Treasure Valley track stars eye another big year at state meet

The 5A track and field meet is today and Saturday at Dona Larsen Park in Boise.

rroberts@idahostatesman.comMay 16, 2014 

Rocky Mountain senior Jake Knight has the top marks in the state among 5A competitors in the shot put (58 feet, 3.75 inches) and discus (182-3).

DARIN OSWALD — doswald@idahostatesman.com

Treasure Valley athletes stole the show at last year's meet, winning 30-of-36 gold medals. It is shaping up to be another banner year for the area's top 5A talent (4A and small-school track and field previews at IdahoStatesman.com/Varsity Extra):

BOISE JUNIOR GOING FORDISTANCE GLORY

Emily Hamlin had a standout performance at the 5A District Three meet, winning the girls 800 meters (2 minutes, 13.73 seconds), 1,600 (4:55.59) and 3,200 (10:54.80). She is scheduled to run all three races again at state, and could do so in record fashion.

Hamlin's season-bests in the 800 (2:12.33), 1,600 (4:54.56) and 3,200 (10:38.25) would each beat the overall state meet records.

Should Hamlin complete the sweep, she would be the second straight Boise runner to accomplish the feat, following Thomas Rigby, who won all three boys races in 2013.

Hamlin is the defending state champion in the 800, finished second in the 1,600 and did not run the 3,200 at state last year.

HURDLE CHAMP CLEARED TO COMPETE

Defending boys 110 hurdles champion Khalil Oliver of Rocky Mountain was granted a medical hardship to compete at state.

The Oregon football signee has been out with a strained right hamstring for nearly a month. His season-best was a 14.39, and he won last year's race in 14.21.

The senior took second in the triple jump last year, but is not entered in the event this weekend.

BOISE STATE SIGNEE A NATIONAL CONTENDER

Andrew Rafla has the second-fastest boys 3,200 time in the nation this season, according to athletic.net.

The Timberline senior finished second at the Arcadia Invitational in mid-April with an 8:50.55.

Rafla is seeded first in the 1,600 (4:10.80) and 3,200, and has times fast enough to set overall records in both. The 3,200 final is Friday, and the 1,600 is Saturday.

TEAM RACES

• The Rocky Mountain boys qualified 19 athletes for state, and there are few — if any — teams that can match the Grizzlies’ depth, making them strong contenders to win a fourth consecutive title.

• Last week’s District Three meet showed the girls’ outcome could come down to the wire. Rocky Mountain had to win the 4x400 relay — the final event of the meet — to overtake Mountain View for the team title by three points. Defending district and state champion Eagle was third, just five points behind Rocky and two back of Mountain View. Coeur d’Alene is the top contender from the north and Hillcrest from the east.

RETURNING CHAMPIONS

• Maddison Ward of Lake City was the surprise winner of last year’s girls 200. The junior does not have the fastest time in this year’s field — that honor goes to Boise junior Madison Lung (25.78), the District Three champion.

• Rocky Mountain’s Kaylee Oyler won the girls 400 as a freshman and is back to defend her title. She faces stiff competition, including Lung, who is seeded first with a 57.34.

• Senior Sam McKinnon of Mountain View, the 5A state cross country winner last fall, topped the field in the 2013 girls 1,600.

• Mountain View’s Cambree Harbaugh won the girls long jump by more than a foot last season. She’s the favorite in the triple jump as well after finishing second in 2013. Harbaugh’s best triple jump this season is 39 feet, 4.75 inches, which is good enough to break the overall state meet record of 39-2.5, set by Homedale’s Jessica Zatica in 2000.

• Nicole White of Capital earned the gold in the girls discus as a sophomore. She is back, but needs to be in top form. Conference rival Claire Otero of Vallivue has a season-best of 139-7. White’s top throw is 133-6, but she bested Otero at the district meet.

• Meridian senior Bryson Stout swept the boys 100 and 200 last year, and added the 400 this season. He won the 200 and 400 at the district meet, but finished fourth in the 100. He’ll be hard-pressed to win all three at state, considering the 100 immediately follows the leg-draining 400.

• Lewiston’s Zion Stuffle was one of the few winners to come from outside the Treasure Valley last year. Stuffle finished first in the boys 300 hurdles. His state-leading time of 37.70 is within reach of the overall state record of 37.44.

• Daniel Bruton of Madison aims to repeat in the boys high jump. He won with a mark of 6-8 last year, and his season best is 6-8.5.

• Centennial senior Tanner Johnson, a Duke signee, won the boys long jump by a half an inch over Boise’s Peyton Harris last year. Both are back, with Harris beating Johnson in the district race.

MORE RECORDS AT RISK

• The Rocky Mountain girls are poised for a strong performance in relays. The Grizzlies’ 4x100 (48.95) is within reach of the 48.22 overall record. They’ll also contend for records in the 4x200 (1:42.67, record: 1:42.61) and 4x400 (3:56.62, record: 3:55.09).

• Lake City won the boys 4x100 relay at the Meet of Champions at Post Falls on May 1 in 42.34. That time would best Centennial’s overall state meet record of 42.44 from 1989.

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