The Orofino girls’ and boys’ track teams reached new milestones at the Idaho 2A State Track Meet this past weekend in Middleton; finishing 3rd and 5th respectively. The Maniacs boasted multiple state champions and an unprecedented sweep of all throwing events, a feat which has never been accomplished in school history before this weekend, according to resident OHS track and field historian Chad Easterbrook.
Lindi Kessinger and Reid Thomas both claimed a pair of state titles; Lindi in the 300 meter hurdles and discus, and Reid in the shot put and discus. Kaylynn Johnson, Sydnie Zywina, and Macoy Boyer also won championships in the shot put, triple jump, and Unified Team throwing event respectively.
Both teams benefited from major contributions from multiple athletes who claimed 1st-Team All-State honors, including: Ruby Kessinger (2nd long jump), Danny Fowler (2nd pole vault), Thor Kessinger (2nd discus), Lindi Kessinger (4th 100 meter hurdles), Will Beardin (4th high jump), Nick Graham (4th shot put), Cory Godwin (6th 400 meters), Sydnie Zywina (7th 200 meters), and Abby Rasmussen (8th 100 hurdles). Harrison Hill competed well, digging deep in the last 200 meters of the 1600 meter run to win the rubber match between he and season-long rival, Ryan Detweiler, from Grangeville. Despite a nagging season-long injury, Grace Beardin matched her season’s-best in the high jump, and is expected to be a major contributor in the Orofino girls’ run at a team state championship next year.
Orofino’s relays provided a boost in the scoring total as well, with the girls 4x100 team (Lindi Kessinger, Bryer Boyer, Sydnie Zywina, Ruby Kessinger) placing 4th, and the boys 4x100 team (Cory Godwin, Will Bearden, Seger Pettengill, Tucker Malloy) making a 7th place finish. The boys’ 4x200 meter relay team (Nick Graham, Alex Powers, Seger Pettengill, Tucker Malloy) and girls’ 4x200 meter relay team (Kassie Bonds, Emma Rodgers, Breyer Boyer, Abby Rasmussen) added to the points total for the Maniacs with gutty performances made by each team-each placing 8th. Of the relays, Head Coach Julie Kessinger said, “I’m very proud of the effort from our relay teams. They came down here to compete, and fought hard. All of our relays set personal bests today.”
Team scoring was so competitive that the Maniacs needed every point they could scrape together to secure their 3rd and 5th place finishes. On the girls’ side, the scoring was so close between Orofino and West Side that the results of the last race (4x400 relay) dictated which of the 2 teams would claim the 3rd place trophy. In a moment of anxious anticipation the Maniacs, who did not have a 4x400 relay team qualify for state, gathered at the track to cheer for any team they thought may be able to beat the West Side relay team. West Side did not win the relay, ensuring the 3rd place trophy for the Orofino girls. “It was intense,” said Orofino Junior Ruby Kessinger.
For Orofino’s seniors (Kaylynn Johnson, Abby Rasmussen, Sydnie Zywina, Will Beardin, Macoy Boyer, Danny Fowler, and Thor Kessinger) the 2021 State Track Meet marks the end of a journey that, for most, started in junior high school. Many expressed their love for the sport, and the significance of their experiences with team mates, coaches, competitors, and friends over the course of their time in the program. Senior quotable quotes include: “Last throw, let’s go baby” -Thor Kessinger; “It didn’t hit me until I was done with the 200 that track is over for me...here’s to the next chapter,” -Sydnie Zywina; “I’m done, Julie, I’m not coming back,” -Macoy Boyer; “That’s a wrap...I had some great memories this track season. I’d say we did pretty great being district champs and placing 3rd at state.” -Abby Rasmussen; “What a great end to an amazing track season,”-Kaylynn Johnson; “In the last 7 years, track has taught me more than any other sport I’ve played. I hate to see it go, but excited for the future,” -Will Beardin.
About the season, head coach Julie Kessinger commented, “As coaches we’re all really excited to have placed as high as we did on both the boys’ and girls’ side this track season. We’re equally as excited about the young talent we have coming back next year, and into our program from OJHS. We have a good core of young athletes who qualified for state that we hope were able to fully catch the vision of what they want to become, and do whatever it takes over the course of the next year, starting now, to make that vision come to life.”