Eleven Highland track athletes qualify for state meet
May 31, 2017 03:55PM ● Published by Kelly Cannon
Highland’s 4 x 100-meter relay team poses with their medals after winning region. (Swede Robinson/ Highland High)
Gallery: Eleven Highland track athletes qualify for state meet [3 Images] Click any image to expand.
Despite being in a difficult region, Highland High’s track and field teams qualified five boys and six girls for state at their region tournament.
Probably seven of those 11 athletes who qualified have a chance at placing in their events, said head track coach Gary Rowles.
There’s Jake Boren, a senior sprinter who won the 100-meter dash while placing second in the 200-meter dash.
“Jake is one of the fastest sprinters in the state,” Rowles said. “He was definitely our stellar male athlete for the day.”
Jake ran 22.4 seconds in the 200 and 11.06 seconds in the 100.
“I’ve run track for four years now and (state is) always your end goal and it’s always nice when you’re able to qualify for it,” Boren said. “I’m looking forward to it, and it should be good.”
Boren has some big goals for state.
“I’d like to get sub 11 for the 100 and hopefully place and then for the 200, anything under what my PR is would be great,” said Boren.
Boren also anchored the team that won the 4 x 100-meter relay.
The other three members of the team were Jackson Dro, Cole Horton and James Pembroke who started for the Rams football team as a quarterback for the last two years. James placed third in the long jump at region.
One athlete who stood out to Rowles from the 4 x 100-meter relay team was senior Cole Horton.
“Cole’s a senior and he’s been one of these kids whose been out every year and just worked hard and this is the first year he’s run the relay and he just did a great job at regions in the relay and was big part of the reason we were able to win it,” said Rowles.
Boren’s sister, Meg, also qualified for state in the 100 and the 200 placing fourth at the region meet in both events. She also qualified for state at the BYU Invitational by running a state qualifying time.
Senior sprinter Maddy Agbor placed second in both the 100 and 200.
Dylan Kime won second place in the boys’ 110-meter hurdles while narrowly missing state qualification by placing fifth in the 300-meter hurdles.
“He’s our only state medalist returning,” Rowles said. “He got fourth in the hurdles last year at state.”
Andrea Steele qualified in the high jump by jumping five feet and one inch.
“Andrea Steele has placed in state before,” Rowles said. “She placed in the high jump two years ago. This will be her third year at the state meet. So, she has a chance in the high jump.”
Lili Oafi-Noah placed second in the javelin and the shot put. She threw 119 feet in the shot put and broke the Highland girls’ shot put record by 13 feet. She’s a junior.
“Lili’s kind of taken us by surprise. She’s really done quite well with the javelin,” said throwing coach Swede Robinson. “She qualified in javelin and shotput. Lili was a couple inches away from winning a region title being a new thrower this year and she’s got one of the top javelin throws in the state so we’re super excited about her.”
Misini (Sini) Fifita placed third in the shot put.
“She’s kind of a kid we got from basketball,” Robinson said. “(She’s) a strong girl. She came ready to start showing up and working hard with us.”
Both Fifita and Oafi-Noah are new to throwing this season.
KJ Pacofe took fourth at region.
“He’s a kid who’s played football and just kind of came out. (He’s) a strong kid and we’ve got him to start practicing throwing a bit and he was able to get qualified this year for state so that was a real nice thing,” Robinson said. “He’s really kind of came on and started to buy into the process a bit and is starting to identify with being a thrower.”
This is Robinson’s first year coaching with Highland and the first year the team has had a coach dedicated to practice with the throwers daily.
Rowles said that the team didn’t just show up and perform in region. They worked hard throughout the season including enduring several meets with bad weather. Another key to the team’s success was getting more kids to participate in track. The team has had between 150 and 160 kids participate in track during the last two years.
“We have more kids out than any other sport in the school. We have 10 percent of our high school come out for track and field,” Rowles said. “We want to keep that going. It’s a positive environment and we cheer on the kid that gets last that just ran a personal best as much as we cheer the kid on that’s the regional champ. The whole team does that, not just the coaches.”