SANDPOINT — A handful of returning state placers will lead a strong contingent of 21 Bulldogs at the 4A state track championships on Friday and Saturday in Boise.
Leading the way will be junior Hannah Davidson, who finished second after a PR of 2:18 last year in the 800 meters. The girl that won returns, as well as a host of other strong newcomers, which Davidson hopes to use to her advantage.
“There’s a lot of good competition, let them push you,” said Davidson, who has two goals for state. “I want to PR and be in the top three.”
Senior Cole Hooper finished fourth last year in the pole vault, and has some lofty ambitions. Hooper, who set a personal best at state last year and has since raised it to 13-2, cleared 14-0 on the soft bar at practice this week and could be in the hunt to improve on last year’s fourth place finish. He’s also hoping to make one final run at the 14-9 SHS record during his third and last trip to Boise.
“Get on the podium and get higher than fourth. Hopefully compete for the top three and school record,” said Hooper of his goals, noting what will be key. “Not being intimidated by the competition and staying calm. I made all my jumps last year on first attempts.”
Junior Katherine Kaul currently has the highest ranked mark of any Bulldog, as her time of 5:20 in the 1,600 is third best in the 4A ranks. Kaul could also be poised to make some noise in the 3,200, but neither podium spot will come easy.
“The key with distance races is you never know if someone will take it out really hard, or a more strategic race with a hard last two laps,” explained Bulldogs head coach Matt Brass. “Having a contingency so you know what to do in either.”
Junior T.J. Davis surprised everyone when his first race of the season was good enough to win the 110 high hurdles at districts by .01 seconds and earn a trip to state. The 6-foot-5 three sport athlete suffered an awful ankle injury in the final game of the basketball season.
After missing the whole track season with his foot in a boot, Davis was cleared by doctors to compete just days before districts. He had hoped to contend for a state championship this year, but will settle for a spot in the finals at state.
“If I’m feeling good and the ankle feels good, there’s a shot,” he said, noting the timing simply isn’t there yet. “I’m going to run as hard as I can and hope for the best.”
Sophomore Jazmin Stockton is the lone Bulldog in four events, with a busy slate of 100, 200, 4x100 and 4x200. The 4x200 relay of Stockton, Valerie Wickboldt, Jaelyn Martin and Dana Beaty is within a second of the SHS school record, and would love to break it at state. The 4x100 team of Stockton, Wickboldt, Martin and Bailee Klopman should also have a good shot at making the podium.
Senior Spencer Bassett is competing in the triple jump and two relays, having missed out on the long jump by a half inch. He hit a jump that measured past the school record, but his to hit the board.
Fin Lund-Andersen will run the 3,200 and 1,600, earning a spot in the latter with an at-large time of 4:34.
“He proved just getting the at-large he’s top-eight,” said Brass. “His goal should be to go to a medalist spot of top six.”
The state meet takes place on Friday and Saturday at Donna Larsen Park in Boise.
n Bulldogs at state:
Katherine Kaul — 3,200 and 1,600.
Hannah Davidson — 800 and pole vault.
Yeo Yarnell — 800.
Fin Lund-Andersen — 3,200 and 1,600.
Kyle Almeida — 400.
Dana Beaty — 4x200 relay.
Valerie Wickboldt — 4x200 and 4x100 relays.
Jazmin Stockton — 4x200, 4x100, 100 and 200.
Jaelyn Martin — 4x200 and 4x100 relays.
Bailee Klopman — 4x100 relay.
Maddie Morgan — Triple jump and long jump.
Elaine Huang — High jump.
Erik Suhr — 4x200, 4x100 and 200.
Spencer Bassett — 4x100, 4x200 and triple jump.
Ammon Ollerton- — High jump, 4x200 and 4x100 relays.
Julian Barajas — 4x200 relay.
Tyren Witthaus — 4x100 relay.
T.J. Davis — 110 hurdles.
Zack Alamillo — Discus.
Cole Hooper — Pole vault.
Sam Diercks — Pole vault.