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4A track preview: Bishop Kelly girls loaded for state repeat

Bishop Kelly junior Payton Kirtley, right, hands off to senior Payton Jolley at last year’s 4A state track and field meet at Dona Larsen Park in Boise. The Knights won the girls team title.
Bishop Kelly junior Payton Kirtley, right, hands off to senior Payton Jolley at last year’s 4A state track and field meet at Dona Larsen Park in Boise. The Knights won the girls team title. doswald@idahostatesman.com

The Bishop Kelly girls track and field team won seven events on its way to a 4A state team championship in 2015.

With strong numbers and top-tier talent, the Knights are the favorites to collect their fourth girls title since 2010.

The boys’ race isn’t nearly as clear cut.

Every individual state championship was won by a senior last season, leaving the door open for a fresh class of winners this spring.

BOYS TO WATCH

Zach Andrew, Bishop Kelly: The Oklahoma State signee took second in the discus and fourth in the shot put at state in 2015. The senior ranks first in the state at the 4A level in the discus at 155 feet, 3 inches.

Matt Dean, Bishop Kelly: An athletic senior who BK coach Jeff Carpenter said can run a variety of races, including the 200, 400 and 800. Dean was third in the 400 last year and fifth in the 200. He owns the second-fastest 4A time in the 400 this season (51.49 seconds) behind freshman teammate Toran Zimmerman.

Marty Emery, Kuna: The senior leads the 4A classification in the shot put at 50-2.5 and ranks third in the discus with a toss of 142-5.

Khalil Forehand, Bishop Kelly: The sophomore flashed his potential by qualifying for the state final in the 100 last season and is off to a strong start in 2016. He ranks second in 4A in the 100 with a career-best time of 11.10.

Josh Frey, Skyview: Four seniors finished ahead of Frey in the 800 and 1,600 at last year’s state meet, putting him in position to climb the podium in 2016. His 800 time of 2:02.07 leads all 4A runners, and he is among five runners within four seconds of each other for top honors in the 1,600.

Cody Ghighina, Skyview: The senior is a bruiser at running back on the football field, but he’s also got speed. He took third at state in the 100 last season and is the senior leader for a strong group of Hawks sprinters.

Stephen Morales, Caldwell: The frontrunner to sweep the 100 and 200 this season, the senior ranks first in both events in 4A. He is the only 4A runner to break the 11-second mark in the 100 (10.98) this season and leads the 200 field at 22.71.

Mark Sullivan, Caldwell: The sophomore and son of Caldwell head coach Troy Sullivan has inherited his family’s ability in the pole vault. He took second in the event last season with a clearance of 14-0.

GIRLS TO WATCH

Sophia Adams, Bishop Kelly: The reigning state champ in the discus — where she ranks first again this season with a throw of 122-8 — will try to sweep the throwing events as a senior in 2016. She ranks third in 4A in the shot put (38-1.75).

Auby Barr, Skyview: A two-time state champ in the pole vault with a 2A title at Nampa Christian as a freshman and a win with the Hawks last season, the junior leads the classification with a clearance of 11-6, which ranks second overall in the state.

Lita Forse, Caldwell: The junior is unbeaten in the shot put in three meets. Her throw of 40-2 on March 31 is the best in the state in any classification.

Tatum McGee, Bishop Kelly: The senior missed the second half of 2015 with a stress fracture in her shin. McGee ranks second in 4A in the 100 (12.81) and 200 (26.49).

Jayde Nielsen, Middleton: The senior swept the 100 and 200 last year to help Emmett win its first 3A team title since 2005, but then moved to Middleton. Despite a move up, Nielsen ranks first in the 100 (12.66) and fourth in the 200 (26.69).

Lindsey Schmidt, Bishop Kelly: With the graduation of two seniors ahead of her, Schmidt takes over 4A’s No. 1 ranking in the 100 hurdles (15.09), 300 hurdles (47.06) and high jump (5-2), where she is the defending state champ. The junior is also No. 2 in the triple jump (35-10).

Sena Stillman, Bishop Kelly: The junior ran a leg on BK’s state-winning 4x200 and 4x400 relays, and she specializes in the 400, an event she took sixth in at state last season. Stillman ranks third among 4A runners in the 400 this season.

Aly Tekippe, Bishop Kelly: The freshman is the only jumper in the state to surpass the 18-foot mark, jumping 18-1.5.

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