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ANNETTE SIMMONS

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Cheyenne, Wyoming

© 2007-2019 Elizabeth Dillow, LLC

The Elementary School Track Meet

Every year Cheyenne puts on an elementary school track program for 4th-6th graders; they divide up the 28 elementary schools in town and run track meets for four days at Okie Blanchard Stadium at East High School. Today was Bridget's and Gracie's day, and the weather could not have been more different than the two years Maddie participated back in 2012 and 2013. Then, it was roasting. Today, it was freezing. F R E E Z I N G. But not the kind of freezing where you're prepared for it, really—it was beautiful out early this morning with lots of sunshine, and it wasn't until just before the meet was scheduled to kick off that the cold mist rolled in and froze everyone's bones from the inside out. I actually changed clothes before I left to go over, but I only put jeans and a sweatshirt on when I should have just grabbed my winter coat. I was not alone: a good 75% of the adults there to watch were also freezing, shuffling around in whatever they had in the back of their cars. In theory, good weather for track and field, I suppose. In reality, the Dillow girls were woefully under-dressed for the weather. (Big surprise I'm sure)



Bridget started out on high jump; she did have a coat, but left it in the stands and so as the rounds went on, bribed someone for her sweatshirt. I got overly excited about her clearing the bar in the first picture, hence the terrible, terrible technical quality. Ha. She did not receive a large amount of instruction on high jump form, so employed a strategy that looked a lot like "hurdle and hope for the best." She ended up in 6th place overall.

Gracie's first event was the 70 meter dash, which she fully intended to win after earning the best finish time of any boy or girl in her school during the practice phase. She won her heat handily, and made it to the finals. The poor boy behind her was pretty representative of everyone there for sure. After school she told me a story about how weird it was that the event judge asked her who her grandpa was after the first heat; she said "Richard Willis and Ed Dillow....????" and couldn't figure out why he didn't ask anyone else. I immediately knew why he had asked when she told me—because there is a Duane Dillow in this town who used to teach science at Carey Junior High, and people have been asking me if I'm related to him for 17 years now. Hee. I have never met this man, but I'm kind of dying to. Dillow is a rare, rare name.

In the finals, Gracie was assigned the lane next to the Jessup girl. The Jessup kids (both boys and girls) were on fire in every event. I'm not sure what they're feeding them over there, but they were awesome. They won first in almost everything... except the 70 meter dash, as Gracie blew past them all and finished in 10.49 seconds. She was chattering with cold when she finished but thrilled. If you click on the Instagram link up there, you can see the video Matt recorded (easier to post it to Instagram than mess with YouTube). You can hear me (obnoxious) and Mr. Dixon cheering her on; Matt is not afflicted by bad focusing/framing/excitability.

Bridget was on a relay team next; you can see her in her pink coat and black leggings (which I tried to talk her out of last night—wouldn't she be hot?) Her team finished first but was disqualified because someone accidentally ran out of her lane.


Gracie had long jump next, and while she is great fun to watch and extremely good at it, it was hard to compete against girls who were so much bigger and could fling themselves through the air farther than she could. She finished in 6th place with a 9'8" best jump, which is pretty good for someone her size. The Jessup kid who won the boys' long jump had either 14' or 16' feet something, I couldn't hear which but it was crazy far into the pit for a kid. Gracie informed me tonight that she will not be long jumping ever again because SAND. Sand in her shoes, sand in her leggings, sand in her soul. (They did not practice in a real sand pit to prepare)


At this point she was actually turning purple (I am not exaggerating) so I gave her my hooded sweatshirt to put over top of her fleece jacket and told her I'd hear about the rest of the meet later, because she could have either the sweatshirt or me. I race-walked back to the car in my t-shirt, embarrassing myself with the Willis Cold Weather Whinny the entire way. Bridget made it to the finals in the 4th grade 70m dash and finished 5th, and Gracie's relay team won first. I wish all the other kids who compete this week weather somewhere in between Cold Mist and Roasting.


: )