Molly Yates knew she had a handful of potential track and field stars when she took over the head coaching position this spring for the Emmett High. She just wasn’t sure if a couple of them would be fully recovered from nagging injuries. She also wasn’t aware of the some of the hidden speed that new contributors would be bringing to the track this year.
“It has been a good spring and there are a lot of pleasant surprises,” Yates said. “We certainly remain strongest in the field weight events but the speed we have developing from freshmen and some first-time high school contributors could make us challengers in relays and sprints as the year progresses.”
Progression is the key for the Huskies this spring. After missing all but two meets last year due to the COVID shutdown of high school sports in Idaho, just how much development, growth, and improvement individual athletes have been able to make on their own will have to play out over the next few weeks.
Early season results are promising – even personal record breaking.
Senior Axel Sanchez, who has already signed to play football at Montana State Northern in the fall, has come out strong in the shot put. In his opening performance of the fall he broke his personal record in the event by more than ten feet, posting a 55’8.5” heave in a dual with Caldwell at Emmett. Tyler Barry, Beauhunter Brown, Hunter Enick and Rhett Spencer also each hit PR’s in the event to sweep the top five positions.
Enick, a sophomore, has won the discus event at both dual meets to date, setting and then resetting his own PR with a 141’8.5 toss.
Perhaps the biggest question to be answered is whether Landon Helms will be able to return to the pole vault runway. Helms won the State 4A title with a record vault as a freshman and was pushing national standards last spring prior to the shutdown. He underwent surgery for a stress fracture in his foot and has not yet been cleared to jump. The junior has been keeping in shape by competing in field events and setting new PRs in the discus and shotput in a dual with Bishop Kelly last week. Perhaps a decathlete in the making.
Helms is also a returning All-State hurdler so his return to running and jumping, including some relay duty will be a huge step forward for the Emmett boys team.
Another returning State champion is the anchor for the Emmett girls team. Lacy Yates won the State 4A discus crown as a freshman and finished third on a bum foot as a sophomore. After surgery on that foot Yates appears to be fully recovered. She has set a new PR in the shot put this spring and has at least 20 feet on the competition so far in the discus.
One of the new additions to the girls team is a fast one – sophomore Tatum Richards. Richards, who moved to Emmett from Arizona in the past year is the Huskies first threat in the sprints and she beat a loaded Bishop Kelly roster in the 100 meter hurdles and the pole vault in a dual last week with new personal records in each.
The depth of runners coming into the program as freshman and sophomores is providing coach Yates a number of combinations to play with for relays. The young blood isn’t the only new blood in that category.
Senior Jack Maxwell, another football signee, is bringing his wide receiver speed to the track for the first time since middle school. As is junior quarterback Caden Young. Young, the 4A State Player of the Year in football last fall underwent shoulder surgery in January and has not been cleared to throw but is keeping in shape running sprints and relays in competition.
Yates doesn’t see where Emmett has the sheer numbers to compete with perennial state and district power Bishop Kelly for team honors, but she sees a number of individuals and even perhaps a couple of relay teams who could make an impact on the District and State meets in May.
“This is overall a young fast group. We have more overall speed than we have had in several years,” Yates said. “We have a few obviously seasoned veterans but the development of the newbies could provide a number of surprises by Districts.”
The Huskies will not be hosting their annual Probst-Walker track meet this year. Conference decision-makers have limited the number of full blown meets early this year. Quads and tri-meets have been pared down to duals for the opening weeks, building up to broader competition as the year progresses.
Emmett will be hosting a quad meet April 28 for their only remaining home competition. They will be practicing during this week’s spring break but return to head to head competition April 2 at Ridgevue.