Memorial Day weekend will feature a flurry of high school track and field activity at Boise's Bronco Stadium. It should be hot stuff, maybe as hot as last weekend's sweltering 90-degree heat in Boise.
There, the United Dairymen of Idaho's 91st Idaho High School Track and Field Championships will be Thursday through Saturday, May 22-24. The big day will be Saturday's run finals for 1A small schools.
Carey High School has qualified 13 athletes—nine boys and four girls—for the State 1A meet. Fairfield's Camas County High School will send eight girls and three boys including a sophomore with a great chance of winning the discus Friday at 10:30 a.m. That's Jeff Ellingson.
Ellingson, already the Camas discus record holder, threw 152 feet and 3 inches to win the Fourth District 1A state-qualifying discus May 14 at Buhl High School track. That's the best toss in State 1A ranks by nine feet. Throwing for Carey last spring, Ellingson was fourth at state at 120-07.
You never know what's going to happen at state. But coach Lee Cook's Carey's boys with five senior qualifiers and three competitive relay teams are hoping to finish up an excellent spring season by winning a trophy this weekend.
Cook said, "I think we'll try to score 43 points. But I don't know if 43 will be good enough to win because there will be some good teams there like Oakley with their sprinters."
Oakley (43 points sprints, 20 relays including 4x100m and 4x200m victories) snuck up and relegated Carey to second place during last week's two-day Fourth District 1A meet at Buhl. Oakley finished with 132 points and Carey 118.5, just ahead of Lighthouse Christian Academy of Twin Falls 105.5.
As expected Carey did most of its damage in the distance runs with 61 points including senior Blake Whitby's gold medal in the 3200-meter run. Carey got its other gold from its 4x400m relay of Scott Ellsworth, Jacy Baird, Gonzalo Zarate and D.J. Simpson.
Dietrich's Scott Perron nosed out two Carey runners, Simpson and Whitby, to win the 800m and 1600m. Camas County senior Ben McLam was a photo-finish winner over Simpson in a great 300m intermediate hurdles final.
Providing the other gold medal from this area was Camas senior J.D. Jewett in shotput with a 43-10 effort. Jewett has been knocking at the door of the school shotput record held for over a generation by his father, Camas football coach Randy Jewett.
In the district girls' competition, Carey sophomore Amy Ellsworth won the 800m run by nearly five seconds and Camas County junior Hailey Gregory captured the 100m high hurdles. Raft River's girls won the team honor 184.5 to 93 over Shoshone with Camas (80) third and Carey (55) fourth.
Looking ahead to this weekend's state meet, Carey and Camas have a number of solid contenders, among them:
Girls: Amy Ellsworth third-best time 800m (2:31.54) and fourth-fastest at 1600m (5:46.24).
Boys: Besides Ellingson's legitimate discus chances, Camas' Ben McLam with the second-best time in 300m intermediates (41.54) and Carey's D.J. Simpson third (41.64); Simpson second-fastest 800m (2:03.44); Whitby's fourth-best 1600m (4:46.74); Tyler Parke's third-best high jump (6-2).
Carey's boys' 4x400m relay has the fastest qualifying time at 3:36.64 one second ahead of Coeur d'Alene Charter. Carey is third best in the 4x100m.
Last year's State 1A team championships were won by Raft River of Malta 65.5 to 49 over the Genesee boys, while the Prairie girls nipped Lapwai 76-75 for the girls' championship among 34 1A schools. Carey's boys (32) placed sixth.
It was Raft River's fourth consecutive State 1A boys' championship and eighth in 11 years, but that's unlikely to be repeated in 2008 since Raft River placed fourth in last week's Fourth District 1A meet.
The Carey boys, meanwhile, haven't placed in the top two at state since 2003 when they finished second to the Hansen Huskies in the final totals. That was as close as Carey has ever come to a state boys' track title.
It's also been five years since the Panthers have won an individual gold at state—when Destry Simpson (800m) and Shawn Hennefer (300m intermediate hurdles) took gold.
The 3200m finals for 3A/2A/1A classifications begin Friday at 9:30 a.m. at Lyle Smith Field. The 1A preliminary runs are Friday afternoon and finals are Saturday morning. Field events are each day.
Spectators are asked to use the east side of the stadium again this year. Finish line photos of running events will be available for purchase. General admission is $5 a day. Trophies go to the top four boys' and girls' teams in each class, and medals to the top six.
Carey, Camas State Track Qualifiers
From Carey High School
Blake Whitby (senior) 800m run, 1600m run, 3200m run
D.J. Simpson (senior) 800m run, 300m intermediate hurdles, 4x100m relay, 4x400m relay
Kade Peterson (senior) 800m run, 1600m run, 3200m run
Scott Ellsworth (senior) 400m dash, 4x200m relay, 4x400m relay
Tyler Parke (senior) high jump
Heith Adamson (junior) 4x100m relay, 4x200m relay
Gonzalo Zarate (sophomore) 4x100m relay, 4x200m relay, 4x400m relay
Dillon Simpson (sophomore) 3200m run
Jacy Baird (freshman) 4x100m relay, 4x200m relay, 4x400m relay
Kayla Bailey (junior) 300m intermediate hurdles
Shelby Hansen (junior) 100m high hurdles
Jessica Parke (sophomore) high jump
Amy Ellsworth (sophomore) 400m dash, 800m run, 1600m run, triple jump
From Camas County High School
Ben McLam (junior) 100m dash, 200m dash
J.W. Jewett (junior) discus
Jeff Ellingson (sophomore) discus
Paige Davies (senior) 4x100m relay
Kayme Backstrom (senior) medley relay
Toni Wear (junior) 100m high hurdles, 4x100m relay, medley relay
Hailey Gregory (junior) 100m high hurdles, 300m intermediate hurdles
Lindsey Peterson (junior) 100m dash, 200m dash, 4x100m relay, medley relay
Mollie McLam (junior) high jump, 4x100m relay
Tessa Rumsey (junior) medley relay
Megan Stampke (sophomore) 1600m run, 3200m run, medley relay
Northside All-Conference picks
The Northside 2008 All-Conference track and field was announced Monday, with Carey's Lee Cook and Candice Smith of Camas County voted "Coaches of the Year.
All-Conference athletes in the sprints (100-meter dash, 200m and 400m) were Lindsey Peterson and Ben McLam of Camas County, Jaron Stoddard of Dietrich and Morgan Hubsmith of Richfield.
Hurdles All-Stars were D.J. Simpson of Carey and McLam, along with Hailey Gregory and Toni Wear of Camas, and Jesse Dill of Dietrich.
Top distance runners (800m, 1600m and 3200) were Blake Whitby of Carey and Scott Perron of Dietrich, plus Taylor Astle of Shoshone and Amy Ellsworth of Carey.
All-Conference jumpers were Tyler Parke and Amy Ellsworth of Carey, Tel Clark and Morgan Hubsmith of Richfield. Field performers in the throws were Jeff Ellingson and J.D. Jewett of Camas, Kelly Perron of Shoshone and Amanda Hope of Gooding's ISDB.