A rare chance for athletes to compete

by Dylan Greene
Sports Editor | June 22, 2020 11:35 PM

SANDPOINT — A rare event took place Saturday at Sandpoint High School — a track meet.

Track meets are typical during most springs and summers, but not this year. Not in the midst of global pandemic that has changed what we call normal.

Spring high school sports in Idaho and across the country were canceled months ago and organized sporting events during that time have been essentially nonexistent. But the Sandpoint Open welcomed about 60 athletes from 10 different area schools to participate in one of the first and most likely the last meet of the 2020 spring season.

The event was an open meet so it was not sanctioned by the Idaho High School Activities Association, and each athlete had to sign a waiver to participate.

Track stars from Bonners Ferry, Priest River, Timberlake, Sandpoint, Coeur d’Alene, Lake City, Post Falls and Lakeland all competed in the event that had to follow strict guidelines in order to be allowed.

Matt Brass, head track coach at SHS, organized the meet. He said Lake Pend Oreille School District Superintendent Tom Albertson, a former track coach at SHS, has been in contact with the Panhandle Health District daily over the past few months and they gave the thumbs up for the meet as long as social distancing was followed and large groups of people didn’t form.

The event also landed on the day when the state of Idaho moved to stage 4 of Gov. Brad Little’s Idaho Rebounds plan, which allows gatherings of more than 50 people “where appropriate physical distancing and precautionary measures are observed,” according to the plan.

To ensure the event met those precautionary measures, Brass spaced out the meet.

“The idea of the meet was to keep it small and spaced out to make sure there was always a small amount of people on the track at once,” he said.

About every 15-30 minutes an event was held. Occasionally, field and running events occurred at the same time but they were far enough apart from one another that physical distancing wasn’t an issue. The meet started at 10 a.m. and lasted roughly six hours.

After athletes finished an event they exited the track. Some athletes went home after one event, while others waited around and reentered the track when their next scheduled event came up.

Brass also put a cap on the amount of athletes who were able to compete in each event and only held one heat for each running event.

“We controlled every entry that was coming in so that we could make sure that it didn’t get any bigger than it was supposed to,” Brass said.

Brass started thinking about holding a smaller track meet some time this summer soon after the IHSAA canceled the spring season in early April. Once Idaho began rolling through the stages laid out by the governor the idea became most realistic.

Once the pieces started falling together in late May, Brass reached out to coaches in the area and eventually word spread about the meet. Even a couple athletes from Washington made the trip, including Ferris High’s Cole Omlin, a junior jumper who has already committed to Texas Tech.

Brass was surprised by how many athletes were interested in competing.

“Some of them hadn’t even been training much but they just wanted a shot at it,” Brass said. “They just wanted a chance to come and be part of their sport again and to feel that energy and excitement to be in a track meet.”

About half of the athletes who participated were seniors, and they are the reason Brass wanted to hold the event.

The meet was the coaches’ way of saying thank you to the seniors that have committed the last four years of their lives to track, Brass said.

“If we could do something within the bounds of what society allows us to do right now to give them a shot at just getting a finality to all that work that they put in,” he said, “and all the commitment that they put in, it’s the least that we can do.”

Lake City’s Angelyca Chapman, the defending state champ in the 400 and runner-up in the 200, shined the brightest. She won the girls 200 with a personal record time of 25.02 and took first in the 400 as well.

Bonners Ferry’s Victoria Rae swept the girls discus and shot put events while Timberlake’s Blayre Jeffs finished runner-up in both events and smashed her PR in the discus.

Also representing the Badgers was Abigail Gorton, who finished second in the girls’ 3200-meter run.

Both Rae and Gorton are recently-graduated seniors who won state titles during their junior track seasons.

Dylan Lovett from Post Falls beat out her other two competitors, Sandpoint’s Maddie Morgan and Anna Reinink, to claim first in the girls long jump.

In the boys 3200, Timberlake senior Logan Hunt nearly set a new PR with a time of 9:42 to take first while Sandpoint’s Nikolai Braedt and Jett Lucas took second and third respectively with PR’s of their own.

Six boys competed in the 100 and Sandpoint junior Braden Kappen edged out Priest River’s Teagun Holycross, who won the 200, with a PR of 11.29. Kappen also tied the school record in the long jump.

Sandpoint senior Brandon Casey swept the boys discus and shot put over Timberlake senior Jeremy McLemore and Jacob Howlett, a senior from Post Falls, crushed his PR by nearly a foot to claim the pole vault.

Twenty-four of the athletes who competed were from Sandpoint. Paige Davidson, a senior at SHS, competed in five different events.

“Running is something I can do forever but running with this team is not something I can do forever,” Bionce Vincent, a senior at Sandpoint who won the 800 and 1600, said about her motivation for competing in the meet.

BOYS

100 — 1, Braden Kappen, Sandpoint, 11.29. 2, Teagun Holycross, Priest River, 11.34. 3, Braedon Dressel, Sandpoint, 11.53.

200 — 1, Teagun Holycross, Priest River, 23.09. 2, Braden Kappen, Sandpoint, 23.36. 3, Braedon Dressel, Sandpoint, 23.62.

800 — 1, Ben Ricks, Sandpoint, 2:07.05. 2, Sawyer Crenshaw, Post Falls, 2:15.91. 3, Brycen Kempton, Post Falls, 2:22.87.

1600 — 1, Matthew Burgstahler, unattached, 4:28.43. 2, Nikolai Braedt, Sandpoint, 4:30.30, 3, Jett Lucas, Sandpoint, 4:36.80.

3200 — 1, Logan Hunt, Timberlake, 9:42.91. 2, Nikolai Braedt, Sandpoint, 9:52.18. 3, Jett Lucas, Sandpoint, 9:55.61.

100 hurdles — 1, Jerrel Dollente, Post Falls, 17.21. 2, Jack Reynolds, Post Falls, 17.73.

300 hurdles — 1, Jerrel Dollente, Post Falls, 43.02. 2, Jack Reynolds, Post Falls, 44.59.

Shot put — 1, Brandon Casey, Sandpoint, 44-8. 2, Jeremy McLemore, Timberlake, 44-1 1/2. 3, Preston Jeffs, Timberlake, 37-8.

Discus — 1, Brandon Casey, Sandpoint, 140-1 1/2. 2, Jeremy McLemore, Timberlake, 133-4. 3, Preston Jeffs, Timberlake, 103-7.

Pole vault — 1, Jacob Howlett, Post Falls, 13-5. 2, Lars Horning, Post Falls, 12-6. 3, Ben Zubaly, Lakeland, 12-6.

Long jump — 1, Cole Omlin, unattached, 21-11.75. 2, Braden Kappen, Sandpoint, 21-6. 3, Ian Gardom, Timberlake, 18-1.

Triple jump — 1, Chase Berg, Post Falls, 40-2. 2, Ian Gordon, Timberlake, 39-1 1/2.

GIRLS

100 — 1, Kate Fleming, Post Falls, 13.22. 2, Anna Reinink, Sandpoint, 13.83.

200 — 1, Angelyca Chapman, Lake City, 25.02, 2, Katie Fleming, Post Falls, 27.31. 3, Anna Reinink, Sandpoint, 27.75.

400 — 1, Angelyca Chapman, Lake City, 58.11, 2, Jillian Primgaard, Sandpoint, 1:03.98. 3, Maren Davidson, Sandpoint, 1:04.10.

800 — 1, Bionce Vincent, Sandpoint, 2:28.03. 2, Ciera Bailey, unattached, 2:32.79. 3, Camille Neuder, 2:42.81.

1600 — 1, Bionce Vincent, Sandpoint, 5:48.83. 2, Paige Davidson, Sandpoint, 5:59.41. 3, Mackenzie Suhy-Gregoire, Sandpoint, 6:00.76.

3200 — 1, Mackenzie Suhy-Gregoire, Sandpoint 12:41.62. 2, Abigail Gorton, Bonners Ferry, 12:59.57.

100 hurdles — 1, Darby Soliday, unattached, 15.86. 2, Sara Hathaway, Clark Fork, 17.15. 3, Paige Davidson, Sandpoint, 17.36.

300 hurdles — 1, Darby Soliday, unattached, 45.70. 2, Paige Davidson, Sandpoint, 48.66. 3, Sara Hathaway, Clark Fork, 48.68.

Shot put — 1, Victoria Rae, Bonners Ferry, 39-3. 2, Blayre Jeffs, Timberlake, 37-7. 3, Kayla Remsen, Sandpoint, 29-8.

Discus — 1, Victoria Rae, Bonners Ferry, 127-8. 2, Blayre Jeffs, Timberlake, 124-10. 3, Lizzy Wensley, Lake City, 113-7.

Pole vault — 1, Paige Davidson, Sandpoint, 8-6. 2, Quinn Hooper. Sandpoint, 7-0, 2, Tiffany Brown, Sandpoint, 7-0.

Long jump — 1, Dylan Lovett, Post Falls, 15-8.25. 2, Maddie Morgan, Sandpoint, 13-5. 3, Anna Reinink, Sandpoint, 13-4.

Triple jump — 1, Maddie Morgan, Sandpoint, 30-9.

photo

Bonners Ferry senior Victoria Rae winds up to throw the discus during Saturday’s Sandpoint Open. Rae swept the girls discus and shot put events at the meet.