Even without standout jumper Savannah Royal, Preston’s girls track & field team still managed to finish second in a formidable 10-team district.
The Preston girls racked up 119 points at the 4A District 4-5 Championships, which concluded Friday in Rupert, Idaho. Twin Falls easily reigned supreme with 158.5 points, while the Indians scored 14.5 more points than rival Pocatello. Rounding out the field was Century (66), Jerome (56.5), Burley (55.5), Minico (49), Canyon Ridge (42), Mountain Home (39) and Wood River (12).
“The girls finishing second in this district is a big deal because of how tough the district is,” PHS head coach Brandon Lyon said. “And to do it without Savannah jumping shows how the girls stepped up. They’ve all worked hard all year and if Savannah is able to jump healthy next week, we think we have an outside shot for a trophy.”
Royal, who ranks third in 4A in the triple jump with her school record mark of 36 feet, 8 inches, missed the meet with an injury. Lyon is optimistic Royal, who is also a strong long jumper, will receive a wildcard bid to next week’s 4A State Championships.
It was also a pretty good meet for the Preston boys, who were only four points away from placing third. Canyon Ridge reigned supreme in the boys competition with 131 points, followed by Twin Falls (100), Jerome (83), Pocatello (81), Preston (79), Century (70), Mountain Home (57.5), Minico (43), Burley (33) and Wood River (22.5).
The Indians missed out on a lot more points than they normally would scored in a typical year, because their district is absolutely stacked with elite distance runners. Case in point: Preston’s Josh Harrison only finished seventh in the 1,600 meters and he completed the race in 4 minutes, 27.79 seconds, which is the fastest time by a Cache Valley prep athlete this spring.
Preston’s Sam Jeppsen clocked in at 4:29.13 in the 1,600, which put him in the No. 8 position. The sophomore turned in a 9:49 in the 3,200 and only placed seventh.
Just the top five finishers in each individual event automatically qualify for state, but the district will likely receive two at-large bids in each distance race — encouraging news for Harrison and Jeppsen.
Harrison finished the 3,200 in 10:02, which put him in the No. 9 spot during the two-day meet. The junior ran essentially that same time a year ago at state and placed eighth.
“The boys distance talent in our district is ridiculous,” Lyon said. “It was basically running elite state meet races in our district meet.”
The Indians didn’t win any events at the district championships, but were the runner-ups in eight, including four relays (boys 4x100 and 4x200, and girls 4x100 and 4x100). All four of those relays punched their ticket to state.
Preston’s Taite Priestley was the silver medalist in the high jump with a clearance of 6 feet, 2 inches. Preston’s Andie Bell earned the right to stand on the No. 2 spot on the podium in the 3,200 (11:53), as did teammate Quincy Hyde in the shot put (36-9) and Logan Romney in the pole vault (12-6).
Hyde’s big personal record toss in the shot put was best mark by a local prep athlete this season.
“Quincy’s improvement in the shot put has been remarkable,” Lyon said. “Something clicked last week at BYU and she continued with that today. It was really cool to see.”
Bell was one of four Preston competitors who qualified for the 4A meet in a pair of individual events. The others were Andrew Iverson, Riley Ward and Larissa Knapp.
In addition to being the silver medalist in the 3,200, Bell was fifth in the 1,600 (5:32.29). Knapp finished third in the discus (103-9) and fourth in the shot put (30-9), while Iverson powered his way to third in the 300 hurdles (41.38) and fourth in the 110 hurdles (15.61). Ward placed fourth in the 3,200 (12:07) and 1,600 (5:31.89).
The Lady Indians swept the 2-3-4 spots in the shot put as Liz Lindhardt was the bronze medalist with a heave of 31-8.5. Preston’s Emma Johnson claimed the bronze medal in the triple jump (big PR of 34-3), as did Walter Iverson in the pole vault (12-6), Harli Hymas in the 800 (2:29.14) and Josh Seamons in the discus (136-4).
Other Preston competitors who earned the right to compete at state next week in an individual event are Scott Dunn in the 100 (fourth, 11.28), Addison Moser in the 200 (fourth, 27.34), Saige Meek in the 200 (fifth, 27.37), Taylor Romney in the 800 (fourth, 2:29.82) and Alexis Harris in the 300 hurdles (fifth, 47.58).
Preston’s foursome of Iverson, Moses Thomander, Kaden Barnard and Dunn teamed up for an impressive time of 44.00 in the 4x100.