SANDPOINT — A pair of potential individual state champs, as well as a host of relays that figure to be in contention for a state podium spot, highlight the 2018 Sandpoint track and field squad.
Seniors Hannah Davidson (800) and T.J. Davis (110/300 hurdles) hope to be in the mix for state titles, leading the boys and girls teams as more than 90 athletes turned out for the season.
Davidson, who finished second as a sophomore before setting a PR of 2:18.10 to finish third last year as a junior, knows full well what it takes to contend in her final attempt.
“Finish off strong and put it all out there. Not look back and think that I could have done better, but didn’t,” said Davidson of her goal. “Definitely work hard, so the state championship is a possibility. Train my best, know that I’ve done all that I can to get to that place.”
Davis was seventh as a sophomore in the 110 high hurdles, before missing most of last season with an ankle injury. Fully healthy, the 6-foot-6 strider is brimming with confidence heading into his senior season. He hopes to get down into the mid-14s, a time that wins state more often than not.
“I think I’ll win it in the 110 because of the work I’ve put in. There’s some fine tuning to do, but it’s mostly what I’ve already done,” said Davis, a three sport athlete who hopes to run track in college and feels speed and height are his strengths. “The hurdles aren’t as tall for me, it takes less effort to get over them.”
For Bulldog head coach Matt Brass, the two are part of a strong senior class that should once again be the favorites to win Regionals and get as many kids as possible to state.
“Strong senior class in performance and leadership. Leadership sets the tone early on. They have that focus from the beginning,” claimed Brass. “The boys have a lot of depth in sprints, relays and distances. I think we can make a good run at a regional title.”
The two girls that finished ahead of Davidson graduated, so if she can lower her school record, she’ll be in the mix for a title.
“Hannah had another great year of training. She’s looking for another top spot and lowering her school record,” said distance coach Angie Brass, who was asked about Davidson’s chances of finally breaking through for a win. “I like them a lot. She’s super on fire, last opportunity.”
Senior Katherine Kaul, who placed 7th in the 3,200 and 8th in the 1,600, will help lead a strong girls distance crew. Kaul would like to get on a state podium, and the goal is to medal in both races. She ran 5:18 last year at state in the 1,600, just six seconds off Danya Rumore’s school record of 5:12.
Junior Niah Brass, senior Kali Scheel and sophomore Heather Wallace will round out a strong distance crew, while senior Ciera Bailey and sophomore Paige Davidson could make some noise in the 400 meters.
Junior Ephriam Weisz posted the fastest mile time trial (4:48) to start the year, and will lead senior Garrett Pierce and juniors Kieran Wilder and Gabriel Merithew in the 3,200 and 1,600. Junior Sloan Woodward, Peik Lund-Andersen and senior Kyle Almeida give the Bulldogs depth in the middle distances.
“We could be taking most of those state berths across the board for distances,” said Angie Brass.
Seniors T.J. Davis, Julian Barajas and Ammon Ollterton will join junior Tyren Witthaus, sophomore Braedon Dressel and freshman Braden Kappen on some strong relay teams. Barajas and Ollerton were on the team that finished sixth at state in the 4X200 last year, and will be looking for better finishes this year in the relays.
“Those are definitely podium teams. I’m excited,” said sprints coach Tom Keener, who has lots of depth. “I don’t have spots for all of them. It’s a good problem to have.”
Juniors Jazmin Stockton, Valerie Wickbolt and Bailee Klopman return from a team that was sixth in the 4X100 last year at state. Seniors Ciera Bailey and Heather Yunek and sophomore Maddie Morgan will round out some strong sprint relay teams for the girls.
“Both could be state crews if they stay healthy. We’re real shallow,” admitted Keener, who feels Stockton could contend in the sprints. “Jaz has an excellent shot in the 100 and 200, she was the 10th fastest 100 time in the state last year. If she continues to improve, she could medal in the 100 and 200.”
Sophomore Maddie Morgan was sixth at state last year in the long jump, hitting a PR of 15-8 as well at 33-7 in the triple jump. With another year, the numbers could improve enough to put her in contention for a podium spot.
“She’ll go over 16 feet,” predicted jumps coach Dave DeMers. “She has a good shot at the school triple jump record. She goes 100 miles per hour.”
Senior Payton Finney soared over 19-0 last year in the long jump, and as a tall and strong athlete, could challenge the 20 foot mark, while Garrett Chandler will look to improve on his PR of 18-6 for the boys.
Senior Sam Diercks cleared 11-6 last year in the pole vault, and returns with state experience. New pole vault coach Paul Hill is hoping Diercks hits 12-0 early in the year, then 13-0 by the end of the season.
Hannah and Paige Davidson will both do the pole vault this year, with both showing the potential to clear 9-0 and make a run at a state podium.
Junior Elaine Huang went to state in the high jump last year, and will look to push past the 5-0 mark this season. Ammon Ollerton cleared 5-10 last year, and will look to clear 6-0 as a senior.
Paige Davidson is the lone female hurdler, and hopes to get her time under 50 seconds in the 300 hurdles.
DeMers is hoping for a big season for Davis in both hurdle events, knowing he’s athletic enough to contend with the best.
“He’s so much stronger this year, and his attitude is awesome. So fun to coach,” said DeMers. “If he stays healthy, I think he can podium in both the 110 and 300.”
Seniors Jarrett Mitton and J.J. Johnson will lead the Bulldog boys throwers, as coach Sean Lyon tries to get them in contention for a state berth.
Victoria Aylward, Grace Kirscher and Lilly Anderson will lead the girls throwers in the shot and discus.