BOISE – It took four years of hard work and heartbreak, but Timberlake senior Caitlyn Nichols finally won gold at the Idaho state track meet.
Now, Nichols and her teammates are coming home as state champions.
Nichols anchored the Tigers’ victory in the 4x400-meter relay, clinching the first girls state title in school history Saturday at Bronco Stadium. The relay quartet won in 4 minutes, 8.14 seconds, dominating the field and shattering the school record in the process.
“This was our year,” said an overjoyed Nichols, who also finished second in the 200 meters and fourth in the long jump. “We knew going into (the 4x400) that this was our shot to finally be state champions, and we did it.”
Timberlake finished with 92 points, topping Buhl (79) and Kimberly (62¾). The Tigers only had one individual champion – junior pole vaulter Sam Simmons – but got big contributions across the board.
“It was fitting for Caitlyn to finish the 4x400 the way she did, but we had a lot of kids step up,” Timberlake coach Brian Kluss said. “Rachel Ward had a great meet, Ashly George had a great meet, Brooke Nowlan had a great meet – kids just performed well up and down the line.”
Ward, a sophomore, added second-place finishes in the 100 and 300 hurdles. George, also a sophomore, placed second in the 800 and third in the 1,600, while Nowlan, a junior, finished fourth in the 3,200 and fifth in the 1,600.
Ward, George and Emily Cazier joined Nichols in the relay victory.
Simmons, who repeated as champion by setting a 3A pole vault record Friday, took up the role of cheerleader Saturday. The junior helped the 4x100 relay team place second, but otherwise was a spectator as the Tigers fought for the title.
“I was so anxious,” Simmons said. “It was hard to watch, but I’m so happy we won.”
Timberlake’s boys narrowly missed bringing home a trophy. The Tigers finished with 51½ points, just 2½ behind Salmon and Kimberly, which tied for third place. Buhl (108) edged Payette (102½) for the championship.
Timberlake had a strong showing in the 110 hurdles as junior Brian Cronnelly finished second in 15.61 and senior Cooper Simpson placed third in 15.85. The Tigers also won the 4x200 relay in 1:32.33 and finished third in the 4x100.
In other 3A action, Bonners Ferry sophomore Courtney Tucker was runner-up in the 400, finishing in 59.21. Junior Rock Stapley added fourth-place finishes in the 100 and 200 for the Badgers.
Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy senior Jacob Bowman completed a remarkable comeback by defending his 100 championship. Bowman, who blew out his knee playing 5A football for Lake City last fall, motored to victory in 11.17 on his surgically reconstructed leg.
Bowman also anchored the Panthers’ runner-up finish in the 4x100.
“I’ve got to thank my parents, my teammates and the people at North Idaho Physical Therapy for helping me get here and go out with a state title,” Bowman said.
Bowman also finished third in the discus and fifth in the long jump on Friday.
The West Side boys (88 points) and Nampa Christian girls (127) won the team titles.
The Kootenai boys finished sixth. Senior Hayden Kraack was runner-up in the long jump at 21 feet, ¼-inch and junior Brandon Carman finished third in the 300 hurdles for the Warriors.
Team titles went to the Challis boys (114 points) and Mackay girls (53).