Wood River track makes strides with team effort
Christiansen, Senger lead way to seven golds
When disaster struck, Wood River High School sophomore
Ashley Howe had two choices Thursday during the Fourth District A-2 track and field meet
at ISDB in Gooding.
Howe, the overwhelming favorite in the 400-meter dash, could have felt
sorry for herself for false-starting and losing her chance for a trip to state.
Or she could have wiped away the flood of tears, elected to be a team
player and rooted like crazy for senior teammate Saesha Senger.
Howe was expected to win by a margin of three or four seconds. Senger,
running the open 400m for only the second time, wasnt expected to challenge at all
in the one-lap race.
In the blink of an eye, Howe made her decisionand it exemplified an
outstanding team effort by the Wood River girls track team at last weeks
state-qualifying SCIC track meet.
When the starting gun fired and the 400m sprinters took off, a distraught
Howe left the comforting arms of her coaches and started her own sprintdown the
middle of the field, trying to intercept the runners at the opposite end, before the final
As she ran, she brushed away the tears and forgot for a moment her own
Senger was fourth with 120 meters to go, some distance behind the leader.
Howe arrived and encouraged her, yelling loudly, with all the air left in her lungs,
Hearing this, Senger found an additional burst of speed. She ran like mad.
Improbably, Senger (1:05.2) won the 400m dash in a photo finish over Kari
Brown of Filer. Among the teammates who hugged and congratulated her was Ashley Howe.
Sengers unexpected 400m triumph was one of seven gold medals won by
Wood Rivers boys and girls.
The outcome was a significant improvement over last year, when Wood River
won only two district golds.
Wolverine senior Todd Christiansen repeated as district shotput king (50-7
½) and added the discus victory (145-8) by over seven feet.
It was the fourth straight year that a Wood River athlete has won the
district boys shotput title. Christiansen will likely need to tack on four feet in
shotput and 10 feet in discus to mount a threat at state.
Joining Christiansen as a double gold medal winner was Senger, who added a
second consecutive district triple jump victory (32-8) at ISDB.
Senior Kristi Toussaint (25.7) was the 200m dash winner for Wood
Rivers other individual gold. Toussaint, fifth in the 1999 state 200m, is tied for
best state qualifying time.
Although Howe wont be competing in the open 400m at the 83rd annual
Idaho State Track and Field Championships May 19-20 in Boise, she was an important member
of two winning relays.
Wednesday, Wood River won the 800m sprint medley relay (1:54.1) with
seniors Trudy Fochs and Sarah McCarthy at 100m, Toussaint at 200m and anchor Howe.
The Wolverines have the third-best medley time entering state. Last
years winning state time was 1:53.29.
On Thursday, after her 400m disqualification, Howe ran the opening leg of
Wood Rivers triumphant 1600m relay (4:18.0) with Toussaint, McCarthy and junior
Holly Hobson. Theyll need to improve six seconds to challenge.
The number of state qualifiers is an example of Wolverine track progress.
Last year, it was five girls in seven events, and one boy in two events.
This year its six girls in nine events, and three boys in four events.
Hobson made it with second places at 800m (2:29) and 1600m (5:57). Fochs,
sixth in the state high hurdles last May, qualified with a second place in the 100m high
hurdles (17.2) and third in the 300m intermediates (53.6).
Junior Tyler Metzel finished third in high jump (5-8) and junior Andrew
Slough second at 800m (2:07) to make state.
Unfortunately, soph sprinter Kipp Mills was involved in an unfortunate
incident during the 100m dash finals. As Wood River coach J.C. Nemecek said, it was
"the saddest commentary on honor in the meet."
Mills clearly placed third in the heat at 13.0 and should have qualified
for state, Nemecek said. But she was assigned a fourth-place finish, behind sophomore Sara
Boss of Filer.
He added, "Kipp placed, without question, third in the event. But the
picker did not select herrather the girl in fourth was picked third. Though the
coaches saw Kipp as third, the selection stood. What disappointed me the most was the
coach of the girl who was wrongfully placed third did not step forward and set the matter
The top three A-2 individuals and winning relay automatically advanced to
the state meet May 19-20 at Lyle Smith Field in Bronco Stadium.
On Friday, the boys A-2 high jump starts at 10:30 a.m., then the
boys discus and A-2 girls triple jump at 12 noon. The A-2 prelims and medley
relay final begins Friday at 5:30 p.m. after Parade of Athletes.
Saturday, the A-2 boys shotput is at 9 a.m. The A-2 running event
finals are Saturday at 12:45 p.m. A two-day pass costs $10.
Last weeks SCIC district meet results for Wood River:
100m: 4Kipp Mills 13.0 (personal best). Also: Caitlin Blanton
13.8 (season best), Missy Weisen 14.3. 200m: 1Kristi Toussaint 25.7 (personal
best). Also: Saesha Senger 28.1 (finalist), Kipp Mills 28.9, Caitlin Blanton 28.9
(personal best), Missy Wiesen 30.0 (season best). 400m: 1Saesha Senger
1:05.2. 800m: 2Holly Hobson 2:29. 1600m: 2Hobson 5:57.
6Krista Burns 6:25 (personal best). 3200m: 6Krista Burns 14:02.
100m high hurdles: 2Trudy Fochs 17.2. Also: Jessica Wamsley
21.2. 300m intermediates: 3Trudy Fochs 53.6. Also: Jessica Wamsley 1:03.7.
Long jump: 4Trudy Fochs 14-4 (season best). Also: Jessica
Wamsley 12-6. Triple jump: 1Saesha Senger 32-8. 4Jessica Wamsley 28-2
¼. Shotput: 5Tara Rushton 29-8. Also: Kristine Hilt 27-0. Discus:
4Tara Rushton 98-6 ½ (season best). 5Kristine Hilt 97-10 ¾ (personal best).
400m: 4Wood River (Sarah McCarthy, Missy Wiesen, Kipp Mills,
Caitlin Blanton) 55.0. 800m: 2Wood River (Sarah McCarthy, Kipp Mills, Caitlin
Blanton, Saesha Senger) 1:54.1.
Medley: 1Wood River (Trudy Fochs, Sarah McCarthy, Kristi
Toussaint, Ashley Howe) 1:54.1. 1600m: 1Wood River (Ashley Howe, Kristi
Toussaint, Sarah McCarthy, Holly Hobson) 4:18.0.
200m: Justin Koonce 28.4 (personal best). 400m: Dylan Welcome
56.4 (prelims, made finals), Gavin Reynolds 1:02.1. 800m: 2Andrew Slough
2:07. 1600m: Slough 5:07, Dylan Welcome 5:08 (personal best) and Blake Barney 5:21
(personal best). 3200m: Blake Barney 12:15.4.
110m high hurdles: 5Cole Everman 17.7. Also: Chad Hayward
17.9. 300m intermediate hurdles: Cole Everman 45.3, Chad Hayward 51.9.
High jump: 3Tyler Metzel 5-8. Long jump: 5Jeremy
Hayward 18-6 ½. Shotput: 1Todd Christiansen 50-7 ½. Discus:
1Todd Christiansen 145-8.
400m: 4Wood River (Jeremy Hayward, Tyler Metzel, Nic
Mitchell, Justin Koonce) 48.7.
Medley: 4Wood River (Tyler Metzel, Todd Christiansen, Dylan
Welcome, Andrew Slough) 3:58.2. 1600m: 5Wood River (Blake Barney, Tyler
Metzel, Gavin Reynolds, Dwight Smith) 4:12.