SARATOGA – Almost unfathomable that Sam Schneider, a Saratoga tri-sport athlete who just finished his senior track season with just about every accolade you can think of, didn’t qualify for the state track meet his freshman year.
“That was really disappointing year, and it made me realize I was gonna need to change my approach,” Schneider told a Rawlins Times reporter last month. “(I) just needed to up my level of competition.”
And, according to the exploits of his senior track season, which essentially replicate his past two preceding seasons, he did… he did with a capital S.
Schneider, who this week was named “Carbon County Male Athlete of the Spring” by the Rawlins Times, took Kelly Walsh in Casper by storm. The 6’3”, 175-pound human gazelle nabbed two 1A state championships via high and long jump.
In high jump, the emphatic Schneider even expanded a two-inch buffer between him and second-place finisher Dontae Garza of Burlington – 6’4” v. 6’2” – to take top honors. This means, again, standing at a towering 6’3”, Schneider can literally jump over his vertical self, if need be.
No wonder this marked the third consecutive state high jump victory for Schneider, who also earlier in the season at Outlaw Stadium broke the Saratoga High School record in the same event. What had stood for almost 20 years, Tom Hall’s 6’6” now sits second to Schneider’s 6’8” mark.
You know who else is 6’8”? LeBron James of the National Basketball League.
Now, if Schneider were to multiply himself by three and lay those bodies horizontally across the ground head to toe, he’d easily clear the gap, with more than three inches to spare. To back the claim, Schneider recorded 20’8.5” final distance to prove this year’s 1A state champ in long jump, which again upstaged Garza by at least an inch.
The lone hiccup that emerged during Schneider’s state showcase of practically alien-like skill came in triple jump, which Garza is probably grinning about. Schneider’s 43’0.75” final triple jump distance was routed by Garza’s 46’6”.
Nevertheless, Schneider still ended his high school athletic career at a near polar opposite of his freshman season. Football, basketball, track and field… not one of these Panthers sports have gone without at least one Schneider recognition for All-State or All-Conference.
Just a few weeks ago, in fact, Schneider was honored with the Jake Clark Memorial Athlete of the Year, a recognition given annually to one female and one male Carbon County athlete.
Schneider would later tell the Rawlins Times that the honor was a “good way to close out my high school sports career.”
But his sports career hasn’t ended just yet. Schneider, along with Rawlins’ Damon Taylor, will be representing Carbon County in the upcoming Shrine Bowl, where Wyoming’s elite high school football players bash it during the state’s very own all-star game.
The game occurs 2 p.m. on Saturday in Casper.
This, for Schneider, should place a final exclamation point on a high school career that truly started from the ground up.
Said Schneider last month: “It’s been a big progression from not really doing anything my freshman year to winning a lot and just performing at a much higher level my senior year.”
Although set to make his way to the University of Wyoming in the fall, Schneider does not yet know if he’ll take to the track wearing gold and yellow.