Small school athletes shine at Reed meet
SPARKS – On a day filled with big-time performances, two of the brightest stars of the Reed Sparks Rotary Invitational track and field meet on Saturday were athletes from two of the smallest schools – Zack Lloyd of White Pine and Smith Valley pole vaulter Jordan Savidge.
Lloyd, the No. 1 ranked prep shot putter in the U.S. so far this year, shattered meet and stadium records with a heave of 66-feet 7-1/4 inches while Savidge, a junior who ranks among the best vaulters in the nation, set a meet record by clearing 15-feet, 7-inches to provide highlights during a high-powered meet that attracted more than 20 schools for two days of competition at Reed High’s Dave Nolte Northern Nevada Regional Track Facility.
Meanwhile, Galena rolled up 110.5 points to capture the boys team championship, paced by Stephen Pottey’s triple gold-medal performance in the distance races.
Pottey, a senior who is headed for the University of California in the fall, began his day by winning the 3,200 meters in a time of 9:37.70. He came back to outduel Elko’s Kevin Sandall and win the 1,600 in a meet-record time of 4:24, and finished with a strong surge on the homestretch to win the 800 in 1:57.50. If that wasn’t enough, Pottey also ran a 1:55 split on his leg of the 4×200 relay on Friday night to help Galena earn a second-place medal in that race.
“My hat’s off to that young man,” said Domingo Tibaduiza, a four-time Olympian who coaches Galena’s distance runners. “I’m so delighted. You don’t see a triple like that very often.”
It was something of a dress rehearsal for this Saturday when Pottey will get the chance to drop down from Northern Nevada’s 4,700-foot altitude and run the 1,600 and 3,200 at the prestigious Arcadia Invitational in Southern California.
“Today was a good way to find out about his recovery rate and whether he will be able to double at Arcadia, and I think he showed he can do that,” Tibaduiza said. “There’s no reason why he can’t run under 4:10, especially if someone takes the pace out fast.”
Likewise, Savidge will travel to Arcadia looking to become only the third Nevada prep pole vaulter to reach the 16-foot barrier. He looked impressive with an easy clearance of 15-7, a personal record, on his third attempt Saturday. He also had two good attempts at 16-1 – the automatic qualifying height for junior nationals – only to clip the bar with his foot both times.
“I’ve been in kind of a slump, but I took care of that today,” said Savidge, the defending state 1A pole vault champion whose previous best of 15-3 was set indoors at the Simplot Games in Pocatello in February. “I wasn’t real consistent with my run today, but I’ll work on that in practice this week and try to come back strong.”
Sam Marsheck cleared a lifetime best 13-6 to place second, giving Smith Valley the top two spots. Not bad for a school of little more than 100 students.
“I really like this facility. It’s awesome state will be held here, and I think today gave me some confidence before then,” Savidge said.
Lloyd, a 6-foot-4, 300-pound senior who has committed to Utah State, performed in the shot put ring at mid-day before an estimated crowd of 500 spectators – more than the entire enrollment at White Pine.
“That (crowd) was kind of scary, actually,” said Lloyd, whose personal and national best mark of 67-4 was set at the Simplot Games. “I was hoping for 70 feet today, but it wasn’t quite there. I’m just waiting for the perfect meet.”
Lloyd was certainly consistent Saturday judging from his series in the finals – 65-7-3/4, 66-0 and 66-7-1/4. And to cap off a successful day, he popped a personal best of 192-4 to win the discus.
Carson’s Stephen Waicul and Rob Ghiglieri placed fourth and fifth in the discus with respective throws of 143-2 and 140-7. Nick Rebholtz placed fifth in the shot put at 46-5-1/4.
The highlight of the day for Carson came in the final race of the day when the quartet of Adam Houghton (53.93), Tilor Smith (52.77), Tsuyoshi Curtis (51.59) and Matt Moore (51.0) won the 4×400 relay in a season best time of 3:29.56.
“They ran well,” Carson coach Todd Ackerman said. “Adam ran a great leg to get us going, then by the time we got to the last leg, Moore had a good 20-meter lead and nobody is going to run him down.”
John Stewart, Mike Horrigan, Moore and Smith also placed third in the 4×200 relay with a 1:33.22 clocking.
Carson’s Andrea Kierstead, Amanda Benson, Lindsay Ford and Sineid McSweeney placed fourth in the girls 4×400 relay (4:17.92). Benson, McSweeney, Ford and Christa Dixon ran 1:50.99 to place seventh in the 4×200 relay.
Saturday also saw highlights for the Dayton Dust Devils. Bridgette Galles won the high jump at 5-4, tying her personal best from last year. Galles ran 16.80 to place fourth in the 100-meter hurdles and took seventh in the 300 lows in a personal best of 49.96.
Dayton’s Stephen Novello also placed third in the meet-record setting boys 1,600, as the senior ran a school-record time of 4:39.30, his personal best by five seconds. Novello later placed eighth in the 800 in 2:04.10.
“This was no real surprise,” Dayton coach Mike Paul said. “He’s been pointing toward that school record (4:42) all season. He’s been improving every week and today he got it.”
Novello also joined with juniors Jose Aruz, Billy Mountjoy and Joey Mountjoy to place fourth in the 4×800 relay in a time of 8:32.29. The time was one second off Dayton’s school record.