The Idaho high school track and field state championships begin today in the Treasure Valley, with the 5A/4A meet taking place at Eagle High School and 3A/2A/1A at Middleton High School.
Here are five storylines to watch for District 6 teams and athletes.
District 6 field event quartet aiming to wrap up undefeated seasons
Four local field event extraordinaires--Madison senior Rayven Nealey, Shelley’s Ty Wright, Rigby’s Mateya Mobley and Rigby’s Nathan Franz--carry impressive win steaks into this weekend. All four own No. 1 marks in Idaho’s all-classification athletic.net rankings --Nealey in girls triple jump (39-5.75), Wright in boys high jump (6-11), Mobley in girls shot put (41-7.25) and Franz in boys shot put (61-10). None have lost in those events this season. Nealey’s win streak dates back to the beginning of her sophomore season and Mobley’s win streak goes back to the beginning of her junior season. Franz also moved into No. 1 all-classification in discus after a personal best and winning mark of 173-0 at the 5A District 5-6 championships last week.
Three of them have win streaks of another kind. Wright won boys high jump in 3A for three consecutive years, Nealey is two-time defending 5A girls triple jump state champion and Mobley is the defending 5A girls shot put state champion.
Additionally, and perhaps the most impressive, all four athletes are headed to Division I programs. Nealey has signed with Nevada, Wright with BYU, Mobley with Wyoming and Franz with Utah State.
Sugar-Salem poised to continue 3A title haul
The Diggers have collected ample hardware from 3A state track since 2013, winning eight state titles since then. Five are boys state titles, and the Diggers enter this weekend as two-time defending 3A boys state champions. The girls last won in 2017. Head coach Brett Hill enters this weekend having won a combined 40 state titles in high school cross-country and track since his career in Idaho began 26 years ago at Firth.
Both the Sugar-Salem boys and girls teams have considerable youth, but depth. Accommodating that depth is a considerable number of returning medalists including Kooper Williams (qualified in 3,200, 800, 1,600, sprint medley relay), Sarenady Price (qualified in 3,200, 1,600), Kassi Christensen (qualified in pole vault), Lindsey Larson (qualified in 4x100, 4x200, medley, long jump), Jade Jackson (qualified in 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, 4x400, high jump), Hadley Miller (qualified in 100, 200, long jump, 4x100), Gerohm Rihari (qualified in 4x100, high jump, long jump, triple jump), Jesse Fogle (qualified in 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles, 4x200, sprint medley relay). The Diggers are also defending state champions in the boys 4x200 and the sprint medley relays, and Miller and Fogle were on that 4x200 team.
Firth, West Jefferson in mix for anticipated tight 2A girls title race
Four points separated second place from fourth place in the final team standings at last year’s 2A girls track state championships. West Jefferson took second place by 2.5 points over McCall-Donnelly, and McCall-Donnelly took third by 1.5 over Salmon. Based on current Idaho 2A and all-classification rankings on athletic.net, the trophy race could be tighter this weekend.
The 2A girls meet also features some of the top talent in Idaho for any classification. Defending state champion Melba is still heavily favored, qualifying athletes in 16 events. The Mustangs also feature senior and Northwest Nazarene two-sport signee Emma Clark, is returning 2A state champion in the 100, pole vault, long jump and triple jump (undefeated in this event her entire high school career). Cole Valley Christian, which was fifth at state last year and should be in the trophy mix this year, qualified athletes in 10 events, including four events with Brooke Weimer, owner of Idaho’s all-classification No. 1 marks this season in long jump (19-4) and the 200 (24.97). West Jefferson qualified athletes in 14 events and brings numerous returning medalists in multiple events including Jordi Holdaway (qualified in the 100, 200, 100 hurdles and 4x100), McKenzie Sermon (qualified in long jump, triple jump, 4x100, 4x200) and Sage Wood (qualified in 200, pole vault, 4x100, 4x200). Sermon, Holdaway, Wood and Malaika Rogers are on West Jefferson’s two-time defending state champion 4x100 team while Wood, Sermon, Rogers and freshman Cambree Hall are on West Jefferson’s two-time defending state champion 4x200 team. Firth, which was eighth at last year’s 2A girls state meet, poised to enter the trophy race having qualified athletes in 12 events and with numerous returning multi-event point scorers including Abby Schiess (competing in 800, triple jump, 4x200, 4x400), Cassi Robbins (competing in 200, 400, 4x200, 4x400), Jaylyn McKinnon (competing in 400, discus, 4x400, sprint medley relay) and Kaydee Park (competing in sprint medley relay, 4x200, 4x400). Schiess, Robbins, McKinnon and Park are also defending state champions in the 4x400.
District 6 returners galore in 3,200 finals
Several familiar faces will toe the line for the 3,200 finals at both venues of state track on Friday, and District 6 will be well-represented among the returning medalists.
Idaho Falls’ Mitchell Athay and Skyline’s Sariah Harrison, who took second in last year’s 4A boys and girls 3,200 finals as freshmen, return as will I.F.’s Zach Erikson (sixth last year). Shelley’s Karlie Callahan, who placed second in last year’s 3A girls finals, is among the 4A qualifiers this year. Madison’s Spencer Stutz (fifth last year) returns in the 5A finals and defending 3A champion Kooper Williams returns to defend his title while teammate Sarenady Price (fourth last year) returns on the girls side. Salmon’s Andy Gebhardt is defending state runner-up in all three 2A boys distance events and qualified for the 3,200 finals again this year along with teammate Johnathan Simmons (fifth last year). The defending 1A girls state champion is back in Butte County sophomore Natalya Babcock, who reached state this year in the 400, 800, 1,600 and 3,200.
Can Skyline end the Idaho Falls city school state track trophy drought?
The last Idaho Falls city school to get a trophy at state track was Idaho Falls, which placed third at the 5A boys state championships in 2009. Skyline, which enters this weekend’s 4A state meet having won three consecutive boys district team titles and back-to-back girls district team titles, last had a state track trophy in 2006 (second place in 5A girls). The Grizzlies placed fifth in last year’s 4A girls standings and fifth in the boys standings.
“I think if both our groups do what they’re capable of doing, we’ll be in the hunt for a trophy next week,” Skyline head coach Chase Meyer said May 10 after the 4A District 6 track championships at Ravsten Stadium. “It doesn’t have to be superman or superwoman.”