The District III Track and Field Championships Friday and Saturday in Boise saw ten different Emmett High athletes qualify to participate in the Idaho High School State Championships this weekend at Eagle High.
The ten athletes will occupy 16 spots in 11 different events. They represent the largest contingent of EHS athletes qualifying for State since the school’s return to the 4A ranks in 2017. The strong performance was also evident in Emmett’s boys placing second to six-time District Champion Bishop Kelly in the team race.
The Emmett girl’s team put three athletes into State and earned enough points to grab the sixth spot as Bishop Kelly’s girls won their ninth consecutive District crown.
Four Emmett athletes will be competing in multiple events, including junior Landon Helms who won three individual District Championships and placed fourth in another to reach the maximum qualifying slots possible. Also with multiple entries are seniors Tyler Barry and Lacy Yates and sophomore Tatum Richards.
Helms, who won two State titles as a freshman, will be the returning champion from 2019 in the pole vault and the 110 meter hurdles. There were no State track championships in 2020 so 2019 winners are considered defending champions.
Helms won the pole vault with ease. He didn’t even enter competition until all the others had reached their maximum heights and misses. He cleared 14 feet and 15 feet with ease on his first attempts to assure the crown and then came up short on three tries of a new District meet record at 15’7”. Helms has only been cleared for pole vaulting the last four weeks after recovering from a series of surgeries on a foot this winter and spring. Helms won the event in 2019 with a 15’6” effort which set the 4A state record. He will be looking to reset that this week and take aim at the overall State high school meet record of 16’6” set by Donovan Kilmartin for 5A Eagle in 2003. Helms’s personal best is 16’10” set at an indoor national meet in January 2020 but its not recognized by the IHSAA for state purposes.
Helms personal best in the 110 meter hurdles came in winning the state title in 2019. Saturday’s time of 14.62 was the fastest he has run the event since the state crown. He added a win in the 300 meter hurdles Saturday with a time of 40.04 which is just a half second off the time he posted in taking third in that event two years ago.
Helms has added a fourth point of attack this season. While rehabbing from his surgeries, he took up long jump as an early therapy. Saturday he finished fourth in the event with a leap of 20’10.25”, less than a foot behind the winner to make him a medal threat in all four events this week.
Helms will be shooting to match or eclipse the three titles won by Chase Armstrong in 2016.
Also looking for multiple golds will be Yates and Richards.
Yates won the State discus in 2018 as a freshman, and place third in the event on a broken foot in 2019. She was all-state in the shotput with a fifth place finish in 2018.
Friday Yates defended her discus crown, winning the event with a throw of 143’10, not far off her school record of 148’6.5” set earlier this year. She finished second in the shot put with a toss of 35’7” on Saturday.
Richards set a District III record in the pole vault on Friday with a jump of 12’8”, breaking the previous record set by Julene Bailey of Skyview in 2002. It was still a couple inches shy of the school record she set the previous weekend at the BYU High School invitational in Provo. Bailey’s mark is also the State 4A record that Richards will have her sights set on Saturday morning.
The sophomore will also be among the favorites this weekend in the 100 meter hurdles. She won the District title in a time of 16.55.
The fourth Huskie who will be splitting his efforts into multiple events will be senior Tyler Barry. Barry finished fourth in each the discus and shotput events as Emmett put multiple competitors into the state field in each event.
Emmett took four of the top seven spots in the shot put with Axel Sanchez leading the way with a 52’11” heave to finish second just ahead of Beauhunter Brown and Barry. Brown set a new PR in the event to qualify for state. Hunter Enick just missed making the field as well with a new PR.
Enick’s new PR in the discus, however, was enough to make the field. Enick was Emmett’s top placer in the event for third, just ahead of Barry. Brown just missed getting the fifth and final spot.
Surprisingly not in the discus field is senior Sanchez. After recording a school record last week at New Plymouth, Sanchez saw all three qualifying tosses miss the vector range for landing on the field and did not qualify for the District finals or the trip to State.
Also grabbing spots at State are sophomore Leyna Winegar and juniors Silas Massey and Caden Young.
Winegar placed fourth in the pole vault and will join Richards in that field. Massey won his preliminary heat and then placed fourth in the 400 meter finals to make his first trip to State. Young will join Helms in the 300 meter hurdles field, placing fifth at Districts.
Helms will begin competition on Thursday as the long jump event is being conducted a day early at Rocky Mountain High. The remainder of the State competition will be conducted at Eagle High with field events getting underway at 9 a.m. each Friday and Saturday. A parade of athletes will be conducted Friday at 3:15 p.m. with running event preliminaries beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday’s running event finals begin at 1 p.m.