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2023 Idaho High School Track and Field State Meet Preview
Sizzling Idaho state track championships lie ahead
Published: 5/19/2023 12:20:35 AM
Marlowe Hereford
Contributing Writer
 

This weekend's Idaho high school track and field state championships could be as sizzling as the 90-degree temperatures forecasted throughout the Treasure Valley for both days of competition.

A number of athletes have already attained all-time Idaho best marks and are in pursuit of state meet records while numerous others are back to defend their event titles.

Here is a look at the storylines, athletes and teams to follow this weekend at the 5A/4A state meet at Mountain View High School and 3A/2A/1A state meet at Middleton High School.


CLASS 5A


All eyes will be on the six-time defending 5A state champion Rocky Mountain boys and the two-time defending 5A state champion Boise girls this weekend.


How the rest of the trophies are determined remains to be seen.

After his boys repeated as 5A District 5-6 champions, Rigby head coach James Parrish shared his thoughts on the 5A state meet and how close it could be. Last season, Rigby claimed its first 5A state track trophy by placing third on the girls side and fell just shy of the trophies on the boys side with fifth place.


"Boys 5A top four, it could be four to five points between first and fourth," Parrish said. "Girls, everyone is going after Boise."


Returning event champions for the Rocky Mountain boys include senior Tyler Sainsbury (1,600) and the boys 4x800 and 4x100 meter relay teams. Sainsbury, a BYU commit, has the No. 7 1,600 time in the U.S. this season (4:04.91). That time is No. 2 all-time ever recorded in Idaho to Rocky Mountain graduate Michael Slagowski's 4:03.97 from 2016, and Idaho's all-classification meet record is 4:07.90 set by Borah's Nathan Green in 2021. Sainsbury will also compete in the 800, bringing with him a No. 8 Idaho all-time best of 1:52.90, and he and teammate Landon Heemeyer, a junior, will compete in all three 5A boys distance event finals. Heemeyer's 3,200 personal best of 8:59.57 is No. 5 all-time best in Idaho. The all-classification state meet record is 8:53.47 from 2021 by Green.


The Boise girls are back to defend their state titles in the 4x400 and 4x800 relays, the latter of which they own the all-classification state meet record of 9:09.65 from 2021. They also enter this weekend with the two fastest 800 girls this season in Lydia Nance (2:14.47) and Allie Bruce (2:14.64). Their teammate Logan Smith, now playing soccer for Stanford, won the event last season in an all-time Idaho best and all-classification state meet record of 2:09.07.

Boise's Seth Nelson returns to defend his 5A boys pole vault state title, as does the Boise boys 4x400 team. Nelson has a personal best of 16-5 this season.

Rounding out the returning boys individual champions is Mountain View's Diante' Cobb, the defending high jump state champion.

Three 5A girls athlete to watch in terms of all-classification state meet records are Rigby senior Abby Hancock, Post Falls senior Annastasia Peters and Centennial senior Eva Lowder.


A Weber State signee and the defending 5A girls 100, 200 and long jump state champion, Hancock made history along with Skyline senior Claire Petersen at last week's 5A District 5-6 and 4A District 6 championships in Idaho Falls. Hancock won the 5A District 5-6 girls 100 final in 11.86 and Petersen won the 4A District 6 girls 100 final in 11.83 in the very next race. While Idaho Falls' forecast for that day included 23 mile per hour winds, there were no wind gauges at the meet to officially determine those times as wind aided. Those two times are the fastest on record in Idaho for the girls 100, making them the first girls to ever break 11.90 in the event

Another eastern Idaho girl, Century's Matejah Mangum, is No. 3 on Idaho's all-time girls 100 list with her 11.90 from last week's 4A District 5 championships. Mangum, Petersen and Hancock teamed up with Columbia's Adie Wimer to run in the 4x200 finals at Simplot Games in February for Eastern Idaho Track Club, placing third in 1:42.81.


Mangum, Petersen and Hancock most recently faced each other at the Tiger-Grizz Invitational on April 29 in Idaho Falls, where Mangum won both the 100 and 200. Hancock placed third and second, respectively, while Petersen placed second and sixth, respectively, competing in the 200 less than 10 minutes after winning the 300 hurdles.


"It's so amazing," Hancock said after her district meet. "I wouldn't be here without great competition like Claire and Matejah."


For reference, the all-classification girls 100 state meet record is 12.02 from 2021 by Capital's
Megan Rose. Hancock and Petersen each ran 12.03 to win last year's 5A and 4A girls 100 state titles. Furthermore, Hancock's 200 personal best of 24.64 is No. 5 all-time in Idaho. In addition to the 100, 200 and long jump, Hancock also returns to state as part of Rigby's 4x100 team.


"I'm just focusing on performing my best," Hancock said after districts. "I know what I can do. My work has been paying off for me."


Peters, a Utah signee, has been on a tear as a senior. Peters did not lose to any Idaho girl last fall en route to winning the 5A girls individual cross country state title in an all-Idaho best 5k time of 16:56.1, and she is also undefeated versus Idaho competition in the 1,600 and 3,200 this spring. She enters this weekend with personal bests of 4:56.45 for the 1,600 (No. 9 all-time in Idaho) and 10:33.09 (No. 5 all-time in Idaho). Mountain View's Lexy Halladay set the all-classification 1,600 state meet record (and Idaho's all-time best) of 4:43.74 in 2019 while Skyline's Nelah Roberts set the all-classification 3,200 state meet record with her No. 3 all-time Idaho 10:30.63 at last year's state meet.


Lowder is back to defend her 5A pole vault state title. Lowder won state last year with an all-time Idaho best and all-classification state meet record of 13-9. Expect a solid competition between her and Rigby's Abbie Scott (personal best 12-3) and Boise vaulters Suzi Woodall (personal best 12-2), Michaela Gier (personal best 11-6) and Mia Nelson (personal best 11-0).


Timberline's Lauren McCall returns to defend her 5A girls 300 meter hurdles title and teammate Ashley Sandow returns to defend her girls triple jump title, while Timberline is also back to defend its girls 4x100 and 4x200 titles. McCall enters this weekend as Idaho's season leader in the 300 hurdles (43.70).


Keep an eye on Post Falls senior Capri Sims and Highland senior Ruby Jordan in girls throws. Sims has won shot put seven times this season while Jordan is undefeated in shot put this season and has won all but one meet in discus. Sims' shot put personal best of 45-6.5 leads Idaho this season, while Jordan's personal best 42-8 is No. 3. In discus, Jordan's 130-0 is No. 5 this season in Idaho while Sims' 128-1 is No. 6. Ahead of them on that discus list from 5A are Lewiston's Zoie Kessinger (138-5) at No. 2 and Borah's Maddie Romberg (131-4) at No. 4. Romberg is undefeated this season in discus. Madison's Brylee Smith is one of three Idaho girls to clear 5-4 in high jump this season.


Capital junior Victor Byaundaombe enters this weekend leading Idaho this season with his personal best 47-8.5 in triple jump, which is No. 5 all-time in Idaho. He is undefeated in the event this spring. Meridian senior Tyson Acree leads Idaho this season with his long jump personal best (and No. 7 all-time Idaho best) 23-9.


CLASS 4A


Perhaps the biggest question surrounding this weekend's state meet is how fast will Burley's Gatlin Bair run?


The junior enters this weekend with a U.S No. 2 200 meter time of 20.47 and tied for No. 4 in the U.S. with his 100 personal best of 10.15, both of which are the fastest all-time on record for an Idaho boy. He is undefeated in both events this season, including wins at the Texas Relays, Oregon Relays and the BYU Invitational. Idaho's all-classification state meet records--which are No. 2 on Idaho's all-time lists--are from 2011 by Capital's Dallas Burroughs, 10.34 and 21.06.

This will be Bair's final high school state track meet, as he plans to graduate a semester early to serve a two-year Latter Day Saints mission and then resume his athletic career playing Division I football. He shared his top five college choices on April 16 on Twitter: Nebraska, Michigan, TCU, Boise State and Oregon.


Bishop Kelly, which has won its fifth boys track state title in seven years last year, has returning event champions in Cole Miller (triple jump), Patrick Monahan (high jump) and its 4x100 team. The Knights are also loaded in the boys distance and field events, with four qualified athletes each in the 800 and 1,600, three in high jump and four in long jump.


Skyline head track coach Chase Meyer was spot on with his predictions for last year's state meet: watch out for the Pocatello girls in the team title race and look for the Blackfoot boys to challenge Bishop Kelly. Pocatello went on to win its first girls track state title since 1996, and Blackfoot placed second to the Bishop Kelly boys.


Meyer's insights for this weekend include a few more teams to watch.


"On the boys side, no one's touching Bishop Kelly," Meyer said. "It will be interesting to see how Hillcrest does. Then there's Burley with Gatlin Bair, and Ridgevue."


As for the girls side, Meyer said Century, Skyline, Twin Falls, Pocatello and Skyview could all be battling it out.


Defending team champion Pocatello returns event champions in Hailey Renzello (800) and its 4x200 team.


Two-time defending 200 champion Mangum of Century returns for her title defense, as does two-time defending pole vault state champion Tatum Edwards of Emmett and defending high jump state champion Kenna Simon of Lakeland. Mangum and Hillcrest's Leah Pebley are two of three Idaho girls high jumpers to clear 5-4 this season, and Mangum will also compete in the 100. Twin Falls' defending state champion girls 4x100 and 4x400 teams also return.


A week removed from running an all-time Idaho best 11.83 for the 100 Skyline's Claire Petersen will compete in the 100, 4x100 and both hurdles finals this weekend. She is two-time defending state champion in the 300 hurdles and in the open 100.

Petersen said she's grateful to Hancock and Mangum for not only helping to push her to be her best on the track, but also for their friendships. She added that she doesn't view her competition as opponents and believes in track athletes building each other up.


"In the big races, it's me against myself," Petersen said.

In addition to the 100, Petersen enters this weekend with Idaho's fastest time this season in the 100 hurdles (14.21). That is No. 5 all-time in Idaho and the fastest by a District 6 girl since Rigby's Elsja Mecham in 2014.


Mecham, who still owns Idaho's 4A state meet 100 hurdles record of 14.20 and shares the all-classification 300 hurdles state meet record of 42.84 with Coeur d'Alene's Morgan Struble, is a Utah State track alumni and is currently studying there for her Master's degree in sports management. Petersen has signed with Utah State.


"She's the one who recruited me," Petersen said. "I'm excited to get to work with her."


Petersen's teammate Nelah Roberts enters state as two-time defending state champion in the 1,600 and 3,200 and owner of the 4A state meet records in both events and the all-classification state meet record in the 3,200. The defending boys 1,600 and 3,200 state champion, Matt Thomas of Blackfoot, also returns for title defense. Defending 4A boys shot put state champion Tui Edwin of Skyline also returns, as does Pocatello's defending state champion medley relay team.


Ridgevue's Augustas Haynes enters this weekend with Idaho's top time this season in the 300 hurdles (38.68), while Sandpoint's Rusty Lee leads the state with his 14.18 in 110 hurdles. Bishop Kelly's Rakeem Johnson leads the state with his 177-2 in discus and Jerome's Keenan Blair has the season's top mark in shot put (58-6).


CLASS 3A


With the Bair family's move from Kimberly to Burley and consequently from 3A to 4A, numerous 3A boys events will have new champions this season.

Gatlin Bair and older brother Jaxon combined to score 76 points, break three 3A state meet records and win six events last year for Kimberly en route to a second-place team trophy.


Defending boys state champion Sugar-Salem returns numerous point scorers in Trevon Holman (100, 200), Mason Kinghorn (110 hurdles, 300 hurdles), Christian Gordon (110 hurdles, 300 hurdles), Tanner Hawkes (100, long jump), Ryan Bingham (shot put, discus), defending 800 state champion Porter Holt, who also qualified in the 400, and its defending state champion 4x100 team.


Buhl also returns its defending state champion 4x400 team.


While Sugar-Salem is favored to repeat as boys champions, the girls title could come down to single digits again this year. Defending girls team champion Fruitland returns 100 and 200 state champion Lydia Lindsey and its defending state champion 4x100 and medley relay teams. Lindsey scored 38 points last year for Fruitland, which edged Kimberly 83-78 for a program first state title.


Bonners Ferry's Asha Abubakari returns to defend her throwing event state titles, as does Kimberly's Evelyn Hollist in the 100 hurdles, Weiser in the girls 4x400 and Kimberly in the girls 4x200.


CLASS 2A


Melba won its fourth consecutive girls team title and its first boys team title last season to complete a sweep at the 2A meet, both over runner-up Soda Springs.


Key point scorers return for the Mustangs as they seek to defend their team titles. Defending triple jump champion Kendall Clark, defending 100 champion Meya Young and the defending champion 4x200 team return for the Melba girls while defending 400 champion, 110 hurdles champion and two-time defending 300 hurdles champion McKoy Richardson returns for the Melba boys. Richardson set the 2A 300 hurdles meet record last year (38.67) while Clark has Idaho's best mark this season in girls triple jump (37-2).

A wealth of returning event state champions from District 5 could make for intense team trophy races. Defending 200 champion and two-time defending 400 champion Jinettie Garbett and defending pole vault champion Tayah Gaines return for the Soda Springs girls, as does the defending champion medley relay team. Garbett's 400 personal best of 56.78 is the best in Idaho this season. Soda Springs' defending champion boys 4x200 team also returns.

Aberdeen returns its defending champion girls 4x100 team and defending boys pole vault champion Brody Beck.


Upon the graduation of Nampa Christian's Grady Mylander (now at Utah State) and the transfer of Danny Simmons from Salmon to American Fork, Utah, the 2A boys distance event titles are up for grabs this weekend.

Keep an eye on North Fremont sophomore Corbin Johnston, who has run 2A's fastest times this season in all three distance events, and older brother Zack Johnston, who also qualified in all three distance events and edged Corbin to win the 800 at last week's 2A District 6 meet. Nampa Christian does return its defending champion boys medley relay team.


Other returning defending champions are Malad's Oaklie Hebdon (girls 300 hurdles), two-time defending boys high jump champion Christian Bush of Bear Lake, two-time defending girls discus champion Lindi Kessinger of Orofino and the four-time defending champion girls 4x400 team from Firth.


CLASS 1A


Perhaps more so than any other classification, 1A has multiple returning event champions. Most of them are from districts 4 and 5, which could provide a glimpse into this weekend's team trophy battles.


Several of them are from four-time defending girls team champion Raft River: Libby Boden (100, 200, long jump), state meet record holder Heidi Harper (400) and the state meet record holding 4x200 and medley relay teams. Boden, a senior, won varsity girls long jump at the Tiger-Grizz Invitational on April 29 in Idaho Falls with 17-11.75 and has since attained a personal best of 18-3.5, and placed third in the 200 at Tiger-Grizz to two-time defending 4A state champion Matejah Mangum of Century and defending 5A state champion Abby Hancock. Point scorer Allie Black, who won her second consecutive 1A girls indvidual cross country state title last fall, returns to the state meet having swept the girls 800, 1,600 and 3,200 titles at last week's 1A District 4 championships as does Jessi Knudsen (4x200, 4x400, medley).

Grace edged Lighthouse Christian by half a point to win its first boys track title since 1958 last year, and returns its defending state champion medley relay team. Butte County swept boys and girls team titles at last week's 1A District 5-6 championships, both over Grace. Butte County's Rebel Beard returns to defend his pole vault state title, as does Mackay's Megan Moore in girls shot put, Rockland's Adelaide Wilson in the girls 800 and Rockland's Teague Matthews in boys high jump.


Kyle Christensen, who won back-to-back long jump and triple jump titles in 2A, returns for Valley, which moved to 1A this school year. Valley won the boys team title at last week's 1A District 4 championships.


Carey returns defending state champion Shayli Smith (girls 100 hurdles, high jump) and its defending boys state champion 4x200 and 4x400 teams. Oakley returns its defending champion girls 4x400 team and Addie Mitton, the defending girls high jump champion and defending champion and state meet record holder in girls pole vault. Defending boys high jump champion Chandler Jones returns for Murtaugh and defending girls 1,600 champion Anna Dixon returns for Greenleaf Friends.







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