5A track and field: Rocky Mountain shot putter makes trip to state worth the wait

Jake Knight wins a state title after missing all of last season; Treasure Valley athletes win nine individual championships on first day.

rroberts@idahostatesman.comMay 17, 2014 

— Jake Knight's 2013 track and field season ended before it even started.

The day before the first practice, he broke his left ankle while playing basketball in his driveway.

Instead of competing for a state championship in shot put and discus, Knight spent the spring rehabbing while his Rocky Mountain High teammates collected their third straight 5A team title.

Knight made up for lost time Friday at Dona Larsen Park.

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Oregon State football signee won the state shot put title with a throw of 57 feet, 11.5 inches, more than six feet better than his closest competitor.

"I think it actually kind of helped, having a break from it," Knight said.

And it didn't hurt that Oregon State graduate assistant/offensive line coach Tavita Thompson motivated Knight by comparing personal bests.

"I've actually thrown farther than him in both events, so I was just messing around with him a little bit," Knight said.

He'll try for another gold Saturday in his preferred event - the discus. Knight enters with the top mark in the state at 182-03.

"I just want to do my best, hopefully get first and maybe if there's a good wind I can PR," Knight said.

After five events, the Rocky Mountain boys lead the team race with 32 points. Lake City (23) - behind senior Scott Cummings' win in the pole vault - is second and Timberline (22) third.

RECORD DAY FOR MOUNTAIN VIEW SENIOR

Cambree Harbaugh saved her best jump for last.

She set an overall state meet record on her final jump, winning back-to-back titles in the girls long jump with a mark of 19-06.75.

Harbaugh won last year with a jump of 19-04.25, but hadn't surpassed the 19-foot mark this season.

"My coach was telling me, 'You just have to step it up. This is your last chance. You've got one more jump, you've got to make it count,' " Harbaugh said. "As soon as I hit the sand and they were taking forever to measure it, I knew it must have been a good jump."

Borah's Brittany Owens, who competes for Louisville, set the previous record at 19-05.5 in 2012.

Harbaugh also is a favorite to win the triple jump Saturday. She leads the state at 39-04.75.

Harbaugh and her Mountain View teammates hold the overall lead after the first day, compiling 31 points to Rocky Mountain's 28. Lewiston is third with 23.

BOISE'S HARRIS FINALLY GETS HIS GOLD

Peyton Harris finished with three runner-up medals at last year's meet. The senior was nothing short of golden in the boys long jump this time around.

Harris broke the Braves' school record with a 23-5.25.

During the awards ceremony, Harris received the first-place medal from his grandmother, Darby Harris, who has been working at the state meet since 1977.

Peyton Harris' dad, Darrin, owns the overall state meet record in the 110 hurdles (14.08), a mark his son will try to best Saturday.

"It would take a great feat to get that, but we'll just see how I am feeling today and tomorrow," Peyton said.

Harris had the third-fastest time among 110 qualifiers Friday. Lewiston's Zion Stuffle clocked a 14.36 in the third heat. Defending champion Khalil Oliver of Rocky Mountain won the first heat in 14.64, and Harris was second in the same heat in 14.70.

NOTABLE

• Boise's Emily Hamlin and Mountain View's Sam McKinnon ran neck-and-neck for nearly eight laps, but Hamlin found another gear over the final 200 meters, pulling ahead for a win in the girls 3,200 in a classification record of 10:47.02.

• Timberline's Andrew Rafla has another first-place medal to go with the individual cross country title he won in the fall. Rafla bested the field in the 3,200, clocking a time of 9:17.81.

• Senior Hayley Morse broke the Borah school record on her way to a victory in the shot put. Morse, whose previous best finish at state was fifth, tossed a 42-02.75. "At first when I threw it I thought, 'That can't be more than 40 feet.' When they announced it, I was screaming and jumping up and down," Morse said.

• Rocky Mountain senior Melissa Rasmussen set a personal best by nearly a foot, winning the girls pole vault with a mark of 11-00.

• The Rocky Mountain boys (7:47.54) and Mountain View girls (9:19.49 kicked off Friday's running events with victories in the 4x800 relays.

Rachel Roberts: 377-6422, Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX

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