BUHL – Marvin Mumm was sick and tired of finishing second at the Buhl Rotary Invitational.
Mumm has been the Kimberly High School track and field coach for 12 years. He doesn’t remember the exact years, but he knows his Bulldogs have finished second at the Rotary three times – to Buhl, Jerome and Elko (Nev.).
Kimberly wasn’t denied this time, and the final combined team standings weren’t particularly close. The Bulldogs finished with 218 points (154 in boys, 64 in girls) on Friday at Buhl High School, which placed them 58 points clear of second-place Buhl.
“We thought we could (win) this year because we’ve got a lot of good seniors, and we’ve got a lot of good kids behind them,” Mumm said. “We’ve got people in all events.”
Kimberly’s breakthrough was aided by a notable absence. The two-time defending Buhl Rotary champion, Twin Falls, didn’t compete in the invitational this year, and the Bulldogs took advantage.
Twin’s non-presence didn’t cheapen the win, Mumm said, but that doesn’t mean he was happy to see no trace of the Bruins.
“I wish they were here. I really do,” Mumm said. “We need to run against better people. It helps us at the state level.”
After Buhl, Kimberly’s closest competition on Friday was Minico, which earned 155.5 points (130 boys, 25.5 girls). Filer finished with 146 points (73 boys and girls), and Jerome had 141 (78 girls, 63 boys).
Kimberly didn’t earn a gold medal on the girls side, but four boys took first place – freshman Peyton Bair (300 meter hurdles), junior Collin Glass (discus), senior Zach Wright (110 meter hurdles) and the 4x200 relay team. Bair, Glass and Wright each set personal records.
Bair literally tripped up at last week’s Angie Wyatt Invitational. With one hurdle to clear in the 300 hurdles, Bair clipped the top of it, fell and didn’t finish.
He avoided all obstacles in Friday’s race and won it with a personal best time of 41.6 seconds.
“It felt pretty good to run a clean race,” he said. “I worked hard over the summer. Been running hurdles for a while, and it’s starting to pay off.”
Bair impressed Mumm as much, if not more, than the rest of Kimberly’s athletes on Friday. But it was hard for him to single out one person. Kimberly’s depth is its strongest asset, Mumm said.
Meets like Friday’s make Mumm think back to 2009, when Kimberly won its first and only state track title (3A boys).
“Last time we had everybody who could place in every event, we won the state championship,” Mumm said. “I don’t know if we can do that this year. Everything has to go right. We’ve got the horses. We need a little bit of luck.”
Indians thrive in homecoming
Buhl has hosted the Rotary Invitational for the last 19 years, but not every meet has been held at the high school.
Just last year, in fact, Filer High School hosted the invitational because of an old track at Buhl. Indians coach Seth Blick said the asphalt had developed cracks and frost heaves, and patches of the track were gone entirely.
“If you hit a bare spot with a spike or something like that, it could’ve been bad,” Blick said. “It had gotten to the point where we felt like we needed to put our event on at a safe facility until we could get our own.”
Buhl resurfaced the track over the summer, and the black lanes and runways were on full display Friday.
“It’s kinda that new car smell thing,” Blick said. “We’re happy with how things turned out.”
Buhl’s second-place finish in the combined team standings only sweetened the day for Blick. The Indians took gold in five events: girls 400 meter (junior Carlee Finney), girls shot put (senior Alyssa Gorrell), girls discuss (Gorrell), boys long jump (sophomore Adam Lauda) and girls 4x400 relay.
Gorrell, and Idaho State commit, was the star of the meet. The senior shattered her previous personal record in the shot put (38 feet, eight inches) with a mark of 42’4.5”.
Gorrell decimated the Rotary record for discus throw, and finished mere inches away from the shot put record.
Gorrell’s personal discus record going into Friday was 125’7”, less than a foot behind the Rotary record. She fired a 133’07” (into the wind, too) to break two records in one. Second place Shayla Bingham, of Minico, threw a 110’04”.
“Just a good day,” she said. “It’s really cool, especially because it’s at home; it makes it so much better.”
Declo punches above its weight
Declo only sent two athletes to the Rotary Invitational. They each took home a handful of gold medals.
Junior Haylie Brackenbury and Courtney Christopherson represented the Hornets at Buhl on Friday. They competed in seven combined events, and they placed in six of them.
“We’re best friends, so we do everything together and we push each other hard,” Brakenbury said.
The Declo duo’s success wasn’t surprising. Brackenbury and Christopherson are 2A state champions (Brakenbury won long jump as a freshman, Christopherson won high jump last year), and they’ve earned multiple medals at previous Rotary Invites.
Brackenbury added to that total with a long jump title and a third place finish in the 200-meter dash. Christopherson won the high jump and the triple jump, while placing second in the 100-meter hurdles and fourth in the 300-meter hurdles. Her triple jump of 36’2.5” was a personal record.
“It’s awesome to do stuff together like this and kinda share our passion,” Christopherson said. “It’s been a good day.”