Simplot Saturday Distance In Depth


     Action was fast and furious in Pocatello with many events exhibiting exemplary performances but the home crowd had something very special in the 3200, when local products stormed into the lead early and then remained there.  Dallin Farnsworth, as senior from Highland HS here, had a goal of a meet record, when the day began & in spite of being diagnosed with strep throat the previous Monday he maintained his intention.   With that thought in mind Farnsworth set the pace from the gun to the tune of a 32.5 second 200 Meters.  He continued through the 400M in 66 seconds, whch dropped all would-be challengers save Elijah Armstrong & Zach Perrin.
     Dallin reached the 800 in a brisk 2:15, which may have seemed fast for fans but it was just a second below of his original time-goal for that point.  That pace was a bit brisk for Perrin, who wisely backed off a bit but Armstrong maintained his pursuit.   Commenting after the race Armstrong conceded that his strategy had been simple:  "follow Dallin."   And so it was that Dallin continued on his planned way through splits of 2:50.2 and 4:08 before rolling through the 1600 in 4:35.   The 2K was passed in 6:20 yet Armstrong remained just a comfortable few yards behind Farnsworth.  It was only, after they had run another lap with an elapsed time of  6:56 that Armstrong began to give way.   Still Armstrong was yielding somewhat grudgingly and his stride remained fluid.   The crowd was always very much into the
race but as Dallin began another lap at the 8:06 mark the excitement was palabable.   Of course it did not hurt in the least that the announcer proclaimed the leader to be on record pace.  
    The meet record of 9:11.05 was set by Josh Rohatinsky in 2000 and given that the Holt Arena is at altitude, the mark is all the more impressive but Farnsworth had plenty left as he sped over the track.  The end result was 9:10.34 and Armstrong followed in a fine 9:21.  In a way it was a bit of a passing of the torch to the freshman, who has been procalimed as the finest freshman XC runner in state history - an opinion which Farnsworth seconded.   Zach Perrin earned third place with 9:24 to edge Troy Fraley by a second.  Brayden Cromar followed in fifth with a time of 9:27, as he edged Ben Saarel of Wyoming by about a second.  
     Last year Erik Harris won the mile by pulling away from Farnsworth in a stirring battle.  With Dallin being in the longer event things might have seemed easier but that would have been a mistake, as Utah's Brad Nye is a strong runner with a formidable kick.  Haven Shelton was the one to set the early pace, however, and he took the field through a 62.4 first 400M and continued to lead through an 800M in 2:08.  At that point Harris was situated comfortably in third with Nye holding second.  A split of 2:41 did nothing to change things but Harris made a move shortly after that and held aa slight lead over Shelton, while Nye loomed just behind the pair.  Harris picked up the pace at that point, a time that Nye had wanted to assume the lead, yet he scratched that thought to remain in tow.  At that point Erik was rolling and the pace had sped up so much, that it was apparent to many.   That said Nye blasted past Harris on the back-stretch and it seemed like the race had to be over, but Harris responded and closed a bit on the final turn.   The duo must have run a very swift final 400M and the last lap was easily under thirty seconds but Nye sealed the finish in the final straight & finished with a time of 4:12.39.  Erik Harris followed with 4:13, which is one of the top ten times of the season.  Haven Shelton finished alone in third with 4:19 & Blair Hurlock took fourth in 4:23.   Joe Maloney earned fifth with 4:24.     
    One of my favorite aspects of Simplot is that it always welcomes an invasion of Canadian athletes and that was a major factor in numerous events but no more so than in the Men's 800 Run.  The race featured Strymar Linvingston, who is the top ranked 500 & 600 Meter runners in the nation, as well as one of the top 800 Meter runners in America.   With Livingston's speed Tyler Smith decided that it was imperative not to leave the race to a final kick, so he stormed into the lead with 600 meters to go and zipped through the 400 in a sharp 53.4.  The question on 'most everyone's mind was whether he went too early but, as he sped through the final 200M it was obvious that he had not made a mistake.  His final lap was so impressive, that it was not just the fans screaming their excitement, because even medalists lost a brief interests in their awards to peer through the screen hiding their view of the race.  The Canadian speedster from Alberta, who is only a junior, added yet another meet record to the day's total, when he cossed the finish line in 1;49.46.  Livingston was well behind despite a fine 1:51 clocking and Kirk Webb garnered third in 1:55.  Tanner Smith & Derrick Williams claimed 4th & 5th respectively with versions of 1:57, while Ryan Maag of Nyssa (Oregon) placed sixth in 1:58.84.
     Jenna Westaway of Calgary made it a Canadian and Albertan sweep with her triumph in the Girls' 800 in 2:14.46.  Jenna won this event last year and this time was followed Nijae Jones of California, who ran 2:16.10 to edge Ellie Child of Utah, who ran 2:16.22.  Shea Martinez of Utah was 
right on their tail with her mark of 2:16.26 & Kaela Edwards of Colorado took fifth in 2:17.  
       Tabor Scholl of Utah established herself as the leader for the first two laps of the 1600 Meter Run but gave way to Sam McKinnan of Idaho, who took over the pace-making duties for the next few laps.  McKinnan held the lead at 800M with a time of 2:30, which gave her a ten meter lead over Scholl.  Nearing the end of the next 400M Scholl began to close in on McKinnan before moving back into the lead at 1200M in 3:50.  McKinnan, who has been bothered by foot problems for the past few months, was forced to drop back a bit and Scholl seemed to be on her way to victory.   Jamie Stokes of Ogden had other ideas, however, a she rallied late to claim a victory in a time of 5:00.11.  Scholl was a valiant second in 5:00.31 and Kelly Robinson of Colorado followed in fourth with 5:04.  Idaho's Hannah
McInturff was on her tail with a time of 5:04.81and Laura Young of Utah placed fifth (5:05).   Nevadan Mary Jo Wright ran 5:09 to claim sixth ahead of Sam McKinnan & Cheryn Trapp of Idaho placed tenth in 5:18.
    Natalie Shields of Salt Lake City took control of the 3200 meter race early and went on to record a victory in a time of  10:46.  Sarah Feeny of Ogden closed in the middle of the race but was forced to give way in the final stage to take second in 10:51.  Summer Harper of Lehi made it three straight Utah runners across the line with her 10:58 and Paige Gilchrist earned fourth in 11:05.  Nampa, Idaho's Mikayla Malaspina crossed the line in 11:18 to earn fifth and Sierra Manzer of Kuna was sixth with 11:22.  Pocatello's Presli Hutchinson, whose goal at the beginning of the meet was to qualify for the finals, did that and more by coming home tenth in 11:49.