The elite dozen: The top high school track athletes to watch out for this spring
Here’s how the fastest high school sprinters finished at state
The high school track season remains the ultimate test of athleticism as the state’s top competitors run not just against each other, but history.
Athletes throughout the Treasure Valley are just knocking off the cobwebs of a long winter. Below are the top ones gunning for their spot in the record books this summer.
TOP GIRLS TO WATCH
Maggie Liebich, Boise
The Princeton-bound senior came out of nowhere last season, setting the all-class state meet records in the 800 (2 minutes, 11.26 seconds) and 1,600 (4:46.87). She didn’t win either event at the district meet, but her 1,600 time was the 18th fastest in the country last season, according to athletic.net.
She won the Gatorade runner of the year award for the performance, which is given to the top female track athlete in the state regardless of classification.
Lexy Halladay, Mountain View
Injuries have plagued the junior the past year. But she enters the season as the three-time state cross country champ and with four state track titles already under her belt. She’ll battle with Liebich all season in the distance events with an eye on her her third straight championship in the 3,200 and taking back her 1,600 crown.
Emma Clark, Melba
The future Northwest Nazarene dual-sport athlete (basketball and track) has a trophy case already loaded with 10 state track championships. She’s qualified in the maximum four events as a freshman, sophomore and junior. She swept the 100 meters (12.70 seconds), pole vault (11 feet, 1 inches), long jump (18-1) and triple jump (39-0) titles last season.
Aly Tekippe, Bishop Kelly
Even with torn cartilage in her left knee, she won three state titles a year ago and nearly made it four. Tekippe took first place in the pole vault (11-0) and long jump (17-4.75), then ran the opening leg of a 4×200-relay team that set a 4A record at 1:42.68. Every member of that team returns this season.
Only a second-place finish in the 4×100 relay kept her from a clean sweep. Now that she’s fully healthy, the sky’s the limit.
Chloe Barylski, Ridgevue
The Warhawks’ first female state champ had never run the 100 before last season. But the sprinter immediately took to the race on her way to sweep the 100 (12.57) and 200 (25.17) 4A state titles. She also fell 0.14 seconds of first place in the 400 to a senior who graduated.
Autumn Kidd, Kuna
The junior has already won two state titles in arguably the sport’s toughest event, the 400. She’ll aim for a three-peat and battle with Barylski as the Kavemen move down to the 4A level. She’s also a threat to add a triple jump gold medal to her resume after finishing second in 5A at 36-4.5 last year.
TOP BOYS TO WATCH
Nathan Green, Borah
One of the West’s top young distance runners, the sophomore already has a state cross country and a state track championship (1,600) under his belt. He showed his big-time performances aren’t limited to Idaho by winning the mile at the Portland Track Festival in June in 4:15.81, the fastest mile in the nation by a freshman last year.
He also set personal records to finish ninth in the mile (4:12.51) and 10th in the 1,500 (3:56.78) at the New Balance Nationals Indoor championship earlier this month in New York, proving the best is still yet to come.
Nicholas Russell, Bishop Kelly
One of the most decorated cross country runners in state history with three individual state titles, the senior broke out on the track last year with 4A titles in the 1,600 (4:20.86) and 3,200 (9:36.25). He’ll attempt to etch his name into Idaho’s track history as well before running on a Division I scholarship with Santa Clara next year.
Caleb Stamper, Timberline
An 800-meter master, the senior has yet to find a match in Idaho. The Boise State signee won last year’s 5A state meet in 1:52.60, 3.14 seconds ahead of second place. The performance earned him his second state title in the event and the state’s all-class track athlete of the year award.
Magnus Hemingway, Mountain View
The junior turned in the fastest 100-meter time in the state last year at 10.75 seconds but lost out on the 5A state title by .04 seconds. He’ll get a chance to make up for that heartbreak and starts the year as the heavy favorite.
Landon Helms, Emmett
The freshman placed fifth in the pole vault in the emerging elite division at the New Balance Nationals Indoor championships at 14-10. He also cleared 15 feet this winter, a mark only six Idaho pole vaulters topped last year.
He’s no one-trick pony though. His 110-hurdle time of 14.82 seconds at his first high school meet would have won every classification’s state title last season except for 5A.
Josh Nichols, North Star Charter
The senior unfurled the fourth longest triple jump in the state last season at 44-11 to win the 1A state championship. He opened the season with a jump of 44-4, comfortably the best so far this season. And he set a personal record by dropping a 45-1 in February during the indoor season.
5A, 4A STATE MEET MOVING TO EAGLE
The 5A and 4A state championships are leaving Dona Larsen Park in Downtown Boise, their home for the past five years. Instead, Eagle High will host the state meets May 17 and 18 after installing a new track surface last summer.
The 3A, 2A and 1A meets will remain at Middleton High.
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