Editor’s Note: This is part two of two of the Post Register’s preview of the annual Tiger-Grizz Invitational. Today’s story features some returning Tiger-Grizz athletes from co-host team Idaho Falls.
The annual Tiger-Grizz Invitational creates a bit of a paradox for Idaho Falls High School track athletes Laurel Taylor, Zac Bright, Mitchell Athay and Vanessa Delgadillo.
Walking distance away from the high school, Ravsten Stadium is where they spend countless hours during track season. By the last weekend of April, however, their practice venue is transformed into the setting for one of the biggest track meets in Idaho. Parking spaces become difficult to find, particularly on Friday when the meet begins before school is out, and team tents start going up in the stands and the grassy area at the corner of Tiger Avenue and 7th Street. Areas are roped off, signs are posted, entrances are marked and lines form at all of those entrances.
“It’s weird because we run on this track, we play games in the infield and then we have all these rules because it’s a big meet,” said Bright, a distance runner.
While the setting is more formal and structured, there is an advantage the Tigers have at the meet that has drawn 30-plus teams for the third consecutive year.
“You don’t have to travel,” said Taylor, a sprinter and relay runner who will compete in the varsity 100, 200, 4x100 and co-ed medley relay. “You can just walk over after school.”
“That is true,” Bright said, nodding in agreement.
The meet that transforms Idaho Falls’ practice venue into the biggest meet in eastern Idaho is also one the Tigers look forward to as co-hosts. The meet has not only drawn large numbers of teams, but from every classification of track and from multiple districts in Idaho.
“I just love how there’s always so many teams and you get to see different people from other schools,” Taylor said.
“Going to Arcadia, that’s as big as it gets, but around here, Tiger-Grizz is definitely one of the biggest,” added Athay, a distance runner who competed in the 3,200, the mile, the 1,600 and the 1,500 at the Arcadia Invitational earlier this month.
Taylor, Bright and Athay said the crowd contributes to the atmosphere of Tiger-Grizz as well, particularly during Saturday finals when the west stands are filled. Places to sit around the throwing pits can be scarce during Friday and Saturday finals as well. A thrower, Delgadillo said there is effort needed to remain calm when competing in front of significant crowds.
“I think I get in my head a little bit,” Delgadillo said. “Usually, I look at my coach. He calms me down all the time.”
Bright was one of six freshmen to compete in last year’s varsity boys 800 at Tiger-Grizz, an event in which he has produced two sub-1:58 times so far this season. He said competing in a varsity Tiger-Grizz final as a freshman has helped with his preparation this season.
“It’s helped me with my confidence and trust in my work,” Bright said. “When I’m nervous, I can say, ‘Trust the work.’”
The teammates are at different points of their high school track careers and Tiger-Grizz experiences. This is the final Tiger-Grizz for Taylor, a senior, and also her first one since her sophomore season when she repeated as varsity girls 200 champion in a tight final that produced five sub-26 second times. Taylor said it felt strange to miss last year’s meet when a club volleyball tournament occurred the same weekend, and she is hoping for top-two finishes this weekend. She enters this weekend No. 6 in the girls 100 and tied for No. 8 in the girls 200 in Idaho’s all-classification athletic.net rankings.
Athay was the lone freshman in last year’s varsity boys 1,600, placing seventh. He will compete in that event again this weekend as well as the 4x800 and is hoping for a personal best and possibly a medal.
“I want to be able to race with the top dogs,” Athay said.
Currently No. 5 in Idaho’s all-classification athletic.net rankings for the 800, Bright will also compete in the 4x800 as well as the 4x400 and the 800. Bright said he is also hoping to get a personal best in the 800, although he said he is wary of how the weather may hinder the times.
“I definitely think I can run a 1:55,” Bright said. “Shane Gard (from Pocatello), he’s gonna run it in and I think he’s going in seeded No. 1. We’ve talked about it and how we’d like to lower our times.”
Delgadillo, a junior, placed second in freshman girls shot put two years ago, 13th in varsity shot put and fourth in varsity discus last year. She is currently No. 7 in Idaho’s all-classification athletic.net rankings for girls discus and enters this weekend having won the event at every meet she’s competed in thus far this season.
“If I medal, that would be the best thing,” Delgadillo said. “I’m shooting for the school record of 126. I’m five feet off.”
Tiger-Grizz Invitational at Ravsten Stadium
Field events, 3 p.m. start time
Boys Freshman Long Jump (Girls freshman to follow)
Girls Freshman Shot Put (Pit #2), Boys freshman to follow
Boys Varsity Shot Put (Pit #1)
Girls Varsity Discus
Girls Varsity High Jump (starting height: 4-8), boys varsity to follow (starting height: 5-8)
Boys Varsity Pole Vault (starting height: 11-0)
3 p.m. Girls 3200m final (2 heats; fastest heat last)
3:30pm: Boys 3200m final (3 heats; fastest heat last)
4:15pm: 100/110m Hurdles prelims (3 freshman girls heats, 5 varsity girls heats, 2 freshman boys heat, 4 varsity boys heats)
4:45pm: 400m prelims (5 freshman girls heats, 5 freshman boys heats, 4 varsity girls heats, 6 varsity boys heats)
5:35pm: 100m prelims (6 freshmen girls heats, 5 freshmen boys heats, 5 varsity girls heats, 8 varsity boys heats)
6:20pm: 300m Hurdles prelims (5 girls heats, 5 boys heats)
6:45pm: 200m prelims (6 girls heats, 8 boys heats)
7:10pm: 4x800m final (1 girls heat, 1 boys heat)
Estimated Friday finish time: 7:40pm
Field events, 10 a.m. start time
Girls Varsity Pole Vault (starting height: 8-0)
Boys Varsity Discus
Girls Varsity Shot Put (Pit #1)
Girls Varsity Long Jump (Girls Varsity Triple Jump to follow)
Boys Varsity Long Jump (Boys Varsity Triple Jump to follow)
11:50am: Opening Ceremony
Noon: 4x200 final (Sectioned Finals: 3 girls heats, 2 boys heats)
12:25 p.m.: Varsity girls 1600m final (Sectioned Finals: 2 heats)
12:45 p.m.: Varsity boys 1600m final (Sectioned Finals: 3 heats)
1:10pm: 100/110m Hurdles final (Girls freshman, girls varsity, boys freshman, boys varsity)
1:30pm: 400m final (freshman girls, freshman boys, varsity girls, varsity boys)
1:45pm: “Miracle Mile” Exhibition 1600 (coaches & community members invited)
2 pm: 100m (freshman girls, freshman boys, varsity girls, varsity boys)
2:20pm: 800m final (Sectioned Finals: 2 girls heats, 3 boys heats)
2:45pm: 4x100 final: (One freshman girls, one freshman boys, two varsity girls, two varsity boys, one thrower girls, one thrower boys)
3:25pm: 300m Hurdles final (varsity girls, varsity boys)
3:35pm: 200m final (varsity girls, varsity boys)
3:45pm: Coaches 200m Exhibition Race (1 heat)
3:50pm: Coed Medley Relay final (Sectioned Finals: 2 heats)
4 pm: Mascot race
4:05pm: Freshman girls 1600m (Sectioned Finals: 2 heats)
4:20pm: Freshman boys 1,600m (Sectioned Finals: 3 heats)
4:40pm: 4x400 final (Sectioned Finals: 2 heats varsity girls, 2 heats varsity boys)
5 pm: Final Awards, Athletes of the Meet