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A look back at state track: Classy exchanges, first golds and upstart underclassmen

Shelley High School senior Paytin Drollinger ran a 3A classification state record time of five minutes, 3.6 seconds en route to winning the 3A girls 1,600 meter finals at the 3A track state championships Saturday at Middleton High School. Drollinger won four medals over the weekend, including golds in all three 3A girls distance events. Steve Conner / steveconnerphotography.com

By MARLOWE HEREFORD
mhereford@postregister.com

One of the fiercest eastern Idaho small school rivalries was put on hold—at least briefly—Saturday afternoon on the final day of 3A/2A/1A state track at Middleton High School.

After winning the 3A girls 1,600 finals in a classification record and Shelley school record five minutes, 3.6 seconds, Shelley senior Paytin Drollinger turned around to see the runners finishing after her. Taking second and third were Sugar-Salem teammates Shaylee Hill and Sarenady Price, whom she walked over to and congratulated. Hill, a senior, then embraced Price, a freshman, while Drollinger congratulated her sophomore teammate Karlie Callahan, who placed fourth.

The conversations between the two girls in red and two girls in blue continued under the awards tent while they waited to be called to the podium for their medals. For Hill and Drollinger, the 1,600 was the last race of their high school careers. The two seniors have traded victories in cross-country and track over the last four years and contributed to a combined seven track state trophies (two first place) and eight cross-country state trophies (four first place).

Both are college signees (Drollinger is headed to Utah State while Hill will join the College of Southern Idaho, which is reviving cross-country and track after 19 years under the direction of head coach and 2008 Olympian Lindsey Anderson), and both are complimentary of the other.

“It’s been such a good run with Shaylee Hill since eighth grade,” Drollinger said Saturday. “It’s a great feeling to be good friends off the track. I think runners really are the best sports.”

Shaylee and her father, Sugar-Salem head coach Brett Hill, said Saturday that the Sugar-Shelley rivalry has made for one of the toughest districts in Idaho for cross-country and track. Athletes from both schools have benefited from the numerous battles, and it will likely continue as several underclassmen return next year.

“Without those girls, I wouldn’t be who I am now,” Shaylee said.

“She has been in so many good races with Paytin,” Brett added. “I don’t think Paytin would’ve gotten a scholarship without Shaylee and I don’t think Shaylee would’ve gotten a scholarship without Paytin.”

Young guns

If Saturday’s results from 3A/2A/1A state track are any indication, there will likely be more medals and trophies to come for District 6 in the near future.

Salmon, which won its first girls track state championship in school history Saturday, graduates two seniors this year. West Jefferson, whose girls team took second to Salmon at the 2A District 6 championships on May 11 in Ashton and placed fourth at Saturday’s state meet, also graduates two. Youth is equally widespread among District 6 compatriots Firth, Ririe and North Fremont, and underclassmen frequented the podium in Middleton.

Their older teammates not only enjoyed sharing in their accomplishments, but watching them succeed individually.

“I love my team,” Salmon senior Kylie Peets, who placed fourth in 100 hurdles, third in high jump and contributed to Salmon’s medley relay win, said on Saturday. “They’re all really supportive of each other. It’s a really good environment to be in. It’s been really fun watching the younger girls come up and see how they do.”

West Jefferson’s Jordi Holdaway contributed 36 points to the Panthers’ fourth-place trophy, 20 of which resulted from contributing to wins with the girls 4×100 and 4×200-meter relay teams with respective times of 50.41 seconds and 1:46.87. Although a sophomore, Holdaway is already taking on some leadership roles as two of her relay teammates are freshmen.

“It’s really fun because they’re freshmen so they’re new to things,” Holdaway said Saturday. “They’re really good, so it makes it better.”

One underclassman who broke ground for her school at state track was Watersprings freshman Abigail Yadon, who won the 1A girls 100 (12.84), placed second the 200 (26.67) and second in long jump (15 feet, 9.5 inches). Daughter of Watersprings athletic director John Yadon, the freshman became the first state champion in any sport for her school with her 100 gold.

A three-sport athlete, Yadon said she prefers basketball but chose to join Watersprings’ second-year track program to stay involved during the spring.

“I didn’t want to golf, and I knew I couldn’t do distance because I would die,” Yadon said with a laugh. “I like it because it’s so different than the other sports.”

Historic gold from a photo finish

Hillcrest head coach Bob Hagert was treated to one of the best views of one of the most exciting finals of the 5A/4A state meet Saturday at Boise’s Dona Larsen Park.

One of Hagert’s athletes, junior Araoluwa Omotowa, entered the 5A girls 100 finals off a personal best of 12.24 in Friday’s prelims. Mountain View freshman Asha Byrd won Friday’s prelims in a personal best 12.26, and the two of them created a photo finish Saturday in the finals.

From his angle, Hagert said he felt pretty confident Omotowa got Byrd at the line. Official results were shared 10 minutes later. While athletic.net and Idaho High School Activities Association records will list identical times of 12.26 by each girl’s name, Omotowa won by thousandths of a second.

“She had a really good, solid start,” Hagert said Tuesday by phone. “About 50 meters in, we knew it was gonna be between the Byrd girl and her. We were actually right on the finish line. It was really fun to watch. Ara wasn’t really expected to win that.”

Omotowa’s gold was two-fold historic. It was the first state gold of her career and the first gold by a Hillcrest female sprinter at state track.

“She really decided this year she wanted to be good,” Hagert said. “She had another level of confidence that she did not have last year.”

Omotowa entered state having battled against the likes of fellow state medalists Laurel Taylor of Idaho Falls, Kayla Horne of Madison, Aubrey Scott of Rigby and Harlee Hales of Pocatello every week for the previous two months. Hagert said eastern Idaho’s depth in girls sprints this spring helped Omotowa to her success.

“In the old days, you could run a 26 in the 200 at districts and get to state. Now you have to run faster than a 26,” Hagert said. “It’s been deeper than we’ve ever seen it.”

Miscellaneous

-Omotowa is Hillcrest’s first individual state track champion since Tyler Crofts in 2011 (3,200) and the first Hillcrest female state track champion since Kellie Anderson in 2004 (high jump). Hillcrest’s last state champion in a sprint event was Kevin Tallman in the 400 in 1999.

-Senior Cameron Garner contributed to three of Sugar-Salem’s state titles in boys sports for the 2016-17 school year: cross-country, basketball and track.

-By winning state track, the Sugar-Salem boys matched last year’s feat by the Shelley girls of winning state titles in cross-country and track in the same school year.

-Per IHSAA records dating back to 1987, no Teton athletes had won state gold in individual sprint finals before Saturday when Dimitri Kraus and Kira Wise swept the 3A 400 finals.

-Salmon’s 2A girls track state championship was the first blue trophy won by a District 6 2A track program since 2008, when the Firth boys won. The last 2A girls track state champion from District 6 before this year was also Firth, won in 2004.

District 6 medalists at state track

Class 5A

Aubrey Scott, Rigby: pole vault (4th)

Olivia Gneiting, Rigby: triple jump (2nd), high jump (3rd)

Randee Smith, Rigby: discus (1st)

Mateya Mobley, Rigby: shot put (6th)

Brooklyn Taylor, Rigby: 100 hurdles (2nd)

Mitchell Myler, Rigby: 110 hurdles (6th)

Nathan Franz, Rigby: shot put (3rd)

Zach Hendricks, Rigby: discus (4th)

Kaden Hall, Rigby: high jump (3rd)

Hunter Jensen, Rigby: pole vault (2nd)

Coen Haroldsen, Bonneville: 1,600 (1st)

Stetson Moss, Bonneville: 3,200 (6th), 1,600 (4th)

Kevin Ker, Bonneville: 110 hurdles (4th)

Araoluwa Omotowa, Hillcrest: 100 (1st), 200 (3rd)

Lazai Koontz, Hillcrest: 300 hurdles (3rd)

Hillcrest girls 4×100 (6th)

Austin Denney, Hillcrest: pole vault (5th)

Hillcrest boys 4×200 (3rd)

Hillcrest boys 4×100 (1st)

Lexi Wightman, Madison: pole vault (2nd)

Rayven Nealey, Madison: triple jump (1st), long jump (3rd)

Kayla Horne, Madison: 200 (6th)

Hannah Bolingbroke, Madison: 100 hurdles (4th), 300 hurdles (4th)

Madison girls 4×100 (2nd)

Class 4A

Ryan Barna, Skyline: 1,600 (4th), 3,200 (2nd)

Daniel Helsley, Skyline: shot put (1st), discus (1st)

Spencer Harding, Skyline: long jump (4th)

Breanne Herrmann, Skyline: 300 hurdles (5th)

Macy Olson, Skyline: 300 hurdles (6th)

Kaybrea Ray, Skyline: shot put (5th), discus (5th)

Zach Erikson, Idaho Falls: 800 (4th), 1,600 (5th), 3,200 (5th)

Idaho Falls boys 4×200 (5th)

Laurel Taylor, Idaho Falls: 100 (3rd), 200 (6th)

Virginia Nielsen, Idaho Falls: 800 (2nd)

Idaho Falls girls 4×200 (3rd)

Zac Merrill, Idaho Falls: high jump (4th)

Katie Montgomery, Idaho Falls: high jump (3rd), triple jump (5th)

Derek Thomas, Blackfoot: 800 (1st)

Michelle Pratt, Blackfoot: 800 (1st), 1,600 (1st)

Blackfoot girls 4×400 (4th)

Blackfoot girls medley relay (2nd)

Kylee Callister, Blackfoot: high jump (5th)

Blackfoot boys medley relay (2nd)

Class 3A

Megan Galbraith, Sugar-Salem: 400 (5th)

Megan Pannell, Sugar-Salem: 400 (6th)

Shaylee Hill, Sugar-Salem: 800 (6th), 1,600 (2nd), 3,200 (2nd)

Sarenady Price, Sugar-Salem: 1,600 (3rd), 3,200 (4th)

Jenna Johansen, Sugar-Salem: 100 hurdles (1st)

Kimberly Vail, Sugar-Salem: 300 hurdles (4th)

Sugar-Salem girls 4×200 (4th)

Celina Adams, Sugar-Salem: shot put (4th), discus (3rd)

Jade Jackson, Sugar-Salem: high jump (1st)

Claire Redd, Sugar-Salem: pole vault (2nd)

Kassi Christensen, Sugar-Salem: pole vault (4th)

Savanah Crane, Sugar-Salem: long jump (4th)

Hadley Miller, Sugar-Salem: triple jump (6th)

Luke Holt, Sugar-Salem: long jump (5th), 200 (5th)

Ace Christensen, Sugar-Salem: pole vault (3rd)

Trason Jackson, Sugar-Salem: high jump (2nd), 300 hurdles (5th)

Marcus Maxwell, Sugar-Salem: shot put (1st)

Sugar-Salem boys medley (1st)

Sugar-Salem boys 4×400 (4th)

Sugar-Salem boys 4×100 (3rd)

Jesse Fogle, Sugar-Salem: 110 hurdles (4th)

Brysen Barr, Sugar-Salem: 110 hurdles (5th)

Kooper Williams, Sugar-Salem: 3,200 (2nd), 1,600 (2nd)

Hunter Galbraith, Sugar-Salem: 3,200 (3rd), 1,600 (1st)

Brennan Anderson, Sugar-Salem: 3,200 (5th), 1,600 (6th)

Taylor Hill, Sugar-Salem: 800 (2nd), 1,600 (3rd)

Benjamin Moser, Sugar-Salem: 3,200 (6th)

Cameron Garner, Sugar-Salem: 800 (1st)

Dylan Pope, Sugar-Salem: 100 (5th)

Paytin Drollinger, Shelley: 800 (1st), 1,600 (1st), 3,200 (1st)

Shelley girls medley relay (2nd)

Karlie Callahan, Shelley: 1,600 (4th), 3,200 (3rd)

Jazmin Romero, Shelley: shot put (6th)

Eden Anderson, Shelley: triple jump (3rd), long jump (5th)

Ty Wright, Shelley: high jump (1st), 110 hurdles (6th)

Kira Wise, Teton: 400 (1st), 200 (6th)

Dimitri Kraus, Teton: 400 (1st), 200 (6th)

Brenden Warburton, Teton: 400 (2nd)

Teton girls 4×400 (2nd)

Teton boys medley relay (4th)

Taryn Paradis, Teton: triple jump (5th)

Josh Anderson, Snake River: pole vault (6th)

Porter Baldwin, Snake River: high jump (3rd)

Leisl Christensen, South Fremont: 300 hurdles (3rd)

South Fremont girls 4×100 (3rd)

Malorie Tucker, South Fremont: discus (6th)

Javier Arvayo, South Fremont: long jump (2nd)

Riley Harris, South Fremont: discus (6th)

Class 2A

Cherish Duncan, Salmon: 200 (6th), 800 (6th)

Katie Jo Gebhardt, Salmon: 800 (5th), 1,600 (5th), 3,200 (6th)

Kylie Peets, Salmon: 100 hurdles (4th), high jump (3rd)

Salmon girls medley relay (1st)

Madelynn Beyeler, Salmon: shot put (2nd); discus (1st)

Eve Garrett, Salmon: shot put (5th), discus (3rd)

Madison Atlas, Salmon: pole vault (2nd)

Carli Smith, Salmon: pole vault (4th)

Garrett Jones, Salmon: discus (6th)

Salmon boys 4×100 (4th)

Hunter Tarkalson, Salmon: 110 hurdles (4th)

Andy Gebhardt, Salmon: 800 (4th), 1,600 (2nd), 3,200 (3rd),

Ethan Aldous, Salmon: 400 (5th)

MaKenzie Martindale, North Fremont: 100 hurdles (2nd); 300 hurdles (1st)

Alexa Nedrow, North Fremont: 100 hurdles (6th); 300 hurdles (5th)

North Fremont girls 4×200 (5th)

North Fremont girls 4×400 (2nd)

Chelsie Roseberry, North Fremont: discus (4th)

Stockton Dye, North Fremont: triple jump (5th)

Garrett Hawkes, North Fremont: 110 hurdles (1st), 300 hurdles (2nd), triple jump (6th), high jump (3rd)

Sawyer Dye, North Fremont: long jump (4th), 100 (4th)

North Fremont boys 4×400 (4th)

North Fremont boys 4×200 (4th)

Jordi Holdaway, West Jefferson: 200 (1st); 300 hurdles (3rd)

West Jefferson girls 4×100 (1st)

West Jefferson girls 4×200 (1st)

Allie Severe, West Jefferson: 800 (1st), 1,600 (2nd), 3,200 (2nd)

Sage Wood, West Jefferson: 400 (6th)

Braxton Ramirez, West Jefferson: 300 hurdles (4th), 110 hurdles (3rd)

Damon Folkman, Firth: long jump (1st), high jump (1st), triple jump (2nd)

Kiley Smith, Firth: 200 (5th)

Jaylyn McKinnon, Firth: 400 (3rd)

Rachel Gemar, Firth: 400 (5th)

Firth girls 4×400 (6th)

Firth girls medley relay (2nd)

Kaitlyn Wanstrom, Firth: shot put (6th)

Kellie Tucker, Firth: long jump (4th)

Allie Butler, Firth: triple jump (4th)

Kazel Webb, Ririe: 800 (2nd)

Eden Griffith, Ririe: 1,600 (4th), 3,200 (4th)

Erith Hayes, Ririe: high jump (5th)

Cassidy Griffith, Ririe: pole vault (3rd)

Chase Yearsley, Ririe: shot put (2nd)

Class 1A

Abigail Yadon, Watersprings: 100 (1st); 200 (2nd); long jump (2nd)

Macy Hansen, Butte County: 3,200 (6th)

Meg Buxton, Butte County: shot put (2nd), discus (2nd)

Aaron Mays, Butte County: shot put (1st), discus (1st)

Kalib Hawley, Butte County: shot put (5th)

Landen Gamett, Butte County: discus (3rd)

Butte County boys 4×200 (4th)

Alayna Smith, Mackay: high jump (2nd)

Matthew Murdock, Clark County: triple jump (4th); long jump (5th)

Jayden Olson, Challis: 200 (2nd); pole vault (1st)

Jakob Plummer, Challis: pole vault (4th)

William Ashley, Challis: 100 (1st); 400 (6th)

Challis boys 4×100 (1st)

Challis boys 4×400 (3rd)

Challis girls 4×100 (3rd)

Challis girls 4×200 (3rd)

Joanna Campbell, Challis: pole vault (2nd)

Keaton Kikuyama, Challis: 400 (6th); triple jump (2nd)

Naomi Foster, Challis: discus (3rd)

Wyatt Naillon, Challis: discus (5th)

Parker May, Challis: 800 (6th)

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