SPRING CREEK – After each notching successful performances during the 2018 Division 3A Nevada State Track and Field Championships, the Spring Creek girls and boys teams are loading up and making runs for similar finishes.
The Lady Spartans ranked fourth in the state meet with 55 points, the Spartans taking fifth with a team total of 42 points – the boys needing to replace more departures.
Despite not being able to practice outside due to snowfall, the outlook is bright even though the Elko league meet that was slated for Saturday was canceled.
The bulk of the Lady Spartans’ firepower returns for the 2019 season, led by some state champs and record holders.
Senior pole vaulter Katelyn Anderson capped a state championship with a vault of 10-feet but during the year, she etched her name into school lore.
On April 21, 2018, Anderson cleared the bar at 11-feet during the Carson Invite, smashing the previous program record of 10-feet-6-inches set by Reisa Saddoris in 2011.
Sophomore Kylee Dimick wasted no time in making a splash in her career, claiming the state championship in the high jump as a freshman.
At the state meet, she cleared the bar and beat all comers with a height of 5-feet-2-inches.
Despite the impressive leap, the jump was not her best – Dimick tying the school record during the Division 3A North regional final with a height of 5-feet-5-inches.
“Having Katelyn back is big, and having Kylee for three more years is huge,” said Spring Creek coach Todd Mahlke. “The kids have been remarkably positive for not being able to get outside and being stuck in the gym for two weeks. Some of the runners have been able to get on the track in 75-meter stretches, but the jumping, throwing and vaulting pits are buried.”
Along with two state champions, the Lady Spartans also return two state runner-ups – each coming from the same athlete.
Senior distance runner Rylie Lusk captured second place in both the 1600 meters and 3200 meters as a junior, completing the mile in a personal-record time of 5:17.9 and closing the two-mile jaunt in 11:28.89 during the state meet.
On May 5, 2018, she also broke a school record in the 3200 meters with a time of 11:25.48, surpassing the previous benchmark of Julia Mahlke from 2015.
Lusk nearly made it to state in the 800 meters with a time of 2:29.03, placing fourth in the regional final – the top-three from the North making the field of eight for state.
“We lost Larissa and Alandra Mauer in the middle distance and distance events, but we are bringing back Rylie, a record runner, and quite a few more in those areas as well,” coach Mahlke said.
The distance events are not the only runs Spring Creek will welcome back elite athletes.
With a personal-record time during the 3A state final, freshman Lydia Binger proved she belonged – ranking third in the 300-meter hurdles and stopping the clock in 46.91 seconds.
Binger almost qualified for state in the 100-meter hurdles as well, finishing fifth in the regional meet with a personal record of 17.66 seconds, now-senior Mary Millican taking fourth at regionals with a PR of 17.17 seconds in an even-closer bid for a trip to state – several of Millican’s efforts in numerous events coming up just shy.
Senior sprinter Jessica Dorohov also returns after making notable gains as a junior, a year in which she placed fourth in the state in the 200 meters with a personal-record dash of 26.31 seconds during the biggest race of the season.
“Jessica should be strong for us in the sprints, and Binger is going to be really good,” said Mahlke.
Dorohov came close to running both sprints at state, finishing fourth in the regional final of the 100 meters with a time of 13.29 seconds.
Spring Creek’s other state success came from a team effort, the Lady Spartans nearly capturing the title in the 4x800 relay.
The Lady Spartans finished in second place with a time of 9:55.57 seconds, the squad consisting of Lusk, then-freshman Kendra Lusk and the Mauer sisters.
Spring Creek also qualified for state in the 4x200 relay but was disqualified, the team consisting of now-junior Libby Murphy, departed foreign-exchange student Luise Baumgarten, Binger and Dorohov.
Millican had another close call for a state qualification in the long jump, placing fourth in the regional final with a distance of 15-feet-2/1/4-inches.
In the triple jump, she rounded out the top-10 of the regional meet with a 30-foot-3-1/4-inch span.
Kendra Lusk notched a personal-record run in the 3200 meters but came up one spot short of a state qualification, finishing in fourth place at regionals in 11:44.95.
She took ninth at regionals in the one-mile with a time of 5:40.2.
Spring Creek’s throwers also had some close calls, then-juniors Lexie Thornal and Courtney Tournahu placing fourth and fifth in the regional finals, respectively, Thornal tossing a personal-record distance of 29-feet-9-inches and Tournahu following closely at 29-8.
Senior Allyson Burns will make another run down the lane and attempt to clear the bar at a state-qualifying height, taking fourth at regionals with a vault of 8-feet.
As a freshman, Hailey Dixon vaulted 7-feet at regionals and placed ninth.
Along with Dorohov, Murphy is expected to be a major contributor in the sprints for the Lady Spartans – finishing sixth in the 100 meters at regionals with a time of 13.31 seconds and placing ninth in the 200 meters in 27.94 seconds.
Now-senior Lindsey Morrill finished seventh in the region in the 400 meters, posting a personal-record effort of 1:02.59.
Tournahu took seventh in the discus at regionals, throwing a distance of 82-feet-9-inches – senior Caitlyn Dimick placing eighth at 81-6.
Like her sister, Caitlyn Dimick also has hops – looking to build on her eighth-place high jump of 4-feet-8-inches.
Of the Spartans’ fifth-place team effort from 2018, Spring Creek will have a tougher time in duplicating the same type of performance this year – graduating some key contributors and a state champion.
William Fallini-Haas took home the state title in the 3200 meters with a time of 9:43.28, now galloping for the Mustangs of California Polytechnic State University, in San Luis Obispo.
He also placed third in the one-mile run, posting a time of 4:31.82 in the 1600 meters.
Along with personal success, he was also a member of two Spring Creek relay teams that competed in the state meet – running on the 4x400 and 4x800 squads.
The 4x400 team place third at state with a time of 3:30.59, other members including now-seniors Garett Whimple and Noah Mahlke and graduated Ryan Miner.
In his bread-and-butter event, Miner set a personal record during state and placed fourth in the 400 meters with a time of 52.21 seconds.
Spring Creek’s 4x800 relay team ranked fourth in the state meet with a time of 8:16.36 – losing only Fallini-Haas – bringing back Whimple, Mahlke and now-senior Logan Allen.
“You can’t replace a runner like William, but we do have most of our relay runners back again,” said coach Mahlke. “We should be solid in those events once again, but we need a few people to step up and improve as the season goes along.”
Whimple qualified for state in the 800 meters individually, placing fifth in 2:02.73.
The Spartans should also be strong in a shorter relay after taking fourth in the 4x200 with a time of 1:32.35 – returning three of its members – welcoming back senior Chris DeAngelo and juniors Reed Westwood and Kyle Walthers, graduating only Mason Dixon.
Spring Creek graduated its only member who qualified for state in a field event, sending off long jumper Justin Timmel, who took eighth with a season-best distance of 18-feet-11-inches.
Mahlke finished sixth in the 800 meters at the regional final with a time of 2:07.36, Allen taking seventh with a personal record of 2:09.5.
In the 400 meters, Mahlke placed eighth in 55.24 seconds – Whimple following in ninth with a time of 56.05.
Westwood will look to build on his seventh-place regional finish of 24.54 seconds in the 200 meters, and senior George Skivington will attempt to fill the elite shoes of Fallini-Haas in the distance events.
Skivington ranked eighth in the 3200 meters at regionals as a junior with a time of 10:42.67, finishing ninth in the one-mile with a sub-five-minute time of 4:59.99 in the 1600 meters.
“We’re going to be young in a lot of the events, but we had some talented freshmen last season – so it’s time for those sophomores to take the next step and get better,” coach Mahlke said. “We have to get outside and in a competitive meet to see where we stand.”
The Spartans are scheduled – weather permitting – to host their league meet Saturday, March 16, in Spring Creek.