With the crowd clapping in unison as he made his way down the runway, Sam Brixey launched from the board for the biggest long jump of his career.
It couldn’t have come at a better time.
The Capital High senior was down to his final attempt, and rain was beginning to pour.
Brixey’s distance of 22 feet, 4 inches bested teammate and defending champion Britt Ipsen by 4.5 inches for first place at the 5A state track and field meet Friday.
“(Ipsen) had a 23-footer today, but his foot was way behind the board,” Brixey said. “I have a lot of respect for him, and I know he’s a better jumper than I am most definitely.
“I just hit the board perfectly on my last jump and finally jumped 22.”
The teammates shared a handshake and hug after the event, and Brixey was already thinking ahead to Saturday morning, when he’ll face Ipsen in the triple jump.
“Tomorrow in the triple jump, he’s probably going to kill me,” Brixey said. “He’s probably going to jump like 48 (feet) and get first, but I am going to try and get second with him.”
Brixey, a Washington State signee, took second in the triple jump last season, while Ipsen was fourth. Ipsen, a junior, enters Saturday as the No. 1 seed in the triple and high jumps.
“At the beginning of the year, that’s what they wanted to do. They wanted to go 1-2,” Capital coach Bryan Stith said. “We didn’t talk about who was going to win. It was just a phenomenal day by both of them. Tough conditions to compete in.
“Sam with a lifetime PR in the long jump. First time over 22 feet. It just shows the true grit of his character and what type of competitor he is.”
The long jump finish gives the Capital boys a solid start to their team title defense, but the Eagles will need both boys to finish strong Saturday to have a shot at earning another trophy.
Brixey is the defending champ in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles, and he has a chance to set meet records in both events. His season-best in the 110 of 14.10 seconds is two one-hundredths of a second shy of Darrin Harris’ record of 14.08 from 1985.
The 300 hurdles overall record of 37.44 is held by Borah’s AJ Boully from 2010. Brixey’s best time is 37.83.
“They’re kind of our two leaders. Everybody looks up to them for guidance,” Stith said. “To see that they started the track meet well gives the rest of the team confidence, especially with some of our kids who have maybe never been to a state championship before.
“They do what they need to do. They always have. They are track guys, and they are track savvy. As far as the team’s concerned, they do their best every time for the team. They are very unselfish athletes.”
BORAH RUNNER BREAKS 3,200 MARK
Sara Christianson finished second in the 3,200 and 1,600 last season.
She wasn’t going to settle for anything short of historic her senior year.
Christianson, who will compete for Oregon State, shattered the overall state record in the 5A girls 3,200 with her winning time of 10 minutes, 36 seconds.
After Christianson completed the second of eight laps, a hard rain began to fall. “Rain? Why rain?” she said. “I thought it was going to stay clear, but unfortunately it rained. I tried not to let it affect me that much.”
A record of 10:45.66 by Bishop Kelly’s Emily Nist stood since 2012.
Christianson will run in the 800 and 1,600 on Saturday.
In the 5A boys 3,200, Rocky Mountain senior Michael Slagowski won his second straight title. The race got off to a slower-than-expected pace, and Borah sophomore Siyad Matan was on Slagowski’s heels going into the final 300 meters.
As soon as Slagowski felt Matan at his back, he picked up the pace to cross the finish line in 9:36.86. Slagowski is a favorite in the 800 and 1,600 on Saturday, and he will run a leg on the 4x400 relay.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN SWEEPS POLE VAULT
The 5A boys championship came down to a jumpoff when Rocky Mountain’s Daniel Owen and Boise’s Seth Nims each cleared 14-0 but failed in three tries at 14-6.
Both vaulters were given a fourth attempt at 14-6, and when neither athlete got over the bar, the height was lowered to 14-3. They each missed again.
“It was really, really nerve-wracking,” Owen said. “Every time I saw him miss it, I thought, ‘If I make this, then I’ll win.’ I just kept missing it. It was frustrating, but it was really exciting when I made it.”
The bar was lowered to 14-0. Owen cleared it, but Nims did not.
“It was awesome. These guys work hard every day,” Rocky Mountain pole vault coach Mauri Lewis said. “They do everything I ask them to do, and they do more. They never want to quit.”
In the girls competition, Rocky Mountain sophomores Taylen Langin and Paige Dallman each cleared 11-6, but Langin surpassed the height on her first attempt, while Dallman needed three tries.
When neither vaulter was able to clear 12-0, the title went to Langin based on fewer attempts.
CENTENNIAL’S JONES WINS LONG JUMP
It was only her sixth meet competing in the long jump, but senior Tatyana Jones didn’t perform like a rookie. She jumped a personal-best 18-6.75 with only a month of training in the event.
She’ll have a chance to add a fourth career gold medal to her haul when she runs Saturday in the 300 hurdles, where she is the two-time defending champion.
BK SENIORS SWEEP DISCUS
Sophia Adams locked up her second straight 4A girls title on her first throw. The Weber State signee won with a toss of 130-5, winning by more than 3 feet.
“I’m always nervous for meets a little bit. There are a lot of people who are super good in the 4A classification,” Adams said. “I just knew I had to throw far and do my best.”
Adams is among the favorites to win the shot put Saturday. She took third last season and is seeded second.
BK senior Zachary Andrew followed up Adams’ victory with a win in the boys discus. The Oklahoma State commit won with a throw of 155-9 as three Knights finished among the top seven.
CALDWELL SOPHOMORE WINS TRIPLE JUMP
Nate Griswold posted his best jump of the day on his second attempt in the 4A boys prelims, then he had to wait out the rain — and his competitors — for the victory. The finals of the 4A boys triple jump and 5A boys long jump were stopped for about 45 minutes for rain.
Griswold’s distance of 43-4.50 was an inch better than Brock Snow of Pocatello.
It was a satisfying win for Griswold, who did not qualify for the finals last season. “I wasn’t really expecting this,” he said. “I was seeded first, but you never know.”
POCATELLO RUNNER SETS 400 RECORD
Hopefully Harlee Hales saved something for Saturday’s final. The sophomore broke the overall meet record with her 4A prelim time of 55.54. Hales bettered the record of 55.87 set by Boise’s Madison Lung last year.
ROCKY GIRLS, MOUNTAIN VIEW BOYS REPEAT IN 4x800
▪ Megan Boals, Arianna Ghiorso, Payton Fratusco and Faith Dilmore ran to Rocky’s second consecutive victory in the 5A girls 4x800 relay with their winning time of 9:29.55.
▪ Seniors Adrian Jones, Conner Oswald, Caleb Horsburgh and Noah Horsburgh led from start to finish, teaming up for the second straight year to win the boys 4x800 in 7:53.42 by a substantial margin. The runners also helped the Mavericks defend their state cross country title last fall.
BK BENEFITS FROM DQ
An exchange violation by Skyview’s boys 1,600 sprint medley put the first-place medals in the hands of Bishop Kelly. Cameron Foley, Luke Burley, Toran Zimmerman and Matt Dean combined to win in 3:34.32.