Athletes from near and far shine at 37th annual Simplot Games

For Immediate Release
February 21, 2015
Contact: Amanda Meixel, (702) 370-4484
Athletes from near and far shine at 37th annual Simplot Games
Idahoan wins 3200, Canadian record falls, Australian athlete gets gold, and several top times set by U.S. athletes
Pocatello, Idaho–Simplot Games has truly become an international event presenting gold medals to athletes from Australia, Canada, and the U.S.
Local athlete Elijah Armstrong, a senior from Pocatello, Idaho, won the boys’ 3200-meter run and nearly broke the meet record with a time of 9:01.04. Armstrong’s time is currently the second fastest in the country, and he finished less than half of a second behind the meet record.
Armstrong is no stranger to Simplot Games, having competed all four years of his high school career. Although he’s always been a standout athlete, his first place finish has eluded him as he’s come in second all three years of past competition. His first place finish couldn’t have come at a better time as this will be his last year competing at Simplot Games.
“I wouldn’t change any experience I’ve had for anything,” said Armstrong. “My three second place finishes just made it that much sweeter.”
Canadian Victoria Tachinski, a sophomore, from Winnipeg, Manitoba, won the girls’ 400-meter dash in her first visit to Pocatello. Tachinski’s winning time of 54:05 was a new Canadian youth indoor record and a personal record for Tachinski.
“I was prepared. I was ready mentally and physically,” said Tachinski. “I had it in my mind to run fast and I did.”
Australian Amelia Mazza-Downie, a sophomore from Melbourne, Victoria, won the girls’ 3200 meters with time of 10:33.25, just 0.84 seconds short of the Simplot Games meet record.
Mazza-Downie ran on an indoor track for the first time on Thursday.
“It was much easier to run here with no wind,” said Mazza-Downie. “It was harder to run in a higher altitude.” Mazza-Downie was in control throughout the 16 laps, beating 2014 champion Makena Morley, a senior from Bigfork, Mont., by eight seconds.
Mazza-Downie becomes the first Australian to win an event at Simplot Games. This is the first year athletes from Australia have competed. “I feel like I’m famous here,” said Mazza-Downie. “I’m happy.”
Other stellar Simplot Games performances included:

  • Tara Davis, a sophomore from Simi Valley, Calif., won the girls long jump with a 19’10” jump. Her winning jump is number one in the country for this year.
  • Chinne Okoronkwo, a junior from Tacoma, Wash., won the girls triple jump in her third appearance at Simplot Games with a 41’4” jump. Her winning jump is number one in the U.S. this year.
  • Jasmyne Graham, a senior from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., won the girls’ 60-meter dash with a time of 8.41 seconds, currently the fast time in the U.S. this year.
  • Kaley Ciluffo, a senior from Bettendorf, Iowa, won the girls’ 800 meters with a time of 2:09.73. This time puts her at number two in the U.S. this year.
  • LaurenRain Williams, sophomore from Lakewood, Calif., wins the girls’ 60 meters with the time 7.4 seconds. This time ties the second best time this year in the U.S.
  • New Image Training Group ‘A’ team of Ryan Hall, junior, Brandon Hasson, senior, Jesse Audelo, junior, and Renard Bell, junior, from Los Angeles, won the boys’ 4×200 relay with a time of 1:27.91. This is the second fastest time in the U.S. this year.
  • Levi Thomet, a senior who made his first trip to Simplot Games from Kodiak, Alaska, finished second in the boys’ 3200 meters with a time of 9:02.18, the third fastest time in the U.S. this year.
  • Brandon Hasson, a senior from Los Angeles, won the boys 200 meters with a time of 21.61 seconds. This time is the fifth best in the U.S. this year.

More than 2,000 athletes have come from across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Australia to participate in the 37th annual Simplot Games. Simplot Games remains the nation’s premier high school indoor track and field event. Sponsored by the J.R. Simplot Company since 1979, the Simplot Games are held at Idaho State University’s Holt Arena in Pocatello, Idaho.
For more information on Simplot Games, please visit our website at You may also contact Lisa Woodland at (208) 235-5673 or Simplot Games Media Team at
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