5A state track roundup: Capital shot-putter wins, records fall

The 5A and 4A state trackand field championships continue today at Eagle High.

rroberts@idahostatesman.comMay 18, 2013 

— It came down to one final throw, and Capital's Kayla Stephens wasn't worried.

On more than one occasion this season, the senior shot-putter has saved her best throw for last.

Stephens maintained that tradition Friday at Eagle High, catapulting the shot put 38 feet, 9.5 inches to win by 2.5 inches at the 5A state track and field meet.

"I threw very poorly in the prelims and I scratched," Stephens said. "I just had to pull it out at the end. I knew I had to do it."

Stephens, who moved from California to Idaho for her senior year, entered state with the No. 1 seed. Although she did not match her personal best (40-11), winning a state title was something she never expected.

"It's state. I won state. I didn't even think I had it," Stephens said. "It's wonderful. I really didn't expect the win, but I am very happy and proud of myself that I pulled it out."

She'll get one more chance to reach the podium in Saturday's discus finals, where the 6-foot-4 Stephens, who has committed to play basketball for the College of Southern Idaho, is the No. 4 seed. The first flight starts at 10 a.m.

MOUNTAIN VIEW'S HARBAUGH WINS GIRLS LONG JUMP

For two seasons, Cambree Harbaugh had to settle for second place. This time, second just wasn't going to be good enough.

The Mountain View junior came within 1.25 inches of the overall state meet record with her winning jump of 19-4.25.

Harbaugh popped the near-record jump during the prelims.

"It felt good," she said. "Next year I am hoping to break the record."

BOYS LONG JUMP DECIDED BY INCHES

Centennial junior Tanner Johnson entered state as the No. 3 seed behind teammate Kody Brock and Boise's Peyton Harris.

Johnson bettered both of his competitors by a hair to win with a mark of 22-10.5.

Harris jumped 22-10, and Brock was third with a 22-8. Centennial senior Jake Geyer added a fourth-place finish (22-5) to give the Patriots a strong start to the meet with three of the event's top four finishers.

Through five events, the Patriots lead all 5A boys teams with 46 points.

ROCKY'S MCCULLOUGH DEFENDS TITLE

Sometimes all it takes is a good, hard grunt.

That was the successful strategy Rocky Mountain senior Eli McCullough used to win his second consecutive state shot put title. The Boise State football signee won with a toss of 58-2.25, surpassing his nearest competitor by more than 4 feet.

"The last five or so throws, you really can get a massive grunt in there, like I did on my last throw," McCullough said. "It doesn't always pay off, but it helps some people. It just depends on the kind of thrower you are."

Teammate Adam Lewis, who will play football for Weber State, took second with a 53-11.25.

The two have dominated throwing events this season, and are among the top contenders in Saturday's discus.

"We push each other for sure. He'll throw big in practice and then I'll have to come by and throw bigger," McCullough said.

"In discus, I'll throw big and he'll come by and throw bigger. It's going to be a big shootout between me and him. I'm really looking forward to finishing this off. Maybe come in second in discus or maybe even first. It depends on who is on that day."

ROCKY RELAYS SHARE LUCKY BATON

After the Rocky Mountain girls 4x800 relay team of Paige Dilmore, Julia Fretwell, Kaylee Oyler and Dana Snell wrapped up their record run, they handed over their winning purple baton to their male counterparts.

The Rocky boys followed with a record of their own to give the Grizzlies an impressive sweep of the event in the first running final of the two-day meet.

Anchor Snell, a senior, lapped Lake City's third runner on her final lap, and crossed the finish line in 9 minutes, 12.07 seconds. The previous record of 9:23.32 was set by Mountain View in 2010.

"We wanted to win, of course, and just do the best we could," Snell said. "We're so happy that this happened because we never, ever expected it to be this good and feel this good."

Junior Joe Giese, senior Ian Cavey, senior Justin Ross and junior Jordon Wallin also won with ease. Their winning time of 7:41.81 was nearly 8 seconds better than the old record of 7:48.61 (Boise, 2009).

"Especially being seniors, we wanted to leave our mark," Ross said.

"We know they are going to be strong next year, too, so we wanted to set the record where it wouldn't be taken from us next year," Cavey added.

SENIORS HAVE STRONG FINISH IN 3,200

It took a few laps for Meridian's Lila Klopfenstein to separate herself from the pack, but once she did, it was the senior versus her own limitations.

Klopfenstein ran a classification record, winning in 10:49.28 despite running most of the race out front by herself.

In the boys 3,200, runners stayed in a tight pack for much of the race, but at the start of the final lap, Timberline junior Andrew Rafla sprinted from fourth to first. He held that position as he rounded the turn for the final straightaway.

That's when Boise senior Thomas Rigby made his move.

Rigby - who ran in third for most of the race - chased down Rafla over the final 20 meters and passed him at the finish line. Rigby crossed in 9:31.16 and Rafla was second in 9:31.26.

It was a bit of redemption for Rigby, who lost the state cross country title in the same fashion last fall.

"Replays of state cross country were just going through my head, getting out-kicked at the very finish line by a tenth of a second," Rigby said. "It hurt, a lot, but I just knew that if I really dug in and gave it everything I had, I had a chance at passing him."

Rachel Roberts: 377-6422,Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX

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