EAGLE — Imagine preparing the entire season — whether its running hundreds of miles, doing innumerable reps in the weight room, or painstakingly measuring steps on the runways — then earning a state berth at districts and making the eight-plus hour drive down to Boise for the Idaho state meet, only to have nearly all of the field events postponed because of constant rainstorms.
Some things simply can’t be controlled.
Although Sandpoint athletes like Brandon Casey (discus) and Elaine Huang (high jump) had their events postponed until Saturday, a handful of Bulldogs braved the rain in order either try to make finals, or end their seasons the podium.
Here’s an overview of what Sandpoint, Clark Fork and Priest River athletes accomplished during the first day of the Idaho State Track and Field Championships.
Sandpoint sophomore Nikolai Braedt breaks 10 in the 3200 meters
A mere 30 minutes after the 4A-5A coaches’ meeting brought news of the day’s postponements, Sandpoint’s duo of Nikolai Braedt and Brady Nelsen toed the line of the most grueling event the distance events have to offer.
Yet despite the conditions, Braedt powered through his surroundings and used this season’s toughest competition to break the 10-minute barrier for the first time ever.
“I knew that I was going to do better in this weather than in the heat,” Braedt said afterwards, uniform still sopping wet from the rain. “I kind of liked it.”
Although both Bulldogs were seeded at the bottom of the heat sheet, Braedt and Nelsen knew going into the race that they would have to latch onto their opponents and avoid getting stuck in no-man’s-land — something that would further complicate an already-difficult race.
Braedt stuck with the middle pack for the first mile, yet the leaders pulled away, thinning out the pack. Although Braedt didn’t prefer running with only a couple of runners during the latter half of the race, he knows that setting a new personal best in less-than-ideal circumstances will give him confidence for today’s 1600 meter race.
“I feel really good,” Braedt said. “I’m actually very excited for the mile. With the mile, there’s not as big of a chance that I’ll be left alone. Always having someone there and having Jett [Lucas, Sandpoint sophomore] there will be a good race.”
Braedt will run the 1600 meters this afternoon. Nelsen finished his junior season with a 10:15.51.
Clark Fork’s Sara Hathaway makes finals in 100, 300 hurdles
Clark Fork junior hurdler Sara Hathaway qualified for the finals in both the hurdling events for the second year in a row, which is a notable feat in and of itself.
Yet Hathaway also managed to set a new PR in the 100 meter hurdles with a 16.55 in the process, setting up what should be a close finish in that event tomorrow.
Familiar faces await in both the 100 and 300 meter finals. Hathaway isn’t the only state stalwart: Zailee Poulson (Castleford), Ashlyn Gerlock (Tri-Valley) and defending champion Kristin Carlin out of Notus will compete with Hathaway for the state titles.
Over in the 300 hurdles, Hathaway finished with a 49.49 — good for fourth in a stacked first heat. The junior also closed out her season with a 4-6 in the high jump.
Priest River’s Teagun Holycross nearly wins 100 heat, qualifies for the finals in the 300 hurdles
Stop if this sounds familiar: Priest River junior Teagun Holycross tied his PR in the 100 meters with an 11.21 and punched his ticket to the finals in the 300 meters (42.35) as well.
As a sprinter and a hurdler, Holycross has a unique challenge for a sprinter: Given the way the 300 and the 200 fall in the meet order, he usually has to run the 200 on little-to-no rest.
Despite the quick turnaround, Holycross finished his season with a 23.62 in the 200. He was the first athlete out of the finals.
Day two of the Idaho State Track and Field Championships starts today at 8 a.m. Sandpoint, along with the other 4A and 5A schools, will compete at Eagle High School.
Here’s where things get complicated. Because of the weather delays, the 5A girls shot put, 4A girls discus, 4A boys high jump and 5A girls pole vault will start at 9 a.m. The 5A boys shot, 4A boys discus, 4A girls high jump and 5A boys pole vault will start at 11 a.m. Then the events originally scheduled for 9 a.m. will follow.
Lastly, to the dismay of tens of people, the Parade of Athletes has been canceled.
Clark Fork and Priest River will be at Middleton High School. Their schedule is unchanged.