Three years ago, when his football team was chasing a state championship, Skyline coach Chase Meyer felt the tension building. The Grizzlies knew they were good. Nobody wanted to acknowledge how good.
“It was the elephant in the room,” said Meyer, the team’s receivers coach.
Finally, right as the season was getting ready to kick off, Meyer decided to turn the idea on its head. It was time to acknowledge the expectations that nobody seemed comfortable vocalizing.
“Hey, look. Let’s talk about it,” Meyer told the team. “This is our goal. We know we can do it. We know we can be up there. Now, it’s about executing. It’s about doing what we can do to make sure that happens.”
The anecdote bears revisiting because Meyer is also Skyline’s head track and field coach, and this year, he feels similarities between the seasons. Several of his athletes rank high in the state in their events. In years past, he didn’t feel comfortable making them aware. Now, he welcomes the opportunity.
Skyline didn’t win Friday’s Bonneville invite, finishing second on both the boys (127 points) and girls (156.75) sides to Twin Falls, but the good news for the Grizzlies is twofold: They’re beginning to peak at the right time, and they have the athletes to get there.
Junior Mattie Olson, who ranks fifth in the state in the girls long jump, won Friday’s event, leaping for a mark of 15-05.50. Sophomore Claire Petersen, who leads the state in the 100-meter hurdles, also won her event with a time of 15.16 seconds. Even freshman Nelah Roberts, the 4A state cross country champion who ranks eighth state-wide in the 3200, won Friday’s event handily, clocking in at a personal-best 11:16.39.
The list doesn’t stop there, either. Abrahn Silverio, who ranks ninth in the state in the 300-meter hurdles, set a personal record and won Friday’s event with a time of 42.01 seconds. Plus, sophomore Tui Edwin ranks 12th state-wide in the shot put and 13th in discus. On Friday, he won both events, the discus with a 141-08 mark, and the shot put with a personal-record 49-05.00.
Here is where Meyer has changed his mind. He doesn’t want to hide anything from his athletes, especially when the information is available to them.
“Nowadays, with technology, everybody can get on athletic.net. Everybody can see where they’re at,” Meyer said. “So I think it’s better to embrace it and talk about it and see where we’re at, see what other people are doing.”
It comes with a catch, though.
“But focus on us, still,” Meyer added. “It’s like, look, you still have to run the races, you still have to go out and do your jumps. The best kid on any given day may not be the one with the best time coming in, or the best distance coming in. You still have to go out there and compete.”
All things considered, it’s an interesting balance to strike. The Grizzlies want to do their best, which they hope will stack up against the best in the state, but they don’t want to fall into the trap of comparison. They’d rather stay focused on themselves.
Take it from Olson, who says she checks in occasionally — “just to push myself,” she says. She knew she ranked second in the state in the long jump headed into Friday’s meet. Still, it isn’t her priority.
“For me, it’s just (about) having fun,” Olson said. “I don’t think I would do as good as I did if I wasn’t having fun. Just put the stress behind you. Don’t think about that too much. Track’s a secondary sport for me, so I just have fun.”
Even so, Olson remains serious about competing. The whole team does, really. There’s a reason why they feature several athletes who rank so highly in the state.
“That’s one of the things about both our boys and girls," Meyer said. "We’re young as a team on both sides, but they’re all competitors. They all like to compete. I think that’s the best strength of our program right now — these kids who want to come out and perform. They’re not afraid to go after it.”
For full results check athletic.net
Teams: 1. Twin Falls 132 2. Skyline 127 3. Madison 123 4. Thunder Ridge 105 5. Idaho Falls 92 6. Hillcrest 58 7. Bonneville 42.
Teams: 1. Twin Falls 159 2. Skyline 156.75 3. Madison 130 4. Idaho Falls 5. Bonneville 59.5 6. Thunder Ridge 56.25 7. Hillcrest 30.5 8. West Side 5.