GOODING • Idaho cross country aficionados will surely remember the group that dominated Wednesday’s 1A/2A/3A district meets at Gooding Country Club.

Of the 44 state qualifiers, 23 are underclassmen, including four of the six district champions.

“It’s a young district that is getting better and better,” said Filer head coach Jack Kinghorn. “It’s pretty impressive.”

There were plenty of superlatives voiced towards the new kids on the block Wednesday, but the best performance came from someone who’s comparatively a grizzled old veteran — Filer senior Austin Young, who won his second straight district championship with a near personal record 16:46.

“I lessened the volume and mileage in the last week,” said Young, who will compete against a cluster of Shelley runners for tops in the state next week. “At the end, there weren’t any runners to push me.”

Despite lacking in competition, the kind which Young will have next week, he had a big kick in the end, helping push him to go more than a minute faster than any other competitor on the day.

“It was a mix of the crowd cheering me on and just going for the p.r.,” Young said.

After finishing so far ahead of everyone else, Young had plenty of time to watch and observe the rest of the field.

“These kids are getting faster and realizing that they can go faster,” Young said.

Filer sophomore Mary Kate Marshal won the girls 3A district championship 30 seconds ahead of Buhl duo Kendra Benson and America Jaramillo, both of whom are also sophomores.

Incredibly, it’s Marshal’s first year in cross country, as she planned on using the sport to help her in other athletic endeavors.

“This is the first time I’ve ever run anything over a 400,” Marshal said. “I was just doing it to get in shape for basketball and track. I guess I’m alright.”

Marshal said she “loves passing people” and slowly gained on the field in front of her the entire race until bolting ahead the last half-mile.

“I was worried I would get second and they would catch me,” Marshal said.

The same can be said of Richfield sophomore Erika Kent, who beat out seniors in 1A and a pair of sophomores from Wendell for the best time in the combined race.

“I thought they were going to bite my back,” Kent said. “I tried really hard not to look behind me.”

Kent set the pace in the final half of the race, a group that finished strong with multiple times under 23 minutes.

“I set me eyes on (Kent), and I told myself I had to close that distance,” said district champion Kiya Kelsey from Wendell.

Valley sophomore Ben Christensen won the 1A district championship, while freshman teammate Adam Elorrieta finished second. Gooding senior Caleb Burke took second in the boys 3A, while Jordan Baker won the boys 2A competition for Declo.

1A/2A/3A Cross Country District Race at Gooding Golf Course

Bold indicates state qualification

Boys 1A Team Scores

1. Valley 26; 2. Community School 38; 3. Oakley 69.

Boys 1A Individual State Qualifiers

1. 10, Ben Christensen, 16:53, Valley; 2. 9, Adam Elorrieta, 17:41, Valley; 3. 10, Henry Raff, 17:48, Community School; 4. 12, Daniel Daily, 17:56, Hagerman; 5. 11, Benjen Lilly, 17:56, Castleford; 6. 12, Max Polito, 18:10, Community School; 7. 10, Nathan Critchfield, 18:15, Oakley; 8. 12, Blake Hunter, 18:23, Valley; 9. 9, Jake Cottam, 18:31, Hagerman.

Girls 1A Team Scores

1. Oakley 26; 2. Valley 29.

Girls 1A Individual Qualifiers

1. 10, Erica Kent, 21:48, Richfield; 2. 12, Annika Landis, 22:34, Community School; 3. 12, Ava Mazzoni, 22:50, Community School; 4. 9, Kelsey Henry, 23:20, Valley; 5. 11, Dixie Whittle, 23:55, Oakley; 6. 11, Elly Machado, 24:00 Castleford.

Boys 2A Team Scores

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1. Declo 21; 2. Wendell 40.

Boys 2A Individual State Qualifiers

1. 12, Jordan Baker, 18:07, Declo; 2. 11, Cortland Wells, 18:24, Declo; 3. 12, John Lancaster, 18:36, Wendell; 4. 10, Woody Smith, 18:39, Wendell; 5. 11, Tegan Sharp, 19:25, Declo.

Girls 2A Team Scores

1. Wendell 23; 2. Declo 32.

Girls 2A Individual State Qualifiers

1. 10, Kiya Kelsey, 21:58, Wendell; 2. 10, Olivia Gines, 22:08, Wendell; 3. 9, Lindsey Egbert, 22:14, Wendell; 4. 10, Brooklyn Hoopes, 22:55, Declo; 5. 9, Cassie Phillips, 23:30, Declo.

Boys 3A Team Scores

1. Filer 42; 2. Kimberly 47; 3. Buhl 49; 4. Gooding 100.

Boys 3A Individual State Qualifiers

1. 12, Austin Young, 16:46 Filer; 2. 12, Caleb Baker, 17:58, Gooding; 3. 9, Jorge Reyes, 17:59, Filer; 4. 10, Nielsen Lundgren, 18:04, Buhl; 5. 10, Kirby Heider, 18:04, Kimberly; 6. 11, Ethan Jacobson, 18:05, Buhl; 7. 10, Mitchell Crane, 18:07, Kimberly; 8. 11, Brady Smith, 18:07, Kimberly; 9. 10, Shelby Harding, 18:14, Filer; 10. 12, Parker Clifford, 18:28, Filer.

Girls 3A Team Scores

1. Kimberly 36; 2. Buhl 47; 3. Filer 52; 4. Gooding 95

Girls 3A Individual State Qualifiers

1. 10, Mary Kate Marshal, 21:05, Filer; 2. 10, Kendra Benson, 21:36, Buhl; 3. 10, America Jaramillo, 21:42, Buhl; 4. 12, Kayla Bordi, 21:56, Kimberly; 5. 10, Paige Smith, 22:12, Kimberly; 6. 12, Abby Bitzenburg, 22:44, Filer; 7. 10, Serena Sheldon, 23:07, Buhl; 8. 12, Morgan Bronson, 23:11, Kimberly; 9. 9, Kayza Lund, 23:16, Kimberly.

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