Sarah Peterson and Becky Straw are two examples why the addition of a separate state track meet for A-4 athletes was a good decision two years ago.
Under the old format, A-4 athletes had to compete with A-3 athletes for berths to state. Many times the A-4 athletes were at a severe disadvantage because most of the participants in the state’s smallest classification don’t have adequate facilities to train on.
Peterson and Straw would most likely medal in an event or two at state if they had to compete in the A-3 division. But with their own meet now, they will likely contend for state championships in most of their events.
Though not a strong test of their abilities, Falls Christian Academy’s Peterson and Straw each captured two individual events and ran legs on two winning relays at the North Star League meet Saturday.
Peterson set personal bests in the long jump (15 feet, 9 inches) and triple jump (34-1) while Straw shaved .4 seconds off her 200 (27.1) and easily won in the 100 (13.1).
Peterson handles the next-to-last leg on the 400- and 800-meter relays and passes the baton to Straw, the anchor on both.
Track is Straw’s favorite sport. For the athletic Peterson the sport serves as a conditioning season for her favorite sport, basketball.
“Becky is quietly determined,” her coach, Brian Cruess, said. “She looks kind of frail out there, but she’s a tough runner. She just refuses to lose.”
Cruess believes both athletes have yet to peak as they head to the state-qualifying District I-II meet Friday and Saturday at Kamiah High School.
“Sarah keeps surprising me,” Cruess said. “She’s starting to get her jumps out and I think she’s got a lot more in her. One of the next two meets she’s going to have a jump that surprises people.”
Each qualified for state in four events last year and should repeat that feat this weekend.
They helped put FCA, a small Christian school in Post Falls, on the map year when they led the Eagles to a regional title and fourthplace finish at state.
FCA may not have the numbers to stake a serious threat at a state title, but Peterson and Straw will combine to score enough points to put the Eagles in the top three.
Peterson, who carries a 4.0 grade-point average, figures she can win gold medals at state if she can reach her goals of 35 feet in the triple and 16 in the long jump.
Straw, also an honors student with a 3.6 GPA, will take whatever she earns. But if she meets her goals of 26-something in the 200 and low 12s in the 100, she’ll be a serious contender for gold.
Peterson, Straw and the rest of the team returns intact next year.Which is why he believes the best is yet to come from Peterson and Straw - if not in the next two weeks then by next season.