JEROME • At 6,500 feet, nestled below the Sawtooth Mountains, Redfish Lake provided the ultimate training grounds for Jerome’s Mikesell Clegg.
The senior cross country runner logged 380 miles on the trails this summer, running at minimum 4 miles a day. Some days she would double dip, running once in the morning and catch another training run before hitting the sack. She also hopped on the bike and logged miles swimming in the lake in preparation for the Spudman Triathlon in Burley.
Clegg adopted the cross training to her summer preparation from former teammate Mackenzie Chojnacky, who is running for Division I Toledo this fall.
Coming off a junior season where she finished a disappointing 24th at the state meet, Chojnacky added cross training of riding on the bike and swimming to her already rigorous running schedule during the summer. She turned those extra workouts into a Class 4A state title, beating two-time champ Emily Nist of Bishop Kelly.
“I think Mikesell is really trying to pattern what she thought brought Mackenzie the success she had last season,” said Jerome cross country coach Randy Tolman. “Her work ethic is just incredible.”
Clegg finished fourth and fifth at state the last two seasons and along with Nist, is a preseason favorite to win the state title at Eagle Island Park in Boise.
“This summer was really good training at Redfish,” said Clegg, whose parents manage the Redfish Lake Lodge. “The altitude is a really good thing and I feel stronger with the cross training. It was an awesome summer.”
Figuring to be right on Clegg’s heels this season is junior Jasmine Nesbitt, who finished eighth at state last fall. The pair forms an untouchable 1-2 punch at the front of the pack and Nesbitt brings pure speed to the team with a background in middle school of running sprints and turning that into a fourth place showing in the 800 meters at the state track meet this spring.
“Jasmine is just a really talented, natural runner,” said Tolman, in his first season as head coach after assisting at the middle school level for 20 years. “I’ve seen her all the way up and if I could get her to work as hard as Mikesell, she would be really special.”
Clegg and Nesbitt were key components of the Tigers’ girls track championship this spring and nothing would be more exciting this season than to add another first place trophy to the school’s collection.
“This spring was so much fun,” Nesbitt said. “That would be the best feeling.”