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Going out with a bang: Seniors, underclassmen alike claim statement wins

Shelley High School’s Paytin Drollinger set a record en route to winning the 3A girls 1,600-meter run Saturday at Middleton High School. Steve Conner / steveconnerphotography.com


MIDDLETON — After crossing the finish line Saturday to win the 3A girls 1,600 state title at Middleton High School, Shelley High School senior Paytin Drollinger briefly shut her eyes and then smiled upon hearing the words “new state record.”

Her winning time of 5 minutes, 3.60 seconds set a 3A classification record and broke Shelley’s school record previously held by 2016 graduate LeAnn Larkin. Drollinger said the previous owner of the state record, 2014 Sugar-Salem graduate Olivia Redd, is one of her heroes and she’s always tried to follow her example.

“She’s someone I look up to a lot,” Drollinger said. “I had worked for that for a long time. It’s amazing to see that pay off. Just a little speechless.”

The win gave her a distance event trifecta, as she won Friday’s 3,200 in 11:10.05 and the 800 earlier Saturday in 2:18.71, and four medals for the weekend after a silver in the medley relay. Like the 1,600, her 3,200 time was a personal best and school record and her distance title sweep matched Larkin’s feat last May.

Drollinger will graduate having contributed to four state cross-country trophies (three championships) and four state track trophies and having won seven state track golds and four individual state cross-country medals (one gold). She said she is proud of all those accomplishments, but is thankful most of all.

“Growing up, I never thought I’d be a runner,” Drollinger said. “Running’s made me who I am. I hope it’s always part of my life. It’s been such a good ride. I have such a good support system. My family has made a lot of sacrifices. It’s definitely not a one-man show. ”

Also ending their high school careers in the record books of their respective schools were Firth senior Damon Folkman and North Fremont senior MaKenzie Martindale. Folkman placed second in boys triple jump (43-01) and repeated as state champion in long jump (22-10.5) and high jump (6-4), giving him three state medals for the second consecutive year. Firth’s school-record holder in all three events said there was just one downside to the weekend.

“It would’ve been nice to repeat (as champion) in all three jumps, but I’m still medaling,” Folkman said. “I’m just really competitive and don’t like to lose.”

A three-sport athlete at Firth, Folkman called Saturday bittersweet. He credited 2015 Firth graduate Dallan Bingham and outgoing Firth boys basketball coach Scott Adams as two of his biggest influences.

“Dallan, that’s all I wanted to do was beat him,” Folkman said with a smile. “Coaches like Adams, he taught me a lot of things. Learned a lot of important life lessons.”

Martindale won her first individual state track gold in her next-to-last event of her final state meet. She and Declo senior Kiersten Lancaster, who beat Martindale in the 100 hurdles earlier Saturday to repeat as event champion, lunged forward at the finish of the 300 hurdles and neither was certain who won. Martindale briefly put her hands to her face and Lancaster hugged her before they walked to the infield. Shortly after, it was announced that Martindale had won by five hundredths of a second.

“I was a little scared, but I knew that whatever happened was okay,” Martindale said of the wait for her time. “I did my best.”

Martindale graduates North Fremont as school-record holder in the 300 hurdles (44.63) and just shy of the 100 hurdles record set by 2015 graduate Alexa Litton. Martindale said Litton is like a sister to her, and she has enjoyed seeing her younger teammates get a successful start this season like she did earlier in her career.
“They’re so fun,” Martindale said. “I’m sad they’ll be growing up without me but I’m excited to watch them run.”

Close finishes galore

West Jefferson’s Jordi Holdaway edged Cole Valley’s Brooke Weimer at the finish line to win the 2A girls 200-meter dash Saturday at Middleton High School. Steve Conner / steveconnerphotography.com

Martindale was not alone in experiencing close finishes Saturday. The Challis boys 4×100-meter relay team, West Jefferson’s Jordi Holdaway and West Jefferson’s Allie Severe were all hanging in uncertainty after photo finishes of their races, and all came out on the winning end.

For the Challis quartet of Jayden Olson, Tristan Stillwaugh, Wyatt Whitmer and William Ashley, the win came by six hundredths of a second thanks to a monster anchor leg by Ashley.

“I was just thinking, ‘I’ve gotta catch up,’” Ashley said.

Holdaway, who placed fourth in the 300 hurdles finals and contributed to wins in the 4×100 and 4×200, won the girls 200 by one hundredth of a second.

“I was just hoping it was me,” Holdaway said.

Severe, a junior, was neck and neck with District 6 rival Kazel Webb, a Ririe freshman, in the final 100 meters of the 2A girls 800 and both lunged forward at the finish. She won by two hundredths of a second, and she called it redeeming after not taking the state 800 seriously as a freshman and not advancing to state in it as a sophomore.
“I was honestly just thinking, I’ve worked so hard. I didn’t want to give it up this time,” Severe said.

A Teton sweep and first state champion

Maroon and orange dominated the 3A 400 races. Teton junior Kira Wise won the girls race in a personal best 59.36, concluding a spring of top-three finishes in the event.

“I couldn’t have asked for anything else,” Wise said.

Wise was cheering in the infield for the next race as teammate Dimitri Kraus pulled away for the boys title, pumping his fists upon finishing. The senior said he would not be denied after last year’s state meet.

“I got beat last year by six tenths of a second,” Kraus said. “That was my main motivation.”

While it wasn’t an event sweep, Watersprings’ Abigail Yadon had an impressive state track debut this weekend. She won the 1A girls 100 (12.84) and placed second in the 200 (26.67) and long jump (15-9.5) to become the first state champion in any sport at her school.

“It’s crazy,” Yadon said. “I didn’t think I would make it this far.”

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