Diaz, Renfroe, Steele and Kersnowski ran the 4x200 relay (2:05.65) faster than any of their competitors. It was a close race between Pershing (2:05.65), Yerington (2:07.72) and Coral Academy of Sciences – Reno (2:09.72).

Diaz placed third in the 100-meter dash (14.59). Renfroe came in fourth (14.89). It was a personal record for each girl. Steele ran the 800-meter at 3:44.21.

Burrows outraced five competitors for the top spot in the 200 meters (28.75). Diaz took second (31.02) place. Burrows also gold medaled in the 400-meter dash (1:03.55) and led in the high jump (4-10.00) and triple jump (33-11.25).

Fuller, a distance runner, won the 1,600 meters (6:11.45) and 3,200 meters (13:38.79) races. 

Meanwhile, Kersnowski earned first place in the 100-meter (19.22) and 300-meter (54.45) hurdles. 

She also led in the long jump (14-4.75). Renfroe placed second in the 100s, a personal record.

Halverson threw the shot put 25 feet for third place. She won the discus competition with a throw of 65 feet, 6 inches, nearly two feet further than her closest competitor, a Yerington girl. Kaylen’s family watched from the parking lot with dozens of other friends and supporters. Covid restrictions still bar out-of-towners. 

Most attendees wore masks, including the high school principal, Jonathan Reynolds. “I’m trying to set a good example,” he said. 

Other familiar faces included Ed and Shauna Bake, Dave McLean, Lance and Sandy Condie, Lisa Pontius, Jordan McKinney and several volleyball team members. 

Tim Fecht and Jordan Gentry retrieved errant discs and shot puts. Volunteers were everywhere, too many to name but indispensable to the success of the day.

The Lady Mustangs finished first among the girl’s teams. They totaled 145 points, more than Yerington (143), Coral Academy (95), Battle Mountain (86) and Silver Stage (14).

For the boys, Jackson ran the 400 meters in 1:04.86. Gonzalez walked away with second place in the 1,600-meter race (5:21.38). 

Flores threw the shot put over 26 feet (26-2), a personal record. 

McNeff leaped five feet to win the high jump and over 18 feet (18-5) to win the long jump, a personal record. He also led in the triple jump (36-3), another personal record. 

McNeff chalks his results up to equal parts of perspiration and inspiration. 

“I worked hard to strengthen my legs over the school year and summer,” he said. “I’ve been lifting weights, specifically targeting parts of my legs that can make my jumps more explosive, like my calves and hamstrings. I’ve been doing power cleans, calf raises and weighted one-foot box jumps.”

“Because the season got cut short last year, I didn’t get too much practice long jumping, and then this year I only got six or seven practice jumps before the meet. I didn’t get any practice with the triple jump this year. I had a feel for the event after watching some of the other guys do it, and I just went with it,” he said. “The high jump is one of my favorite events, even though I’m not necessarily the best at it. I still could use practice with form.”

He’ll have plenty of help from Matt and Cassidie Fuller. 

Pershing County’s new track coaches come from the Mustang soccer world. They join veteran coach Ben Halverson.

The boys placed fourth (42), behind Battle Mountain (154), Coral Academy (124) and Yerington (101). Silver Stage finished at 14.

Next, Pershing County heads to Battle Mountain (April 30) and Elko (May 7). 

The regionals are scheduled for May 22, probably in Reno. 

The schedule is subject to sudden change, but one thing is for sure. There are good times ahead for the PCHS track team.