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Record Times Highlight 2022 Idaho State Cross Country Championships
The record book will have to be re-written after several outstanding performances Saturday
Published: 10/31/2022 10:20:36 AM
Marlowe Hereford
Contributing Writer


Five sub-15 minute boys times and a sub-17 minute girls time are the latest accomplishments by Idaho cross country runners in yet another impressive season that ended with Saturday's state meet in Lewiston.

Rocky Mountain junior Landon Heemeyer, who won the Bob Firman Invitational boys elite race on Sept. 24, and teammate Tyler Sainsbury, a senior, went 1-2 in the 5A boys race with respective times of 14:38.79 and 14:51.53 en route to the Grizzlies repeating as 5A state champions with 30 points. Heemeyer's time is the fastest 5k time on record for an Idaho boy, and it was his fourth sub-15 time this season. Cody Lucas (seventh in 15:26.79), Keith Uitdewilligen (eighth in 15:27.06) and Hunter Hill (12th in 15:33.25) also claimed medals for Rocky Mountain, which has won five of the last seven 5A boys state titles. 

Heemeyer and Sainsbury have broken 15 minutes multiple times this season. 

"It's the best (Idaho) boys team I've ever seen," said Boise head coach Aaron Olswanger, whose girls team won a fifth consecutive 5A state team title Saturday. 

The Brave got medals from Allie Bruce (second in 17:46.84), Samantha Smith (seventh in 18:07.68), Lydia Nance (ninth in 18:10.56) and Zoe Sims (11th in 18:13.16) and all seven runners placed in the top 40 en route to a score of 54. 

Winning five consecutive titles was still sinking in for Olswanger on the bus ride back to Boise on Saturday night. 

"The fifth one, it's still hitting me," Olswanger said.

He had high praise for his new varsity girls runners in their state debuts, junior Sophia Clark among them. 

"A girl like Sophia Clark, she's a 100 and 200 runner, she won a state championship with soccer, she's the sweetest thing but she's fierce," Olswanger said of Clark, who was 33rd in 19:04.19 on Saturday. 

Smith decided to run Saturday even with a quick turnaround from arriving home Wednesday after spending almost the entirety of October with the U.S. team at the U-17 FIFA Women's World Cup in India. The U.S. was eliminated by Nigeria in a quarterfinals penalty shootout loss on Oct. 21, and Olswanger said there was difficulty finding a flight out of India with enough seats for the team, coaches and trainers. He heard from her upon her return home and she wanted to run at state. 

Saturday was her first meet since Sept. 24 at Bob Firman, where she placed fourth in the elite girls race in 18:00.1.

"She wanted to help out the team," Olswanger said. "I knew she wasn't in the best shape she wanted to be individually, but she still got top 10."

Post Falls senior Annastasia Peters set herself apart Saturday, running 16:56.07 to win the 5A girls individual title by almost 50 seconds over Bruce. The only Idaho girl on record to break 17 minutes for a 5k, Peters ran 16:53 on that same course at last year's Inland Empire Challenge. 

Thus far this season, Peters is undefeated in the 5k and has broken 18 minutes in all but one race. 

Olswanger said the 5A girls race 'was over' from the gun, and he had instructed his girls to not chase Peters. 

"Four hundred meters in, (Peters) had an eight second lead," Olswanger said. "I haven't seen anything like that in a long time. From a team perspective, I didn't want Allie or anyone to go out with her."

Olswanger took a moment to compliment Bruce, who persevered for a second place finish and separated hrself from a pack roughly one mile into the race.

"I am so proud of Allie," he said. "She had such a great day. Allie was by herself most of that race, too."

Olswanger said Boise is going to enjoy the moment this weekend before preparing for Nike Cross Northwest, which takes place Nov. 12 at Eagle Island State Park and will be a Nike Cross Nationals qualifier for the first time since 2019. Boise also claimed its best boys finish at state since 2009 on Saturday, edging Coeur d'Alene by two points for second place. 

When state was last in Lewiston in 2018, Boise qualfied two individual boys.

"This program has come such a long ways," Olswanger said. "Coeur d'Alene was good. Their top four were so tough. They beat us up front a little bit, but our depth was so strong. Our six and seven guys were huge because they knocked out Coeur d'Alene's fifth."

A pair of District 6 runners claimed 4A individual state titles. Skyline junior Nelah Roberts, a 2021 Eastbay Nationals qualifier, joined a select group by winning a third consecutive 4A individual state title in a personal best and new all-time eastern Idaho best 17:31.71. She is one of eight Idaho girls of any classification to win three individual state cross country titles since girls cross country state meets began in Idaho in 1974.

Furthermore, she is one of six Idaho girls to win three titles in a row and she joins Twin Falls' Mattalyn Geddes as the only 4A girls to win three straight titles. 

"I'm still processing it," Roberts said Saturday by phone. "It's all been so surreal. I never thought I'd be as good as (2021 Skyline graduate) Sariah (Harrison), and now I'm running faster. I'm just so grateful for everything."

Winning this title was harder than last year, she said. 

"(Teammate) Marina (Renna) stuck with me for the first mile," Roberts said.

"(Pocatello's) Bailey Bird was right behind me. I could hear her. I stuck through and kinda opened up the gap."

Roberts said Saturday gave her an opportunity for redemption after placing third in 18:18 on the same course on Oct. 1 at the Inland Empire Championships. She hadn't felt her best at that meet, and she took the next two weeks off as she realized she was at risk of becoming injured from overtraining. 

"That was kind of a wake up call," Roberts said of her time off. "My dad sat me down and said, 'If you run in college, this is gonna be really important to know.'"

Next on the agenda is Nike Cross Northwest, and Roberts said she will be listening to her body as she prepares for that meet.  

Eastern Idaho collected all four 4A girls trophies and three 4A boys trophies. Bethany Moore (ninth in 18:43.08), Angelie Scott (10th in 18:48.57), Myah Atchley (11th in 18:49.56), Maren Leffler (12th in 18:49.72) and Elly Jeppsen (19th in 18:54.8) earned medals and led Preston to top 25 finishes from all seven runners en route to a repeat 4A state championship with 61 points. Roberts' individual win was one of five top-35 finishes for Skyline, which took second place with a score of 97. 

Blackfoot senior Matt Thomas kept the 4A boys individual state title with the Broncos for another year and broke the 15-minute barrier in the process, running a personal best 14:47.61 to win a year after teammate Eli Gregory became individual state champion. It is the second sub-15 time of his career. 

"That was definitely a goal for me," Thomas said Saturday by phone. "My main goal was to push the pace."

Thomas, who said he plans to run at Nike Cross Northwest and the RunningLane National Championships in Alabama, said he is grateful for being part of Blackfoot's ascension as a program the last four years. 

"It's been awesome," Thomas said. "Blackfoot's really kind of risen and made a name for themselves with Eli winning last year, me this year. We've got a great program and our coaches, it all kinda came together."

Second and third place finishers Stockton Stevens of Twin Falls and Austin Clough of Bishop Kelly also broke 15, running respective times of 14:54.07 and 14:58.19.

Along with Clough, Isaac Edwards (eighth in 15:35.16), Kevin Corrigan (ninth in 15:40.50), Charlie Goss (14th in 15:52.08) and Jack Tobin (19th place in 15:54.40) also medaled for the Knights en route to winning their first boys state title since 2008 with a score of 53.

One eastern Idaho team flipped the script on another eastern Idaho team in the 3A girls race. Hailey Dalling (seventh in 19:28.51), Kate Dickson (11th in 19:40.33) and Abigail Anderson (20th in 20:11.94) medaled for Sugar-Salem, which edged Snake River 74-76 to win its eighth state title in program history and give coach Brett Hill his 51st state title between track and cross country in his careers at Firth and Sugar-Salem. 

A year ago, it was Snake River that edged Sugar-Salem by two points for the title. 

Through the first mile Saturday, Hil said Sugar-Salem didn't have a single runner in the top 30. 

"It had my heart rate going," Hill said. "By mile two, we were battling with Teton, Snake River and Coeur d'Alene Charter for trophies. Going in, we were ranked No. 3. It was really an upset today for us."

McKenna Kozeluh, a senior from Coeur d'Alene Charter who has only been beaten by 5A champ Peters this season, repeated as 3A girls individual champion in 17:43.8. Hill advised his girls not to chase her, knowing she would set a fast pace. 

"The Coeur d'Alene Charter girl, she's looking at an elite Division I scholarship," Hill said. 

Ben Browning (third in 15:51.51), Grayden Devries (fourth in 15:55.11) and Joe Hopkins (15th in 16:47.47) medaled for Kimberly, which snapped Sugar-Salem's seven-year run of 3A boys state titles with a winning score of 74 for its first title in program history. 

Hill said Browning made the difference for Kimberly. 

"Browning, he came out of nowhere," Hill said. 

Timberlake junior Jacob Barnhart ran 15:47.56 to win the 3A boys individual state title.

District 5 rivals claimed the 2A team titles. Powerhouse Soda Springs reclaimed its perch atop 2A, getting medals from Lizzie Beutler (seventh in 19:20.13), Ellie Wood (13th in 19:44.72), Jinettie Gilbert (15th in 19:45.65) and Hannah Evans (18th in 19:52.18) en route to a winning score of 51. Soda Springs, which took second place the previous two seasons by slim margins, has now won 15 girls cross country state titles.

Cameron Moore, a senior at the Ambrose School, ran 18:33.04 to repeat as 2A girls individual state champion. West Side had medalists in Bradyn Noreen (fourth in 15:59.10), Grant Clawson (sixth in 16:14.70) and Ethan Willis (10th in 16:38.90) to win the 2A boys state title with a score of 66 points. Eastern Idaho also claimed the 2A boys individual state title: North Fremont sophomore Corbin Johnston ran a winning time of 15:21.3 to bring his win total to seven this season. 

A year after taking second place by two points, Raft River won the 1A state title with the lowest girls score of the day: 32 points. The Trojans, who had a repeat individual state champion in junior Allie Black (18:34.3), also got medals from Haven Campbell (seventh 20:02.83), Audrey Gilbert (12th in 20:23.15), Libby Boden (15th in 20:33.51) and Naomi Campbell (16th in 20:39.39).

Both the 1A boys team and individual state titles went to Victory Charter for a second consecutive year. Senior Ian Stockett repeated as individual champion in 15:19.49 while Luke Stockett (fourth in 15:40.52), Benton Bernard (12th in 16:47.32), Brody Hunt (16th in 17:00.88), Asher Pirvu (18th in 17:07.27) and Connor-Douglas Robbins (20th in 17:17.16) also medaled for the Vipers, who won with a score of 48. 

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