Rocky Mountain relay team among nation's fastest

Bandanna Invitational continues today at Mountain View High.

rroberts@idahostatesman.comApril 19, 2014 

MERIDIAN - The Rocky Mountain High boys 800-meter relay team had been out-leaned at the finish once before.

They weren't about to let it happen again.

At the Arcadia Invitational last Saturday in California, senior Jordon Wallin received the baton from Joe Giese in a near dead-heat for first. Instead of bolting into the lead - as he had done a year earlier - Wallin allowed Redondo (Calif.) Union's anchor runner to pace the pack.

Nearing the last 100 meters of his second and final lap, Wallin made his move for the front, passing Redondo and Centennial (Las Vegas) runners for the victory.

"We didn't know who won, and when they called us we definitely freaked out a little bit," said senior Phil O'Brien, who runs the second leg of the relay.

The Grizzlies' winning time of 7 minutes, 44.92 seconds ranks first in the nation this season - according to - and makes up for a second-place finish the team settled for at the same meet in 2013.

"I don't know if a team from Idaho has ever won a relay at Arcadia before," Rocky Mountain middle-distance coach Mike Bowers said. "That's a once-in-a-lifetime thing."

Sophomore Michael Slagowski and O'Brien are new to the relay team this season, but Wallin and Giese were a part of Rocky Mountain's record-setting 4x800 team last season, which won the 5A state meet in 7:41.81.

"They have been track kids from the get-go, ever since they were in junior high," Rocky Mountain head coach Brad Abbott said. "They set their sights early on being great and doing special things, and they haven't deterred from that ever since. They have a desire and a willingness to pay the price that it takes to get there."

Although their time ranks first in the nation, they'll have to wait to see whether they receive an invitation to the New Balance Nationals Outdoor meet in June.

"This is far from over for them," Bowers said.

On Friday, all four runners participated in the first day of the Bandanna Invitational at Mountain View, but did not run the relay, giving them rest ahead of next week's elite Kiwanis Invitational in Hermiston, Ore., where they will try to win the distance medley.

Wallin - a USC signee - won his 400 heat Friday, qualifying for Saturday's final with a leading time of 50.16 seconds. Giese, who signed with Troy, also qualified for the 400 final in 51.5, and Slagowski made a late pass to win the 3,200 in 9:24.68.

The Bandanna Invitational wraps up Saturday, with field events starting at 11 a.m. and running finals at 1 p.m.

Here are the highlights from Friday's action at Bandanna:

• Mountain View senior Cambree Harbaugh won the girls triple jump with a mark of 39 feet, 4.75 inches, which would beat the overall state meet record of 39-2.5, set by Homedale's Jessica Zatica in 2000. It surpasses the Bandanna record of 38-8.75.

• Hannah Cain of Challis - which competes in the state's smallest classification - ran the fastest time in the state this season in winning her heat of the girls 200 in 25.76 seconds.

• Mountain View's Bryce Kirby won his heat of the boys 200 in 21.78 - tops in any division this season.

• Oregon State football signee Jake Knight of Rocky Mountain won the shot put by more than 5 feet with his throw of 55-9.75.

• Vallivue's Claire Otero - who owns the state's top mark in the girls discus - won the event with a mark of 131-3.5. Her best this season is 139-7.

• Middleton's Maddie Brown won the girls high jump by clearing 5 feet.

• The Mountain View girls (9:36.60) and boys (8:03.58) swept the 800 relay finals.

• Centennial's Tanner Johnson - who has signed with Duke - won the boys long jump at 22-2.

• Senior Colton Mumm of Rocky Mountain cleared 15-2 to win the boys pole vault.

• Junior Mikayla Malaspina of Vallivue took first in the girls 3,200 in 11:3.12.

Rachel Roberts: 377-6422; Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX

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