NELKE: A prep wish list for 2017-18

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With the 2016-17 prep sports season in the books, here’s a few wishes/hopes/wonders for the 2017-18 slate:

• The return of the Prairie Pig spirit games between Post Falls and Lakeland.

I get why it came to a halt after nearly two decades — even though the event was supposed to be about spirit, they did keep score in the games. And, more and more, that score favored the bigger school (Post Falls). Still, the skits both student bodies put on at halftime were sooooo entertaining ...

• The return of the state track meets to one location.

Never was the event more popular than when the state meets in all five classifications were at Bronco Stadium in Boise. Especially when organizers staggered the schedule so the 5As and 4As had the spotlight to themselves under the lights as they wrapped their meets up on Friday night, and the smaller schools had their day in the sun on Saturday.

But with Boise State no longer available due to expansion of its football stadium, the best they can do now is the 4As and 5As at Dona Larsen Park in Boise, and the 3As, 2As and 1As at Middleton High.

There has been chatter of having all the meets at one site again, but that would mean finding a facility that seats more than the 5,200 at Dona Larsen Park.

• That Genesis Prep’s boys basketball team can schedule a few games against the “big” schools in North Idaho.

Usually a game pitting a team in Idaho’s smallest classification (1A Division II) vs. one in Idaho’s largest (5A) would be a mismatch of epic proportions. But last year Genesis Prep more than held its own against several bigger schools in North Idaho, then went on to win the state 1A Division II title.

Last year, the Jaguars played one 5A school, losing by just 14 points at Coeur d’Alene. Genesis Prep is scheduled to play at Coeur d’Alene again this coming season.

• A return to the state championship game by one of the local big high schools.

Admit it, you got spoiled when Coeur d’Alene played in the state title game four straight years (2010-13), winning three of them.

And before that, Lake City played for the title four times in eight seasons (1999-2006), winning twice. The Timberwolves teased us in 2014, when they made it all the way to the state semifinals, where they lost in the snow at Mountain View of Meridian.

It’s been three seasons since Coeur d’Alene last played in the state title game, but every year since, they’ve at least been the conversation of potential state champions. And this year should be no exception.

• Also: A place nearby with FieldTurf, available for late-season high school football games, and/or state soccer tournaments in late October. ... On the alternate years where North Idaho doesn’t host state softball, maybe throw us a bone with a state baseball tournament. It might be tough to wrestle, say, the 5A tourney out of Boise, unless the IHSAA takes over sponsorship of the state tournaments. ... State basketball up here every now and then, or state wrestling ... that might be too much to ask.

Mark Nelke is sports editor of The Press. He can be reached at 664-8176, Ext. 2019, or via email at mnelke@cdapress.com. Follow him on Twitter@CdAPressSports.

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