Varsity Extra

Borah senior learned to shot put three months ago. Now he's a state champion.

Rocky Mountain senior adds another state title in pole vault

Rocky Mountain senior Taylen Langin won the state championship in the 5A girls pole vault for the second time in three seasons. Langin cleared 12 feet, 3 inches Friday at Dona Larsen Park in Boise.
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Rocky Mountain senior Taylen Langin won the state championship in the 5A girls pole vault for the second time in three seasons. Langin cleared 12 feet, 3 inches Friday at Dona Larsen Park in Boise.

Three months ago, Maddie Geritz and George Barrera finally relented.

After countless requests from Borah High coach Jeremy Dovel, the two seniors agreed to join the Lions' track and field team.

They're sure glad they did.

The throwing neophytes nearly made it a Borah sweep in the shot put Friday afternoon at Dona Larsen Park.

Barrera won the 5A boys state championship with a throw of 53 feet, 4 inches, and Geritz took second in the 5A girls competition by just 2 inches with her toss of 41-8. Both athletes set personal bests by more than two feet.

"One of the things that we've tried to do is get more and more kids to be multi-sport athletes," Dovel said. "You can tell they're athletes. You're great at this thing. Maybe track could be your thing, too, if you poured as much time into it."

Barrera has signed to play football at Weber State. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound left tackle also is the reigning 5A wrestling heavyweight state champion.

"This felt a lot better than winning a wrestling state championship," Barrera said. "There wasn't a lot of competition in wrestling. A lot of kids have been doing this for a couple of years. I just came in and had fun."

Geritz specialized in basketball for most of her high school career. She'll play for Carroll College beginning this fall, but may end up being recruited for the Fighting Saints' track team as well after her breakout performance at state.

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Borah senior Maddie Geritz Rachel Roberts rroberts@idahostatesman.com

"Dovel, he was always on my case about it, just kind of messing around," Geritz said. "I was going to do (track) my sophomore year, and then I kind of chickened out.

"I've had a lot of fun this year. I'm glad I did it."

Barrera and Geritz are natural athletes, but they didn't land on the podium without some extra effort. Geritz said they spent several hours each practice working with Borah throws coach Matt Romberg long after the rest of the track team had gone home.

"You work hard every day," Barrera said. "I didn't let myself miss too many practices."

The quick success of Barrera and Geritz should make Dovel's job of recruiting other athletes for his track team much easier.

But that isn't what ultimately motivates Dovel and coaches like him.

"To me, it's the joy that you see out of the kids when they succeed," he said.

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Rocky Mountain's Ryan Shearman took first place in the 5A boys pole vault. Katherine Jones kjones@Idaho Statesman

ROCKY MOUNTAIN DOMINATES POLE VAULT

Mauri Lewis has coached a lot of great pole vaulters over the years.

He was by the side of Eagle's Donovan Kilmartin when he set the overall state meet record of 16-6 in 2003. Kilmartin, a former University of Texas decathlete, remains the only Idaho high school pole vaulter to ever surpass 17-0.

Now Lewis is coaching the newest generation of high-flying talent at Rocky Mountain, and his results remain the same.

Rocky Mountain seniors Taylen Langin and Ryan Shearman swept the 5A state championships, with Langin leading a 1-2-3 finish for the Grizzlies in the girls' competition.

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Rocky Mountain senior Taylen Langin Rachel Roberts rroberts@idahostatesman.com

"I'm really proud of them all. Just the fact that they all competed and they got to the top of the pedestal together," Lewis said. "That was my goal."

Langin, who also won state as a sophomore, entered the meet with a state-leading mark of 13-0. Had she cleared the height Friday, she would have set the overall record.

Instead, the title came down to Langin and teammate Paige Dallmann. Neither athlete cleared 12-6, so the bar was lowered to 12-3. Langin made it on her first attempt, while Dallmann missed. Kinsey Langin, Taylen's younger sister, added a third-place finish.

All three girls are former gymnasts who said they cheer each other on whole-heartedly.

"My sister and I are both very competitive, but she really supports me and wants me to do well," Taylen said. "... I wanted her to do really good, too, but of course I wanted to beat her."

Shearman was the only boy to get over 16-0 in Friday's competition. He then had the bar set at 16-7 to try and beat Kilmartin's state record. He came close, but didn't quite make it.

"They just love to work hard. They love all the drills. They never complain, and we just have a good time," Lewis said. "We have a good group of guys and girls who all work well together. They motivate each other a lot."

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Bonneville sophomore Stetson Moss edges Borah's Nathan Green to win the 5A boys 3,200 on Friday. The two runners finished 9:20.06 and 9:20.11, respectively. Darin Oswald doswald@idahostatesman.com

EMMETT FRESHMAN WINS DISCUS

If she felt like it, Lacy Yates now has the ammo to give her older brother a hard time.

The Emmett freshman won the 4A girls discus by nearly four feet with her throw of 129-3. Yates reached the distance on her second toss of the day, surpassing her previous personal best by more than two feet.

Although it was her state meet debut, Yates said she didn't struggle with nerves.

"I felt pretty good. I don't get nervous before things," Yates said. "I just kind of let them go, I guess."

Yates' brother, Emmett senior Coby Yates, was fourth in the 4A boys discus.

The siblings both qualified for Saturday's shot put competition.

"I feel really blessed," Lacy said. "There's a lot of people here who were cheering for me. It felt good."

Future University of Oregon heptathlete Tori Sloan of Mountain View defended her state title in the 5A girls long jump Friday morning with a mark of 18-8.75. Sloan also is slated to compete in the high jump, 100 meters and 4x100 relay.

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Mountain View sophomore Lexy Halladay defended her title in the 5A girls 3,200 meters Friday. Darin Oswald doswald@idahostatesman.com

Mountain View's Lexy Halladay set the overall state meet record last year in the girls 3,200 as a freshman in 10:30.80. After missing the first month of the season with a stress reaction in her hip — which required three weeks on crutches — Halladay managed to defend her title anyway, winning in 10:57.60.

Bishop Kelly's Nick Russell already owns two state championships in cross country, and the junior added more gold to his haul with a victory in the 4A boys 3,200. Russell ran comfortably in second place for the first seven laps before sprinting into the lead at the start of the final 400 meters. He held his ground the rest of the way, crossing the finish line in 9:36.25.

Timberline set a school record in winning the 5A boys 4x800 relay. Adam Frelly, Edison Bennett, Robie Swanson and Caleb Stamper combined for a time of 7:55.58. Stamper, the reigning 800 champ, ran the Wolves' anchor leg, taking them from third to first.

Rocky Mountain won the 5A girls 4x800 for the fourth straight season. Nathalia Campos, Callie Johnson, Arianna Ghiorso and Laura Heywood took first in 9:17.11.

With five events scored the first day, the team races were led by the Twin Falls girls, Pocatello boys, Rocky Mountain girls and Borah boys.

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