Varsity Extra

Meet the 10 best high school track athletes in the Treasure Valley this season

Carter Kuehl won the 100 and 200 meters at the 5A state track and field meet last May to help the Rocky Mountain boys claim their sixth team championship in seven seasons.
Carter Kuehl won the 100 and 200 meters at the 5A state track and field meet last May to help the Rocky Mountain boys claim their sixth team championship in seven seasons.

High school track and field teams are just beginning to test their legs in Idaho’s unpredictable spring weather.

While that leaves plenty of room for improvement between spring break and the May 18-19 state meets, the Idaho Statesman has identified 10 of the top Treasure Valley track athletes to keep an eye on (in alphabetical order):

Emma Clark, Melba: The past two seasons, Clark has qualified for the 2A state meet in the maximum four events and has won six titles. She won the triple jump, long jump and pole vault and was fifth in the 100 meters as a freshman. Last year, Clark won the triple jump, pole vault and 100 and took second in the long jump. Can she win all four in 2018?

Nate Griswold, Caldwell: Griswold posted a career-best mark of 45 feet, 10.25 inches to win the 4A boys triple jump for the second year in a row in 2017. He’ll go for even more hardware as a senior. Last season, Griswold also was second at state in the long jump and third in the 110 hurdles.

Last May, Caldwell’s Nate Griswold took first place in the 4A boys triple jump for the second year in a row. Katherine Jones

Lexy Halladay, Mountain View: She already owns two individual 5A state titles in cross country and won three gold medals at the 2017 state track meet. And she’s only a sophomore. Halladay set overall state meet records in the girls 3,200 (10:30.80) and 1,600 (4:52.51) last season and might have in the 800 as well if not for a fall. She also ran the final leg of the Mavericks’ winning 4x400 relay.

Eve Jensen, Boise: She’s one of the premier distance runners in the state with three straight runner-up finishes at the 5A state cross country meet. Last season, Jensen was the state runner-up in the 3,200 and third in the 1,600, but the junior owns the state’s top times in both events this season.

Autumn Kidd, Kuna: After finishing third at the 5A District Three meet, Kidd surprised the field as a freshman to win the 400 at last year’s state meet with a personal-best time of 57.33. She was just short of a podium appearance in the triple jump but has already jumped nearly 2 feet beyond her best mark from last season.

Carter Kuehl, Rocky Mountain: The Air Force football commit was the swiftest afoot in 2017, sweeping the 100 and 200 in the 5A classification. Kuehl likely will run a relay and compete in the long jump as the Rocky Mountain boys chase a seventh state championship in eight seasons.

Nicholas Russell, Bishop Kelly: The 2017-18 Gatorade Idaho Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year completed back-to-back 4A individual cross country state championships in the fall, and now he aims to break through in track. As a sophomore, Russell was second in the 1,600, third in the 3,200 and ninth in the 800 as the Knights won the team title.

Bishop Kelly’s Nicholas Russell heads down the home stretch to finish in first place in the boys 4A race during the state cross country meet last October at Eagle Island State Park. Kyle Green

Tori Sloan, Mountain View: She’ll likely compete as a heptahlete next year for Oregon, one of the most prestigious college track programs in the country. But first she’ll try to close out her senior season in golden fashion. Sloan is the reigning 5A state champion in the long jump and runner-up in the high jump. She also runs relays and sprints for the Mavericks.

Caleb Stamper, Timberline: The 2018 outdoor season is already looking a lot like 2017 for Stamper. Now a junior, he is the only 800 runner so far this season to dip below the 2-minute threshold with his state-leading time of 1:58.47. He won the 800 in the 5A classification last season in 1:55.15.

Rebecca Troescher (middle) from Bishop Kelly won the 4A girls 100 meters at Dona Larsen Park in Boise last May. Kyle Green

Rebecca Troescher, Bishop Kelly: She took home three gold medals from last year’s 4A state meet as a junior, winning the 100 and running legs on the Knights’ first-place 4x100 and 4x200 relays. She added a third-place finish in the 200. If the Knights hope to win a fourth straight team title, they’ll need another big year from Troescher.

Rachel Roberts: 208-377-6422, @byrachelroberts