Ten Bulldogs punch their tickets to the state track meet on day one of districts

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(Photo by KYLE CAJERO) Sandpoint sophomore Braden Kappen prepares to land into the pit during the finals of the 4A boys long jump on Thursday afternoon. Kappen won districts with a 21-4.

Ten Sandpoint track and field athletes qualified for state on the first day of the 4A District 1 meet on Thursday afternoon.

Of those 10, Sandpoint can say it boasts five district champions: Sophomore long jumper Braden Kappen, junior discus thrower Brandon Casey, junior pole vaulter Paige Davidson, junior triple jumper Maddie Morgan and sophomore 3200 meter runner Nikolai Braedt.

All five athletes were in the top two of the district before yesterday’s meet — yet some had slimmer margins of error than others.

On one hand, the boys 3200 was a glorified workout for the Bulldogs. In cross-country terms, Sandpoint could’ve had a perfect score in the event with a 1-7 sweep.

Even though a pair of Moscow freshmen (who placed fourth and fifth) had other ideas, the pack of Braedt, state-qualifier Brady Nelsen, Jett Lucas and Ephriam Weisz led wire-to-wire for the first mile. By the sixth lap, Braedt and Nelsen separated themselves from the pack en route to a 1-2 finish.

On the other hand, Kappen led the long jump with a slim 1.25-inch lead over Moscow’s Jacob Cardwell before yesterday. Kappen, however, picked an ideal time to bust out a PR.

The sophomore broke the 21-foot barrier for the first time all season in the finals and didn’t look back. As it stands, Kappen’s 21-4 from Thursday puts him at sixth across the 4A ranks.

Speaking of state ranks, thrower Brandon Casey rose up the 4A rankings in the shot put with a two-feet PR. Although his 47-4 placed second in districts, he will still compete in that and the disc, which he won handily with a 125-0. His best throw, a 139-10, currently ranks eighth in 4A.

But that wasn’t the Bulldogs’ only storyline in the throwing circle. Kayla Remsen placed second in the shot with a 31-9, giving Sandpoint representation in both girls and boys throwing to state.

Remsen will be joined by pole vaulter Lydia Nelsen as the only Sandpoint freshmen to qualify for state. Nelsen punched her ticket by placing second — behind teammate Paige Davidson’s district-winning 9-9, no less — after clearing 8-2.

Other second-place state berths include Elaine Huang (high jump) and Christian Niemela (triple jump, third in the long jump), the latter of whom will compete in both events at state, as the second-place finisher in the long jump conceded his state berth.

Save for the 3200, plus the medley and 4x200 relays, all running events will take place tomorrow at Lewiston High School for the second day of the districts meet. The meet starts at 2 p.m.

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