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State weekend: Home stretch for track

Skyline’s Zedekiah Davis and North Fremont’s Garrett Hawkes compete in the 110 hurdles finals at the 45th annual Tiger-Grizz Invitational track meet at Ravsten Stadium on April 28. Hawkes eked out the win–15.26 to Davis’s 15.27 John Roark/ jroark@postregister.com

By MARLOWE HEREFORD
mhereford@postregister.com

The third week in May has arrived, a week Idaho high school track athletes have looked forward to for at least two months.

The opportunity for medals, individual and team titles, personal, school and/or state records awaits at this weekend’s state track championships at Dona Larsen Park and Middleton High School.

Here are the storylines, athletes and teams to follow.

Class 5A

Win streaks and elusive gold medals are on the line this weekend for some local 5A athletes.

Rigby will be well represented after sweeping 5A District 5-6 titles last week. Sophomore Brooklyn Taylor, defending 5A state runner-up in 100 hurdles, enters state with the fastest 5A time in the event this season (15.13) and coming off three gold medals at districts. She will also compete in 300 hurdles and the 4×400, which she anchored last week to its first district title since Rigby’s school record and 4A state champion 2013 team. Returning pole vault state qualifiers Aubrey Scott and Emma Shippen will also compete in the 4×200, which won districts last week, and Scott will compete in the 100. In the top 10 in Idaho’s all-classification rankings in long jump and triple jump, Janet Schley is a medal contender in both events. Two-time state shot put medalist Mateya Mobley, who swept last week’s district throwing event titles, enters this weekend undefeated thus far this season in shot put and with Idaho’s No. 2 best all-classification mark.

For the Rigby boys, thrower Nathan Franz returns for his third state tournament with Idaho’s No. 7 all-classification mark in shot put. He is joined by teammate Tane Togiai, who has the No. 8 mark and qualified for his first state meet upon winning the 5A District 5-6 shot put. Michael Kinsy enters this weekend tied for No. 1 in Idaho’s all-classification rankings for triple jump and will also compete in long jump. Hunter Jensen will compete in long jump, in which he has Idaho’s No. 2 all-classification ranking, and pole vault. Kinsy and Jensen also qualified for state in the 4×100. Rigby sends two girls relays and three boys relays to state.

Madison junior Rayven Nealey is pursuing a repeat 5A state title in girls triple jump and enters this weekend with the top mark in the state for any classification: 39 feet, nine inches, which is also tied for No. 57 in the U.S. per athletic.net. Nealey has not lost in triple jump since the end of the 2016 season. She will also compete in long jump and the 4×100-meter relay this weekend.

Rachel Morrin (3,200, 1,600, 800) leads a crop of strong Madison girls distance runners at state. A BYU commit, Morrin swept the distance titles at last week’s 5A District 5-6 championships, ran a personal best of 11:02.17 in the 3,200 earlier this month at the BYU Invitational and said she hopes to break the 11-minute barrier this weekend.

Madison senior Blake Moseley, who has a personal best 10.8 for the 100, will compete in the four events he took gold in at districts: 100, 200, 4×100 and 4×200. Madison’s 4×100 owns the No. 4 fastest time among all classifications while the 4×200 has the No. 2 fastest all-classification time. The Bobcats send two girls relays and two boys relays to state.

Hillcrest senior Ara Omotowa makes her third state meet appearance and will compete in the 100 and 200. The defending 5A state 100 champion, Omotowa repeated as district champion in the 100 and 200 and is in the top 10 of Idaho’s all-classification rankings for both. Hillcrest also qualified two girls relays for state.

Bonneville sophomore Stetson Moss, who medaled in the 3,200 and 1,600 last year, qualified in both events this year upon claiming district titles in both. He enters this weekend with Idaho’s No. 7 all-classification 3,200 time. Another state-ranked Bonneville athlete competing this weekend is junior Sade Williams, who qualified in the 100, 200 and 4×100 and is making her third state meet appearance.

Class 4A

Several District 6 4A athletes have opportunities to win multiple medals—and perhaps multiple titles—this weekend.

Skyline, which swept 4A District 5-6 titles last week, has several medal contenders. Junior Breanne Herrmann, who owns Idaho’s No. 4 all-classification time of 45.13, will compete in the 400, the sprint medley relay and the 300 hurdles. Freshman Sariah Harrison, district champion in the 1,600 and 3,200, will compete in all three distance events and enters this weekend with 4A’s No. 2 time in the 3,200 and No. 7 in the 1,600. Senior Daniel Helsley, defending state champion in both throwing events, owns Idaho’s top marks for all classifications in both events and senior long jumper Spencer Harding enters this weekend with the No. 7 all-classification mark.

Idaho Falls’ Laurel Taylor makes her third state meet appearance, this time in four events: 100, 200, 4×100 and 4×200. She won gold in all four at districts and enters this weekend with Idaho’s No. 2 fastest all-classification (and No. 1 in 4A) 100 time and No. 6 fastest all-classification (No. 2 in 4A) 200 time. Teammate Katie Montgomery, also making her third state meet appearance, will compete in high jump, long jump and triple jump after winning district titles in all three. Montgomery is No. 2 in Idaho’s all-classification rankings for high jump, No. 9 for long jump, tied for No. 3 in triple jump, leads 4A in high jump and long jump and is tied for 4A’s top mark in triple. Zach Erikson also returns to state for the Tigers in all three distance events after medaling in all three last year. He enters this weekend with Idaho’s No. 2 fastest (and 4A No. 1) 3,200 time.

Blackfoot’s Derek Thomas is pursuing history in his fourth state meet appearance. The senior, who owns Idaho’s No. 4 fastest all-classification time in the 800 and will also compete in the sprint medley relay, is looking to win his third consecutive 4A boys 800 title. The last athlete—and only one on record—to do so was Twin Falls’ Erik Harris from 2010 to 2012.

Class 3A

Like 3A state cross-country, 3A state track has provided much hardware and banners for local teams in the last decade.

That trend is likely to continue this weekend. Defending 3A boys state champion Sugar-Salem is loaded—and has Idaho’s top 3A times—in the distance events with with returning medalists Taylor Hill (800, 1,600), Brennan Anderson (3,200, 1,600) and Kooper Williams (3,200, 1,600, 800). The Diggers also own 3A’s top time in the 4×200, which qualified for state along with the 4×400 and sprint medley relay. Sugar-Salem also has state ranked Hadley Miller (long jump, triple jump) and Ace Christensen (pole vault) leading the charge in field events. There are also several contenders for Sugar’s defending 3A state champion girls: returning medalist Sarenady Price (1,600, 3,200), returning medalist and owner of 3A’s No. 1 discus mark Celina Adams (shot put, discus), defending high jump champion Jade Jackson (also qualified in both hurdles) and defending 100 hurdles state champion Jenna Johansen, who advanced to state in the event with three of her teammates. The Diggers qualified three boys relays and two girls relays for state.

Shelley should be in the trophy mix this weekend as well, especially after finishing four points back of Sugar on the girls side at districts. Karlie Callahan (1,600, 3,200) owns 3A’s No. 1 times in both her events and fellow returning medalist Eden Anderson will compete in four events: long jump, triple jump, 4×100 (3A No. 1 time) and 4×200 (3A No.1 time). The Russets also have medal contenders in Amy White (200, 4×100, 4×200) and Avery Downs (300 hurdles, 4×100, 4×200). Leading the Shelley boys is two-time defending high jump state champion Ty Wright, who will also compete in long jump and 110 hurdles, and Mason Price, who will compete in the 100, 200 and 4×100. Shelley sends two girls relays and one boys relay to state.

Leading the charge for South Fremont is Nick Hammond (110 hurdles, 300 hurdles, triple jump), Edwin Smith (shot put, discus), Carly Hikida (100, 200, 4×100), Abbie Gould (100, 4×100) and Leisl Christensen (300 hurdles, 4×100).

Teton’s Kira Wise is gunning for a repeat state title in the 400 this weekend and will also compete in the 200 while teammate Jeremiah Otto leads the boys as he competes in the 400, 300 hurdles and 4×400. Teton qualified two boys relays for state.

Abby Morgan (shot put, discus) and Lorenzo High (800, 1,600, medley relay) are Snake River’s top contenders.

Class 2A

Salmon made history last year with a program-first girls track state championship, and more history could be in the works this weekend.

Salmon returns nearly everyone from last year and has depth to boot. Defending discus state champion Madelyn Beyeler will compete in both throwing events as will Eve Garrett, two-time state medalist Katie Jo Gebhardt competes in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 and Madison Atlas leads three Salmon girls in pole vault. Salmon qualified its medley relay for state.

The Salmon boys are also deep. Look for Andy Gebhardt (800, 1,600, 3,200, medley relay), Ethan Aldous (400, 100, 4×400, medley relay), and Hunter Tarkalson (pole vault, medley relay, 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles) to pile up points.

West Jefferson, which took districts last week by 16 points over Salmon, will challenge its conference comrade in the team title race. Jordi Holdaway, who scored 40 points last weekend and owns Idaho’s No. 11 all-classification 100 hurdles time, competes in both hurdles events and will anchor the defending state champion 4×100 and 4×200 teams while defending 800 state champion Allie Severe returns to state in all three distance events. Anticipate points from Holdaway’s and Severe’s relay teammates Mckenzie Sermon (100, triple jump), Audrey McDonald (long jump), Sage Wood (200, pole vault) and Malaika Rogers (100, 200) as well.

North Fremont’s Garrett Hawkes (high jump, triple jump, 300 hurdles, defending 110 hurdles state champ) could be a four-time medalist. Teammate Alexa Nedrow (100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, 4×200, 4×400) leads the Huskies’ girls medal contentions.

Leading Firth is Jaylyn McKinnon (200, 400, 4×400, discus), Cassi Robbins (400, high jump, 4×400), Abby Schiess (triple jump, 4×400, medley relay) Wyatt Jenkins (100, 200, 4×100) Zeb Johnson (200, 400, 4×100) and Connor Berrett (long jump, 4×100, 4×400). Trey Yearsley (shot put, discus, long jump), Nathan Tanner (pole vault), Kazel Webb (800) and Sara Boone (800, 1,600) are Ririe’s top contenders.

Class 1A

Several local returning medalists are back for more this weekend in 1A.

Three of them—William Ashley (100, 200, 400, medley relay), Keaton Kikuyama (400, triple jump, long jump), Joanna Campbell (300 hurdles, pole vault, triple jump)—will lead the way for Challis.

Butte County’s girls will be led by state meet veteran Meg Buxton (shot put, discus) and freshman Natalya Babcock (800, 1,600, 3,200) while Kalib Hawley (shot put), Keyan Cummins (100, 200, 4×200) and Bridger Hansen (400, 4×200) will lead the boys’ medal contenders.

Making her state track debut in multiple events for Watersprings is Aria Line (100, 200, 4×100) while Riley Moore (triple jump, 100 hurdles) and Alayna Smith (high jump) lead Mackay’s medal contentions.

Field athletes Carter Eddins (high jump) and Matthew Murdock (triple jump, long jump) are contenders for Clark County while Paige Ramsey (shot put) is Leadore’s lone representative.

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