POCATELLO -- The last time Skyline's Nelah Roberts ran at the Portneuf Wellness Complex in Pocatello, the then-freshman finished by celebrating an individual and team 4A cross country state championship.

And she finished with both shoes.

That wasn't the case on Thursday as sophomore Roberts crossed the finish line at the Bob Conley Invitational in first place, with one shoe in her hand.

Just when you think you've seen everything in a race, especially one of the most competitive in eastern Idaho, there's always a twist.

"It definitely took my mind off the race," Roberts said, noting the laces on one of her new spikes came loose after about the first mile. She wasn't sure if she should kick it off or keep going, especially since she was in the lead, but Roberts endured until the final half mile and finished the race with one cleat.

A spectator picked up the wayward shoe and handed it to Roberts as she closed in on the finish line.

Roberts said the shoe incident impacted her time of 18:10.8, but it was still good enough to hold off Pocatello's Bailey Bird (18:25.9) and Thunder Ridge's Courtney Earl (18:34.5).

"I definitely felt nostalgic, thinking about the last time we ran this course we did so well … it's a really fast course and a lot can happen," Roberts said.

Defending state champion Skyline finished second to Preston by seven points, which could be a precursor to a good state meet matchup.

Roberts wasn't the only sophomore feeling nostalgic for the Pocatello course.

Idaho Falls' Luke Athay, who helped the Tigers win a 5A state title last season as a freshman, won the Boys Varsity A race on Thursday.

"I remember at state it was really fun and I had a good finish," Athay said, joking he finally realized he had a good kick.

He finished in 15:05.0 on Thursday to outdistance Salmon's Daniel Simmons (15:16.3) and Rigby's Benjamin Ricks (15:38.4). Simmons, who will be a state title contender in 2A, ran as an individual on Thursday.

Idaho Falls won the boys team title with 46 points and held off Preston, which finished ahead of the Tigers at the Tiger-Grizz meet.

Athay said he feels he's running well as teams gear up for the state meet.

"I was worried that I wouldn't show very much growth from last year, but that hasn't been the case," Athay said. "I have gotten better and my teammates have too, so we're all excited and getting ready for state. It's going to be a battle to go out there and have a good race."

The Varsity A races were for teams in 5A and 4A. The Varsity B races featured competitors from 3A, 2A and 1A.

Sugar-Salem, keeping with the theme of running well at the Portneuf Wellness Complex, won the boys and girls team titles despite not having an individual champion. The Diggers swept the 3A state meet last year.

West Jefferson's Hyrum Spencer ran 16:18.1 to finish second and North Fremont's Corbin Johnston (fourth), Zack Johnston (fifth), and Max Palmer (eighth) paced the Huskies to a third-place team finish.

Brigham Dalling was the top Sugar-Salem finisher at sixth place in16:37.7.

South Fremont's Cecily Eagleton was the top District 6 finisher in the girls' race, placing fifth.

The state championships are Oct. 29 (5A, 4A) and Oct. 30 (3A, 2A, 1A) at Eagle Island State Park in Eagle.

Bob Conley Invitational

Portneuf Wellness Complex, Pocatello

5K

Full results at athletic.net

Boys Varsity A

Teams: 1. Idaho Falls 46 2. Preston 67 3. Rigby 97 4. Madison 109 5. Thunder Ridge 135 6. Skyline 154 7. Pocatello 166 8. Highland 180 9. Ridgevue 238 10. Century 261 11. Shelley 313 12. Canyon Ridge 337 13. Hillcrest 338 14. Bonneville 363.

Individuals

1. Luke Athay 15:05.0, Idaho Falls

2. Daniel Simmons15:16.3, Salmon

3. Benjamin Ricks 15:38.4, Rigby

4. Edison Leffler 15:43.8, Preston

5. Sunny Gunn 15:50.2, Pocatello

6. Ryan Stutz 15:52.3, Madison

7. Cooper Andrews 15:52.4,Thunder Ridge

8. Garrett Hale 16:04.1, Preston

9. Jaiden Liddle 16:05.9, Idaho Falls

10. Seth Bingham 16:14.4, Thunder Ridge

Boys Varsity B

Teams: 1. Sugar-Salem 63 2. Snake River 82 3. North Fremont 112 4. Salmon 150 5. West Side 153 6. South Fremont 153 7. Rockland 182 8. Teton 225 9. Parma 252 10. Bear Lake 264 11. Malad 296 12. Oakley 302 13. Firth 356 14. Butte County 380 15. Marsh Valley 388 16. American Falls 427 17. Filer 433.

Individuals

1. Keegan McCraw 16:16.4, Snake River

2. Hyrum Spencer 16:18.1, West Jefferson

3. Lincoln High 16:23.7, Snake River

4. Corbin Johnston 16:25.6, North Fremont

5. Zack Johnston 16:31.0, North Fremont

6. Brigham Dalling 16:37.7, Sugar-Salem

7. Ezra Hubbard16:53.2, Rockland

8. Max Palmer 17:01.0, North Fremont

9. Leo Magana 17:01.1, Oakley

10. Porter Holt 17:04.3, Sugar-Salem

Girls Varsity A

Teams: 1. Preston 68 2. Skyline 75 3. Pocatello 113 4. Thunder Ridge 117 5. Idaho Falls 128 6. Highland 132 7. Madison 175 8. Century 233 9. Rigby 249 10. Ridgevue 271 11. Bonneville 271 12. Canyon Ridge 303 13. Hillcrest 357.

Individuals

1. Nelah Roberts 18:10.8 Skyline

2. Bailey Bird 18:25.9, Pocatello

3. Courtney Earl 18:34.5, Thunder Ridge

4. Alexia Corona 18:55.3, Ridgevue

5. McKinley Scott 18:58.1, Preston

6. Kennedy Kunz 19:05.3, Bonneville

7. Angelie Scott 19:08.7, Preston

8. Hailey Renzello 19:11.4, Pocatello

9. Elanor Eddington 19:15.7, Idaho Falls

10. Jessica Moss 19:18.3, Thunder Ridge

Girls Varsity B

Teams: 1. Sugar-Salem 103 2. Malad 107 3. Snake River 109 4. Bear Lake 131 5. Salmon 155 6. West Side 160 7. South Fremont 172 8. Raft River 176 9. Teton 206 10. Parma 229 11. Filer 272 12. Marsh Valley 285 13. Firth 331 14. North Fremont 357 15. Castleford 412.

Individuals

1. Allie Black 19:23.9, Raft River

2. Johanna Ebert 19:34.5, West Side

3. Elise Kelsey 19:35.9, Bear Lake

4. Aubrie Barzee 19:36.1, West Side

5. Cecily Eagleton 19:42.0, South Fremont

6. Kamber Smith 19:50.6, Rockland

7. Maya Kelsey 19:53.3, Filer

8. Jaresa Jackson 19:58.1, Sugar-Salem

9. Ryley Klingler 20:05.1, Sugar-Salem

10. Kinsee Hansen 20:06.0, Bear Lake

Allan Steele is Sports Editor of the Post Register. Reach him at 208 542-6772 and follow on Twitter at asteele12000

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