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What Could Have Been for the 2020 Track and Field Season
With spring sports on the brink, here's how track athletes across the state were expected to perform this season
Published: 4/9/2020 2:14:02 PM

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2020 marked an historic year in Idaho high school sports.

As spread of the novel coronavirus promptly shut down all spring athletics, athletes across the state were left wondering if they would ever see competition again. 

And while the return of track and field, among other spring sports, looks potentially out of reach, plenty of athletes were ready to take home gold for their prospective schools.

5A Girls Track and Field

Out of the top girls teams at the 2019 state meet, Eagle — last year’s champion — and third-place Mountain View appeared to be in position for another strong run.

Mustang senior Ashley LaJocies placed second in the 3,200 and third in the 1,600 last year. Having her back, along with junior Lizzie Dildine, gives the Mustangs a solid one-two punch in the distances. 

Both LaJocies and Dildine started this season strongly with outstanding performances at the Centennial vs. Eagle dual meet held March 13, posting times of 5:11 and 5:13 respectively in the 1600.

Mountain View began 2020 with a core of top athletes back to build upon last season, led by junior triple gold-medal winner Lexy Halladay. Halladay won the 800, 1600 and 3200 at last year’s state championship. 

Sophomore Brooklyn Lowry in the 1600 and junior Brooklynne Erickson in the 800 both placed high at state and added strength in the distances for the Mavs. Reaffirming that strength was the girls’ performance at the March 13 dual with Rocky Mountain, where both Lowry and Erickson were defeated by Eagle's Morgan French, who ran PR’s in the 800 and 1600.

The Rocky Mountain Grizzlies appeared ready to compete in the field events this season, as they returned several of last year’s state medal winners, starting with senior Kinsey Langine, defending pole vault champion. Langine started the current season by placing first in the pole vault at the Mountain View dual meet.

Returning medalists in the shot put, junior Sarah Carillo (2nd) and senior Regan Fillmore (3rd), along with senior Nicole Gieser, fourth in the long jump, looked to make Rocky Mountain a state contender this year. Nicole won her specialty at the recent dual meet, jumping 14’-9.5”.

5A Boys Track and Field

Rocky Mountain boys lost three of the top 1600- and 3200-meter runners in the state to graduation. However, the Grizzlies returned a ton of talent in the field events.

Discus gold-medal winner Gerritt Tamminga won the silver medal in the shot put at state and returned for his senior season before the shutdown. At the March 13 meet this season, Tamminga won the shot put with a PR toss of 54’-6”. Junior teammate Jarell Lucas was a close second at 52’, also his PR. In the discus at that meet, Jarell flipped the script, cutting loose with a PR toss of 158’-7” and Gerritt second at 152’7”. 

Senior Spencer Price returned to improve upon his second-place state finish in the triple jump. At last month’s dual meet, Spencer jumped 44’-9” to win the triple jump.

Borah possessed enough returning state-medal winners to be an odds-on favorite to improve on last year’s fourth-place finish at state. 
Junior Nathan Green is the defending state champion in the 1600 and 3200 and finished second in the 800. Borah also returned three-fourths of its state champion 4x400 relay.

4A Girls Track and Field

Returning triple gold-medal winner Mattalyn Geddes was just one reason why Twin Falls girls were a preseason favorite. The senior distance ace won the 800, 1600, and 3200 at state in 2019. At the March 12 Twin Falls Quad, Geddes kicked off this season by sweeping all three distance races in fine fashion. 

Another individual state champion for the Bruins is last year’s triple jump winner Sidnee Naerebout, also a senior. Naerebout won the triple jump at the recent Twin Falls Meet.

Skyline girls’ returning talent is spread out over a variety of events. In the distances, junior Sariah Harrison is back after finishing runner-up to Twins Falls’ Mattalyn Geddes in both the 1600 and 3200. Harrison also ran fourth at state in the 800. 

Macy Olson, now a senior, placed fifth for Skyline at state in both hurdle races. At the March 12 Canyon Ridge Quad, Macy won the 300 hurdles and placed second in the 100 hurdles.

Skyline is also loaded in the relays again this season, starting with its defending state champion 800 sprint medley, which has three-fourths of its members returning. 

Pocatello girls placed fifth at state last year and returned several medal winners, starting with senior Madi Zink, who won gold medals in both hurdle races. Other prospects who graced the awards podium at state last year for the Indians are seniors Hailey Roubidoux, fifth in the triple jump, and Adison Spillett, sixth in the 400. 

Pocatello coach Richard Call called the girls’ situation “a rebuilding time” and their performance at the Twin Falls Quad in March showed signs of obvious potential.

4A Boys Track and Field

Senior Dallin Bird was a sure bet to be a major point scorer for the Pocatello Indians. At state, Bird was the 1600 champion, ran second in the 3200 and fourth in the 800.

“We expect him to return and defend his state performances from last year,” said Indian head coach Richard Call before the start of the season. 

At the Twin Falls Quad, Pocatello’s Shane Gard and Dallin Bird placed first and third respectively in the 3200, but Twin Falls’ junior Payson Bingham, who finished 10th at last year’s state meet, was second, a possible preview of some exciting distance races.

Bishop Kelly featured outstanding sophomore sprinter James Onanubosi who placed second in both the 100 and 200 at the state meet last year. At this season’s Middleton Track Meet March 12, James’ sophomore teammate Cormac Mullin, with a PR of 10.52, won the 100 with Onanubosi in second.

Also at the Middleton Meet, sophomores Tyler Mesaros and Daniel Russell won the 800 and 1600, respectively, indicating young talent in the distances, while freshman Cole Miller won the high jump at 5’ 10”.

A boys team poised to make a significant jump in the standings this season based on returning talent were the Jerome Tigers. Senior Stockton Lott returned as defending state champion in both the long jump and triple jump. Lott also broke the school record in the triple jump last year. 

According to Jerome boys head coach Aaron Jackson, junior Taeo Schneider is a proven top-notch sprinter, winning third and fourth-place 2019 state meet medals in the 200 and 100, respectively. Jacob Van Orden is back after a sixth-place finish in the 800 as a freshman. Jackson said senior Kobe Yost, who placed fifth last fall at state cross country, is ready for a breakout track season in the distances. 

3A Girls Track and Field

Sugar-Salem girls team finished third a year ago and looked to improve on that finish, according to head coach Brent Hill.

The defending state champion Kimberly girls team ed by the senior Walker sisters. Meg Walker placed high at state last year in the 100 hurdles and open 400, while Annie Walker excelled in the 300 hurdles and relays. Meg started this season by winning both of her events at the Spring Opener.

3A Boys Track and Field

Sugar-Salem boys track team scored a rare three-peat at the 2019 state track meet.

 “The boys team is very loaded with senior athletes and looks to repeat as state champs,” said coach Brett Hill.  

Senior Hadley Miller is one reason for Hill’s optimism. Along with placing in four events at the state track meet last year, Hadley also played a key role in state football and basketball championships this year.

Other seniors who provided leadership for Hill’s squad include Jesse Fogle who placed second in both hurdle events at state, Braxton Ostemiller in the open 400and relay standout, Kaysen Klingler, state runner-up in the 800m, Parker Galbraith, Sam Howard and McKay Schulties.

Kimberly senior Peyton Bair, who Sugar-Salem coach Brett Hill called “Probably the best track athlete in Idaho,” led the charge for the Kimberly boys, who earned a second-place state trophy last season. Peyton won triple gold last year in both hurdles and the long jump. Early this season at the Kimberly Spring Opener, Bair won the 400 with an impressive PR 49.76 and the long jump at 21’-10”. 

Jaxson Bair won the pole vault at the 2019 state meet as a freshman and is an outstanding all-around athlete for the Bulldogs. At the Spring Opener March 12, Bair placed second in the long jump with a PR 21’-5” and won the pole vault at 12’-6”.

2A Girls Track and Field

Two-time defending girls state champion Melba Mustangs were stocked with enough talent to push for another title, according to head coach Vonnie Willis.

“I’m extremely optimistic about this season. We have great numbers out this year, and we continue to grow.  On the girls side, we are returning two-time state champs. We have many young and talented athletes and great depth in all the jumps.  I can’t wait to see what this season holds,” Willis said.

Senior Jordan Dayley placed second in the 300 hurdles and fourth in the 100 hurdles at state. At the March 11 Melba Icebreaker, Dayley won both the 100 and 300 hurdles.

Junior Kate Clark placed fifth at state in the triple jump. Those two, along with a pack of promising freshmen, including Kendall Clark who placed first in three events at this year’s inaugural meet and Rozzlyn Cazier, winner of both distance races, made the Melba girls team a strong contender to defend its title.

On the eastern side of the state, the Firth girls team appeared set to make a strong move this season with several returning standouts.

Coach Bob Lambert pointed to senior leadership from Kaydee Park, winner of four state track medals in her career, including gold last season as a member of Firth’s back-to-back state champion 4x400 relay team. Park was also a member of Firth’s state championship volleyball team this past fall.

Between cross country and track, junior Cassi Robbins has won eight state medals in her freshman and sophomore years alone, with state title in the 400 and a member of the champion 4x400 relay marking an impressive resume.

2A Boys Track and Field

On the Firth boys team, senior Josh Jolley looked to move up from his third-place medal in the shot put last year, as his four nearest competitors at state all graduated.

Wyatt Matheson returned after winning the long jump, 100 dash, and the 4x100 relay at the district meet last year. Lambert expected major contributions from the senior this season.

Up north, Salmon head coach Jeremy Burgess returned four state medalists from last season on his boys team: seniors Owen Tarkalson in the pole vault, Dylan Vanderschaaf in triple jump, Andy Gebhart in both the 800 and 3200, and junior Johnathon Simmons, state champion in both the 1600 and 3200. 

Andy Gebhart impressed at the February 15 Simplot Games, running a PR 4:33.46 in the 1600.

With this quartet of state medalists, the Salmon boys team had a realistic chance of improving on last year’s fourth place trophy.

1A Girls Track and Field

Raft River head coach Randy Spaeth’s girls team was prepared to defend its back-to-back state championships with the help of distance duo of juniors Kaybree and Karlee Christensen.

Kaybree won the 3200 and 1600 at state last year with Karlee finishing close behind and medaling in both.  Karlee added to last year’s state medal harvest with a fourth-place finish in the 800 and third in the long jump.

Raft River competed at the Valley Time Trials March 12, where Karlee won both the 800 and 1600 with impressive times.

1A Boys Track and Field

The Raft River boys, who took home the fourth place trophy at state last year, were led by juniors Ryan Spaeth, defending state champion in the shot put and discus and pole vaulter Kagen Knudsen, fourth at state last year.

Ryan was very impressive at the Valley Time Trials in March, winning the discus with a toss of 128’-10” and the shot put with a PR 55’-8.25”.


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