Capturing a state title will be a tall order, but it was still a pretty solid Day 1 for West Side’s boys track & field program at the 2A State Championships.
The Pirates scored points in all seven events on a cold, rainy and windy Friday at Middleton High School, and are currently in second place with 32 points. Favorite Nampa Christian is in third with 28 points, but is in good shape to rack up a lot of points Saturday.
“Our high jumpers did great, we did the best we could in the two distance races,” WS coach Dan Line said. “We did what we should have done in the triple jump, but a couple of our other field events, we just didn’t maximize opportunities to score points. ... Hopefully, a third-place trophy’s in the mix, maybe second, but we’re hoping we get third and will do our best to get second at this point.”
West Side’s opening day effort was highlighted by Jacob Moffat, who was the bronze medalist in the 3,200 meters and anchored the medley relay team to the No. 3 spot on the podium.
The junior clocked in at 9 minutes, 52.32 seconds in the 3,200, which is a new personal record. Moffat edged reigning state cross country champion Andy Gebhardt of Salmon at the finish line. The West Side foursome of Moffat, Enoch Ward, Brigham Cook and Josh Reeder — who ran a great 400 leg, Line said — completed the medley relay in 3:40.88.
“He was a little frustrated, but yeah, two (bronze medals) today, we’ll take that,” Line said of Moffat. “We told him to be happy and that we’re proud of him, for sure. He did his best.”
Like Moffat, Ward earned a medal in an individual event for the Pirates as he cleared the bar at 12 feet, 0 inches, in the pole vault to place sixth. West Side finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the high jump as Dillon Robinson and Bryler Shurtliff were both successful at 5-10.
Jack Moser secured the No. 6 position on the podium in the discus for West Side (120-11), while teammate Isaac Frankman placed eighth (115-9). Other West Side athletes who scored team points were triple jumpers Easton Henderson (seventh, 39-0.5) and Ryan Beckstead (eighth, 38-11.5).
A handful of Pirates punched their ticket to the finals in various track events. For starters, Cyrus Rindlisbacher posted the fastest qualifying time in the 300 hurdles and broke the 40-second for the first time with his 39.87.
“I’m still frustrated and he is too because he stuttered on the first hurdle, and he hurdled all of the rest of the hurdles on his wrong leg,” Line said. “... If he ever hits all of his hurdles right, he’ll run a low-38, but he’s where he is and he did pretty well.”
Rindlisbacher avoided disaster in his preliminary heat of the 110 hurdles and still ran the second-fastest time (15.07), despite nearly having to come to a complete stop at the first hurdle. The “rest of his hurdles were amazing,” Line said.
West Side’s Ellie Stegelmeier advanced to Saturday’s final in both hurdles races and garnered the praise of Line. Robinson secured his spot in the finals of the 300 hurdles, as did Cook in the 200. West Side’s Brock Gittins missed out on the final qualifying position in the 200 by one-hundreth of a second.
4A STATE MEET
The weather was so bad at the 4A State Championships, the decision was made to move all of Friday’s field events, with the exception of the long and triple jumps, to Saturday.
Only three finals were contested on Day 1 of the meet — held at Eagle High School — and the Preston girls scored points in two of them.
The Indians got an absolutely gutsy performance from triple jumper Savannah Royal, who suffered an ankle injury two weeks ago and is only about “50 percent” healthy, Preston head coach Brandon Lyon asserted. Royal still managed to claim a spot on the podium with her sixth-place leap of 34-6.75.
“I told her afterwards that what she just did was amazing,” Lyon said. “She usually is a right-right-left (jumper) in the triple, and she completely flipped that to put the least amount of pressure on that injured foot. (Instead) she was going left-left-right. ... I mean, she couldn’t really practice for the last two weeks, and so to completely flip (her form) over and just go out and do that, I told her that’s one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen.
“I think if healthy, she easily finishes second, but I think getting sixth and placing off of her off foot is every bit as impressive as getting second if healthy.”
Lyon was also very proud of freshman Andie Bell, who PRed by a whopping 18 seconds in the 3,200, notwithstanding the less-than-ideal conditions. Bell finished seventh in 11:35.91 and was a fraction of a second away from beating two other competitors.
“Who’s knows what (her time) could have been under good conditions,” Lyon said. “I mean, she had a great mindset going in and from the start of the race, ran confident and strong.”
Preston’s Sam Jeppsen once again broke the 10-minute barrier in the 3,200, but had to settle for 12th place with his time of 9:56. This is arguably the deepest group of boys distance runners in the history of Idaho’s 4A classification.
Preston’s Andrew Iverson qualified for Saturday’s finals in the 300 hurdles.
Cache Valley athletes were well-represented among the spring sport academic all-state recipients. The names of all of these kids can be found in the Valley View section on Page B2.