Varsity Extra

State cross country: What to watch for

Boise High freshman Eve Jensen will try to add a state title to an already impressive first season.
Boise High freshman Eve Jensen will try to add a state title to an already impressive first season. For the Idaho Statesman

SLAGOWSKI, HORSBURGH DUKE IT OUT ONE LAST TIME

Rocky Mountain senior Michael Slagowski and Mountain View senior Noah Horsburgh have battled each other all season, winning a combined seven meets.

But the last one will count the most.

Horsburgh owns the state’s top time, according to athletic.net, at 15 minutes, 30.6 seconds when he finished three spots ahead of Slagowski (15:33.96) in ninth place at Nike Portland XC, formerly known as the Nike Pre Nationals. He also edged Slagowski head-to-head in the first meet of the season, the Bandanna Jimmy Driscoll Classic, and finished first Sept. 12 on the state tournament course at Farragut State Park north of Coeur d’Alene on his way to winning four of six meets.

But Slagowski has come on at the end of the season. The reigning 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter state track champ has won three of the five meets he’s entered, including a six-second victory for the district title. Horsburgh finished fifth at district.

THE NEXT GREAT BOISE RUNNER?

The Boise girls figured to start the year in a hole with the graduation of Emily Hamlin, a three-time state champ. But freshman Eve Jensen has already started filling her shoes.

The North Junior High student enters state with the best 5,000-meter time in the state at 17:34.7, 17 seconds better than teammate Audrey Rustad in second place.

Both set those times at the competitive Sundodger Invitational in Seattle. And Jensen backed up that performance with a seventh-place finish at the Bob Firman Invitational and a district championship.

CAN MOUNTAIN VIEW SQUEAK OUT A PAIR OF TITLES?

The Mavericks swept the 5A District Three titles by slim margins, winning the boys championship by two points over Rocky Mountain and taking the tiebreaker for the girls title over Meridian after both teams finished with 65 points.

The Mountain View boys enter as the defending state champ and the favorite with four runners ranking in 5A’s top 13 times this season.

The girls race remains wide open with Coeur d’Alene, the three-time defending champ, only placing one runner inside 5A’s top 30.

SEPARATE 2A, 1A RACES

The state meet will split the classifications into separate races for the first time with their own individual and team champions. The classifications previously competed together with one individual and team champ.

Victory Charter senior Marshall Wheeler owns the second-best time for boys in 1A this season (16:31). Idaho City senior Joy Billings has the second-best time among girls (21:26.5) in her classification.

Wrestling and golf remain the only two sports to combine 2A and 1A schools into a single state championship event. Soccer and tennis combine 3A, 2A and 1A into one classification.

Idaho previously competed with two cross country classifications until 1994, when it expanded to three. The sport grew to four classifications in 2000 with the creation of 4A before expanding to five this fall.

Michael Lycklama: 208-377-6424, @MichaelLycklama

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