Sprinter Josh Gingras and thrower Sam Nichols have qualified for a combined three individual events, but both have taken different paths.
Gingras is one of the most experienced runners for the Raiders. He qualified for state in 100-meter and 200-meter dashes as a junior and turned that trick again this past weekend. He won the Northern 4A 100m last year, but this year he crossed the finish line first in the 200m instead.
Still, his performance in the 100 meters was nothing to ignore. Gingras blazed his way to a time of 10.80 seconds, but ran up against Hug’s Lonnie Jackson, who won the race in 10.73 seconds.
Both the Northern runners come in with slower times than Bonanza sophomore Jayveon Taylor (10.58) and Palo Verde senior Nahjee Matlock (10.72).
That’s just added motivation for Gingras.
“It motivates me extremely. It’s another goal I set for myself to achieve,” Gingras said. “If I want to place, I really have to show up and do my best, especially since it’s the last meet of my career.”
Gingras has a better shot at winning the 200m. He was the runner-up at state last spring in the event, despite finishing second at regionals also.
This year he became the Northern champion by clocking in a time of 21.64 seconds, which is just behind Taylor (21.25) and Matlock (21.38).
“I hope I can win it. It’s possible,” Gingras said. “But with the times the Vegas kids are putting out, it’s not going to be easy.”
Gingras is also part of the state-qualifying 4x100m and 4x200m relay squads.
While Gingras has experienced the electricity of state, this will be a first time experience for Nichols.
Nichols has been a member of the track team for three years, but he committed to becoming the best discus thrower he could be over the past year. He devoted a lot of time in the weight room to increase his strength and even built an indoor training area so he could work on his technique during the winter.
Nichols hurled the discus 147-09, which landed him in second at regionals. But his mark has him seeded seventh for state.
“It’s pretty cool. It’s been a busy senior year for me,” Nichols said. “I’ve done an auto competition. I’ve done a cooking competition. Now, I’m going to top it off with the thing that I’m truly passionate about and that’s throwing. I’m just going to walk in there and do my best, no regrets.”
Only one Spanish Springs trackster qualified for state this season, but it’s been a rough spring for junior jumper Vance Lively, who has been suffering through patella tendonitis and plantar fasciitis.
Lively claimed the third and final spots from the North in the high jump and long jump. He’s also the lowest seed for state in those events.
He believes he has a better chance in the high jump than the long jump due to less pain, but Lively likes the low expectations.
“Most people underestimate me because of my performance this whole year,” Lively said. “I like them underestimating me because it just gives me a little more motivation to work harder.”
Lively is in search of a new school record and hopes he can medal. There’s also a little more on the line for Lively, considering he is the lone representative from his school.
“It’s kind of sad. I thought my team was going to pull something through,” Lively said. “I feel like being the only one, I have to work that much harder to represent Spanish Springs.”
•In the 3A, Sparks also knows about having a small representation.
Discus thrower Chris Motter was the only individual to qualify for the boys state meet. The Maroon and Gold also has teams in the 4x100m and 4x200m relays.
For the girls, senior Emma Clune had the third fastest seed time in the 200 meters. She’ll also compete in the 400 meters. Junior Val Guerrero qualified in the girls shot put.