POCATELLO — The Sandpoint boys cross country team finished fifth at the 4A state championships Saturday while the girls took 10th.
The top four teams place at state and the boys ended up 26 points behind fourth place Pocatello for the final placing position.
“They were running against teams who lived here and we just came up a little bit short,” boys cross country head coach Matt Brass said about his team’s performance. “Fifth place is always a rough spot to be because its one spot out of the podium, but there were 15 teams on the line and they got fifth so I’m still really proud of them.”
Individually, junior Jett Lucas was the only Bulldog that medaled taking 15th in the boys race with a time of 16:06.
Matt said junior Nikolai Braedt had a chance to medal as well but with about 500 meters left in the race he fell, lost about 10 spots and was unable to recover. Braedt ended up finishing 34th. Junior Keegan Nelson captured 38th, senior Gabe Christman claimed 43rd, sophomore Trey Clark secured 59th, senior Seth Graham took 63rd and senior Brady Nelsen placed 83rd to wrap up the Bulldog boys that competed at state.
On the girls side, senior Paige Davidson led the way for the Bulldogs taking 33rd with a time of 20:14.
Senior Bionce Vincent, and sophomores Mackenzie Suhy-Gregoire and Megan Oulman finished within six seconds of each other to place 62nd, 64th and 65th respectively.
Sophomore Jillian Primgaard secured 78th, freshman Ara Clark captured 83rd and senior Maddie Morgan took 86th.
Girls cross country head coach Angie Brass said all the girls ran hard and left everything out on the course.
“It’s always tough when that last state race isn’t indicative of how successful the season has been and how well they’ve been doing,” she said, “so it’s a tough note to end on but I am very proud of all of them.”
Matt and Angie said the elevation of the state course had a significant effect on their athletes as several of them had a difficult time breathing after they crossed the finish line.
“Its a tough scenario for us every three years to go to Pocatello knowing that’s the venue,” Angie said.
The boys team had a record breaking season which saw the Bulldogs beat their previous best pack time by over 40 seconds.
Matt had high praise for his team and what they were able to accomplish this year.
“I think they’re the best boys team the school has ever had,” he said. “They set a new bar for Sandpoint cross country.”
Matt and Angie both said they have seen a significant up-tick in the level of competition across 4A in the past three years. Matt even said that any of the teams that finished in the top five at state this season on the boys side could’ve won the state title in 2016 and any year prior to that.
The future is bright for the Bulldogs as the boys and girls both return a majority of the runners that competed in state.
Matt and Angie said this year’s team was so tight-knit and unselfish that it made coaching easy.
“They all race for each other so I think they were hoping for a different outcome as well but its been a great season,” Angie said.
“They’re best friends, I think that’s what made the season so special to coach but also for them,” Matt added.
4A girls varsity
Team scores — 1, Idaho Falls 65. 2, Bishop Kelly 88. 3, Twin Falls 114. 4, Skyline 143. 5, Kuna 147. 6, Pocatello 152. 7, Preston 178. 8, Nampa, 220. 9, Century 244. 10, Sandpoint 261.
Sandpoint results — 33, Paige Davidson, 20:14.3. 62, Bionce Vincent, 21:02.4. 64, Mackenzie Suhy-Gregoire, 21:07.5. 65, Megan Oulman, 21:08.1. 78, Jillian Primgaard, 21:26.6. 83, Ara Clark, 21:34.2. 86, Maddie Morgan, 21:42.4.
4A boys varsity
Team scores — 1, Idaho Falls 54. 2, Preston 75. 3, Kuna 77. 4, Pocatello 142. 5, Sandpoint 168. 6, Blackfoot 172. 7, Skyline 226. 8, Ridgevue 234. 9, Bishop Kelly 247. 10, Vallivue 247.
Sandpoint results — 15, Jett Lucas, 16:06.7. 34, Nikolai Braedt, 16:28.9. 38, Keegan Nelson, 16:38.0. 43, Gabe Christman, 16:45.8. 59, Trey Clark, 17:02.4. 63, Seth Graham, 17:10.2. 83, Brady Nelsen, 17:41.6.