Local football teams shine at state
District 4 sent three football teams to state title games this fall. Declo High School beat Firth 47-6 in the 2A state championship game to cap a 13-0 season, buoyed by star running back Keegan Duncan. Carey also capped an undefeated season with a 1A Division II state championship. Minico lost the 4A title game 40-14 to Skyline, but captured its first state championship appearance in program history.
Twin Falls navigates new pitch count rules, wins emotional state title
Beginning in 2017, the Idaho High School Activities Association instituted pitch count rules for the first time in the state’s prep baseball history, hoping to decrease the risk of pitcher arm injuries. The rules limited pitches per game and mandated rest days whenever a pitcher reached a certain threshold.
The new rules forced teams to adjust their gameplans, but Twin Falls High School waded through the season with relative ease. The Bruins finished with a 27-3 record and a 4A state title, capping an emotional 10 months. In July 2016, Terex Hatfield died in a watercraft accident. He would have been a senior outfielder for the Twin Falls baseball team in 2017. The Bruins cruised in the state tournament, outscoring opponents by a tally of 25-7 in three games.
Great Basin Conference adds four teams
Since 2009, the 4A Great Basin Conference has featured six high schools from District 4 — Burley, Canyon Ridge, Jerome, Minico, Twin Falls and Wood River. In the fall of 2018, the conference will balloon to 10 teams. In October, the GBC agreed to add three District 5 teams — Century, Pocatello and Preston — for the 2018-2020 classification cycle.
And it wasn’t finished there. Mountain Home, a District 3 school, petitioned to join the GBC, and its request was approved in mid-October. That gave the conference 10 schools, split into two five-team pods. One division will include Canyon Ridge, Jerome, Mountain Home, Twin Falls and Wood River. The other will have Burley, Century, Minico, Pocatello and Preston.
Minico sends Cooper off with state title
Going into the 2015-16 season, Minico High School had three state wrestling titles in its history. The most recent title, in 2006, came under Brad Cooper, who had retired in 2010 after more than two decades as the Spartans’ head coach. But Cooper decided to come out of retirement five years later, hoping to lead Minico to its fourth state title. He did just that in February, when the Spartans edged Caldwell for the 4A state championship. This time, Cooper decided to ride off into the sunset. His protege, Boe Rushton, took over as head coach of the program.
CSI head volleyball coach dies
The College of Southern Idaho’s decorated head volleyball coach Heidi Cartisser passed away at the age of 44 on Tuesday, Dec. 19. Cartisser had just finished her 23nd year as a head coach at the collegiate level, and her 12th at CSI. She and her husband Jim, who was one of her assistant coaches, guided six CSI teams to the NJCAA tournament. Three of those teams won national titles — in 2009, 2012 and 2015. This fall, the Golden Eagles went 31-4 and lost in the NJCAA title match. Cartisser’s record at CSI was 359-89.
Gooding reaches state for first time in 31 years
Chris Comstock was 10 years old the last time Gooding High School reached the state boys basketball tournament. He helped end that skid in 2017. Comstock took over as Gooding’s head coach in October of 2016. He wanted to coach his senior son, Bryson, and give the Senators a chance to reach state for the first time since 1986.
A blowout win over Buhl in February’s district championship game secured a drought-ending 3A state tournament berth. Chris and Bryson weren’t Gooding’s only father-son duo, either. Brian Darcy, who played on the 1986 team, was an assistant coach, and his son Jack was in his senior season for the Senators.