Carter Kuehl bought his own starting blocks for the 2017 track and field season.
It might sound a bit extreme, but the Rocky Mountain High junior had good reason.
In the 100-meter state final last year, the blocks slipped on Kuehl, likely costing him a win after he qualified first in the prelims the day before.
There was no such trouble for Kuehl on Saturday at Dona Larsen Park.
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Kuehl won the 100 in 10.66 seconds and the 200 in 21.45 as the Rocky Mountain boys cruised to their sixth 5A team championship in seven seasons.
“I bought my own pair so that I knew they would not slip,” said Kuehl, who also was an All-Idaho first-team running back for the Grizzlies’ football team in the fall. “I think the results were pretty good.”
With just four event wins, Rocky Mountain did its damage with depth. The Grizzlies totaled 96 points. Capital was second with 74, and Mountain View and Eagle tied for third with 59 points apiece.
“They’re no strangers to adversity and to overcoming stress in big-time meet situations. We kind of try to make that happen as one of our trademarks and the way we train,” Rocky Mountain coach Brad Abbott said. “So I was confident, but there was always that question in the back of my mind, and they erased that as soon as the gun went off.”
Junior Zach Meyer added another victory for the Grizzlies in the 110 hurdles (14.72), and Tanner Roark, Ashton Siwek, Gavin Pollock and Anthony Ghiorso won Friday in the 4x800 relay.
MOUNTAIN VIEW GIRLS DOMINATE
The final day of the state meet did not go perfectly for the Mountain View girls, and that should be a scary thought for their competitors.
The Mavericks amassed 146.75 points — more than 60 points ahead of their nearest competitors — and finished first in eight events.
Freshman Lexy Halladay set records in the 3,200 (10:30.80) and 1,600 (4:52.51) and ran the final leg of Mountain View’s winning 4x400 relay (3:58.33). But her fourth-place finish in the 800 was almost as impressive as her wins. Halladay fell on the backstretch around the 200-meter mark, dropping all the way to last before fighting her way back to fourth.
“I was so disappointed, but it happened,” Halladay said. “I think it’s a character builder, just knowing that I was able to get up and not moan about it and walk off the track.”
Halladay’s teammate, Makenna Schuler won the 800 in 2:13.31.
“Anything can happen, and how you respond to it is the mark of a champion,” Mountain View coach Tracy Harris said. “And Lexy responded fantastic.”
Mountain View showcased its speed with overall records in the girls 4x100 (Tori Sloan-Laurell Fink-Jasmine Devers-Asha Byrd, 48.09) and 4x200 (Jordan Johnson, Lizza Wallace-Devers-Byrd, 1:41.13).
Sophomore Melanie Marquis claimed the 300 hurdles title (44.82), and Sloan won the long jump Friday to round out the Mavs’ wins.
Here are Saturday’s other Treasure Valley winners:
▪ Capital senior Britt Ipsen won his second and third events of the meet, taking the high jump (6 feet, 8 inches) in the morning and then winning the triple jump with a mark of 47-2. He had his fourth win in hand, but stumbled a bit on the landing off the final hurdle to finish third in the 110 hurdles. Ipsen won the long jump Friday.
▪ Kuna freshman Autumn Kidd said she went out too strong in the district meet and ended up third in the 400. Kidd didn’t let her adrenaline take over in the state final, overtaking the field down the stretch to win in a personal-best 57.33 despite falling as she crossed the finish line. Kidd’s older brother, Mikhail, won two 400 titles for the Kavemen and graduated in 2015.
“I didn’t know I won until I was about to get on the podium,” Kidd said. “It was scary.”
▪ Rocky Mountain senior Bailey Boerner won the girls 200 (25.97) for the second year in a row. Capital senior Emma Cole also was a repeat winner in the girls 100 hurdles (14.80).
▪ Timberline picked up a pair of victories from sophomore Caleb Stamper in the boys 800 (1:55.15) and its 4x400 relay team (3:21.88) of Stamper, Jacob Packwood, Alex Hamrick and Toran Zimmerman.
▪ The Mountain View boys matched their boys teammates with a record-setting win in the 4x200. Caleb Hardy, Magnus Hemingway, Jaymon Barrus and Jordan Heathcock won in 1:27.29.
BISHOP KELLY SWEEPS 4A TITLES, AGAIN
Senior Lindsey Schmidt got the four-for-four haul she was after at state, but she wasn’t the only Knight to come away a winner.
Bishop Kelly won the boys and girls team championships for the second year in a row, combining to win nine events.
“This is just a really quality group of seniors that I am going to miss tremendously,” BK coach Jeff Carpenter said. “They come to work every day and really just put it all on the line, and it paid off for everybody.”
Schmidt won the girls long jump, triple jump, high jump and 100 hurdles a year after settling for a lone win in the hurdles because of a fractured ankle.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better finish coming from last year to wanting redemption this year to it ending like this,” Schmidt said. “It is better than I ever could have imagined.”
BK’s Payton Kirtley, Marina Tong, Emma Haener and Rebecca Troescher teamed up to win the girls 4x100 (49.26) and 4x200 (1:44.02) relays. Troescher, a junior, and Kirtley, a senior, finished 1-2 in the 100.
Senior Alex Pagan accounted for Bishop Kelly’s only wins on the boys side, sweeping the 110 (15.05) and 300 (39.07) hurdles.
“I’ve never ran a perfect race like that before,” Pagan said. “It was definitely a great feeling.”
▪ Caldwell senior Lita Forse won the girls shot put for the second straight year — and the fourth year in a row for a Caldwell female shot putter — with a season-best throw of 42 feet, 4 inches. Forse, a Washington State signee, finished second in the discus Friday.
“I felt good going in, not super nervous,” Forse said. “I just wanted to get out there and get good marks.”
▪ Skyview senior Auby Barr won the girls pole vault for the fourth year in a row. Barr, who will be a preferred walk-on at Boise State this fall, cleared 11 feet. Barr’s older sister, Chelsea Barr, won four consecutive pole vault titles at the 2A level from 2006-09 at Nampa Christian High.
“People would ask me, ‘Auby, are you going to win state again this year?’ I knew everyone was expecting it, and it literally stressed me out,” the younger Barr said. “... Once I knew I won state today, it was just the biggest relief.”
Emmett senior Darrian Walker won the boys pole vault with a clearance of 14-6.
▪ Ridgevue’s Kade Linder overtook Canyon Ridge’s Abdelgadir Mohamed down the stretch, setting a classification record in the boys 400 at 49.05. The previous record was 49.20 set by Vallivue’s Kyle Christoffersen in 2005. It was Linder’s first year competing in track.
“The 400, I think it’s the hardest race,” Linder said. “My dad always says it sucks to run with pain, but when you come across the finish line first, it all makes up for it.”
▪ Middleton sophomore Carlee Heindel won the girls 300 hurdles (44.39) for the second consecutive year.
▪ Kyle Pierce took a spill as he crossed the finish line, assuring Skyview a win in the boys 4x400 (3:24.97) along with teammates DeMonte Horton, Corey Wockenfuss and Isaiah Schlegel.
▪ Blackfoot senior Michelle Pratt broke the overall state record in the girls 800 in 2:11.47. The previous record was 2:13.23 set by Boise’s Emily Hamlin in 2014.