Spring sports have kicked off and local track and field teams have started their meets for the 2021 season.
Ririe Coach Jed Wilson said that although the team hasn’t had very many meets yet, they’re off to a good start with the kids working hard and staying active.
According to Wilson, things went well with a few athletes placing second and third, but with the early meets, he’s not looking for placing.
“I don’t look at that too hard early in the season because I want to see how they do and then help them improve from there,” Wilson said. “We have some athletes, especially after last year, that have worked really hard and have a good chance to get to state.”
Wilson also stated that the team has a lot of young athletes that they’re trying to find where to put them and to just help them be successful and get better at events.
“I really just try to work on building on each week and on each practice and hope that come districts, they’re in good shape,” Wilson said of their preparations. “Then we hope to take them to state to see what they can do.”
After losing their season last year to COVID, Wilson said he doesn’t like to focus on things that are out of his control.
“Would it have been nice to have last year, sure, but I’m just looking at where we’re at and how we need to build,” he said. “We just try to do what we can to help the kids and help them be at their best.”
Ririe’s upcoming meets include:
April 9 – Dow Dean Mountain Madness Meet at 1 p.m. at Challis (bus leaves at 9:15 a.m.)
April 15 – Salmon Invitational at 1 p.m. (bus leaves at 9:15 a.m.)
David McDonald, West Jefferson Track Coach and Principal, said that in the past, the school has always had really talented girl runners. While this year they don’t have as many, he believes they have one of the hardest working teams he’s ever coached.
“I coached at Columbia in the early 2000s and that really speaks a lot to these girls,” McDonald said. “They’re working hard. Unfortunately I don’t think we’ll be able to defend in 4x1 and 4x2, where we’ve been back to back to back champs, because this year we’ve got a younger team. They’re a hardworking and coachable team though.”
McDonald said that on the boys side, they’ve got talented and hardworking athletes as well.
“We’ve got a good mix between sprinters, throwers, distance and middle distance runners,” he said. “It’s probably the most talented boys side we’ve had at West Jefferson in a while.”
McDonald said they’ll have to wait and see where they’re at by end of the year when it comes to sizing up the state competition, but he’s confident that they’ll take a handful of girls and boys to compete.
In the meantime, McDonald says the team is working on getting out of the blocks efficiently.
“We have had athletic kids, and I think they’ve been able to rely on that in the past, rather than specific technique,” he explained. “When you have an athletic kid get their technique down, now that’s fun to watch.”
McDonald also stated that they’ll be rounding as well to get into the shape runners need to be in for state finals. McDonald, who began coaching the team last year and lost the season to COVID, said that it’s been nice to pass on the knowledge he has as well as working with young, good coaches that are excited and want to do well.
He along with the other coaches will be looking to continue cultivating the West Jefferson team and that they’ve got some really talented students coming up through the ranks that will be able to add to the program in the next two to four years.
West Jefferson’s upcoming meets include:
April 8 – Sugar-Salem Invitational at 2 p.m. (bus leaves at 12:30 p.m.)
April 15 – Lee Cook Invitational at 2 p.m. (bus leaves at 11:30 a.m.)
Rigby has started off their season strong, winning all their meets thus far in the season. The team has competed in the Highland Quad, Century Quad and the High Country Classic. The boys and girls teams both took wins at the HCC.
Rigby Coach James Parrish said that the team is doing “really, really well” and that they’re ahead of their normal curve for this time of year.
“We’re trying to develop our relays and some of our distance runners are working hard to get their pacing to the state level,” Parrish said. “We’re also working on getting our marks in the jumping events.”
Parrish has been the coach at Rigby since 2006 and said that the team has been able to win a lot of state championships in the past and hopes to do that again.
“After losing last year to COVID, I was worried about losing some kids and the lack of experience that would come with missing a year,” Parrish said. “There’s a gap in the knowledge that usually gets passed down from the older kids. My goal every year though is to just get as many kids as a I can to districts and as many as I can on the bus to state.”
Rigby’s upcoming meets include:
April 9 – Rigby Invitational at
April 15 – Highland Gold Baton Relays and Invitational