Much to my disappointment, the 2017 outdoor track season has officially ended in eastern Idaho. I made the trip to Rexburg today to catch the final youth track meet of the summer and couldn’t believe how many people were there. Rexburg Track club founder Doug Stutz said 198 kids from all over Idaho came.
Another outdoor season in the books
Local youth conclude 2017 track season at final summer meet in Rexburg
By MARLOWE HEREFORD
REXBURG — For area track athletes who have yet to experience a state meet, Saturday provided that type of atmosphere for them.
Cars filled the parking lot and spectators lined the fences surrounding the track at Madison Junior High School on Saturday morning as outdoor track season officially concluded in eastern Idaho at the final youth track club meet of the summer. Rexburg Track club founder and former Ricks College cross-country and track coach Doug Stutz said 198 athletes from Boise, Meridian, Pocatello, Idaho Falls, Rigby, Rexburg and Ontario (Ore.) registered for Saturday’s meet.
Claiming three wins in the final meet of the summer was Dylan Caldwell of the Idaho Falls-based High Five Flyers track club. An incoming Rocky Mountain Middle School eighth grader, Caldwell swept the boys 13-14 sprint titles, claiming the 100 meters in 13.34 seconds, the 200 in 29.19 and the 400 in 1:01.17. This is Caldwell’s first summer with the Flyers, who were formed last summer by Idaho Falls High School head track coach Jeremy Smith, and he said he’s had a blast.
“It’s been fun,” Caldwell said. “I’ve made some new friends. I got some pretty good improvements of my times. I ran track for my school last year and this year, I’m gonna start cross-country.”
Caldwell said he’s “always been fast,” which is why he is drawn to sprints. Joining the Flyers introduced him to a wide array of events to learn about and try this summer. Caldwell did just that, competing in something longer than a 400 and adding a field event to his repertoire.
“That’s one thing he said he wanted to do this summer was try new events,” said Caldwell’s father, Rulon. “He’d run the 400 then do the 800 and high jump. It’s been great for him.”
Caldwell said he especially liked trying high jump, getting two top two finishes and clearing a personal best height of 4-6 this summer. His favorite event of all, however, is the 100.
“It’s not like a 400 where you’re feeling like you’re gonna die at the end,” Caldwell said with a laugh. “It’s just a short little sprint.”
Getting two wins Saturday to wrap up the six-week, five-meet summer season was Rexburg Track Club’s Ryan Stutz, who won the boys 11-12 800 in 2:39.68 and the boys 11-12 1,600 in 5:41.40. The youngest son of Doug Stutz, Ryan has participated in summer youth track since the Rexburg Track club began in 2015 as the Life Active Track Club.
He said he enjoys summer track because it gives him more opportunity to practice and compete once school dismisses.
“I work a lot harder because I do cross-country training in the summer as well,” Ryan said.
Upon arrival at the track for Monday’s practice, Ryan and his Rexburg Track teammates had a surprise waiting for them. Chari Hawkins, 2010 Madison graduate and five-time All-American at Utah State who has been a professional heptathlete for the Santa Barbara Track Club the last two years, was training at the track Monday morning while visiting Rexburg for a few days. Hawkins paused to speak to the Rexburg Track club athletes and take photos with them before they began their bi-weekly practice.
“I thought it was pretty cool,” Ryan said. “She does every event. She is so talented and she can do everything.”
Hawkins, who placed seventh at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships on June 26 in Sacramento, will next compete at the Thorpe Cup, a decathlon and heptathlon only event between U.S. and German athletes, scheduled for July 29-30 in Dusseldorf, Germany. Doug Stutz said she was practicing hurdles on Monday and the Rexburg Track athletes were a bit mesmerized watching her.
“Our kids said, ‘When she does the hurdles, she doesn’t jump over them. She runs over them,’” Doug Stutz said. “That was a real treat for us.”
Complete results from Saturday’s meet are posted at rexburgtrack.org.