By PAUL LAMBERT
MIDDLETON — The Firth High School girls picked up the shiniest silver trophy you’ve ever seen Saturday, finishing 0.5 points from gold at the 2A state track and field championships at Middleton High School.
Firth finished second to Nampa Christian with 71.5 points after a controversial finish in the 4x400-meter relay. Firth entered the event leading by 4.5 points, but gave up five points in the finale in a contested finish.
“You score 70 points at a state track meet, you’ve got to have a special group of kids,” Firth coach Stewart Portela said. “It’s a frustrating way to get second, but I am certainly proud of the kids.”
Firth entered Saturday with a field-best 42 points, adding to their total with a runner-up finish from Kayla Jensen in the high jump and a third-place finish from Dakota Leslie in the 800-meter run.
Many on the Firth team accepted their trophy with tears, and though frustrated, Portela didn’t miss the opportunity to celebrate an extraordinary year in Firth athletics.
“This bunch of girls has won four state trophies this year,” he said “This is my 24th year coaching at Firth, and 31st overall, and I’ve never seen a group of girls get four.”
North Fremont moved all the way to fifth in the 2A girls standings, getting wins from Hannah Brown in the 100 and 200, as well as a win by Alexa Litton in the 300 hurdles. The Huskies finished with 61 points and Salmon was seventh with 41.5.
On the boys side in 2A, Firth’s Jackson Thompson won the 400 with a late kick, adding bronze-medal finishes in the 100 and 200.
“I just had to go out and run my race,” Thompson said. “I tried to finish strong, and was able to get it when I needed it.”
Firth finished a District 6 best seventh in the team standings.
Rounding out the top-three finishers from D6 was North Fremont’s Josh Allen, who was third in the 300 hurdles.
Snake River and Shelley finished 3-4 in the girls standings, helping eastern Idaho claim three of the top four in the team competition.
Shelley freshman Paytin Drollinger fell behind early in the mile run, but pounded out the final 600 meters with a confident stride, winning the event.
“It’s hard to run a smart race like that after getting so far behind, but it feels good to be able to accomplish that,” Drollinger said. “You just can’t go out too fast and burn out the first couple laps. You have to save your kick and finish strong, and I did that.”
Shelley’s Klarissa Andersen finished second in the 800 and third in the mile, and Snake River’s Scout Baldwin won the 400 and placed third in the 200.
Shelley, Snake River and Teton finished 6-7-8 in the boys team standings, with Teton’s Thomas Knight winning the 800 and Shelley’s Austin Steward taking the mile.
Snake River’s Cole Thomas was second in that mile run, and Shelley’s David Searle was third in 800. Rounding out the top threes from the 3A District 6 boys was Teton’s Elio Radovitch, who was third in the 200.