Lumberjack Sister Act


Bethan and Morgan Suchoski have grown used to competing through the years.

And whether they’re opponents in the 300 meter hurdles, or cheering one another on in pole vault or long jump, the two are in near-constant support of each other.

That’s just how it is with track in their family.

Sisters Bethan (left) and Morgan (right) Suchoski run track for St. Maries. Both look to earn state berths in their respective events at next weekend's district tournament.

Sisters Bethan (left) and Morgan (right) Suchoski run track for St. Maries. Both look to earn state berths in their respective events at next weekend’s district tournament.

“It can get competitive,” sophomore Bethan commented of her and her sister, Morgan’s, on-field relationship, “but we still support each other.”

“It’s kind of how we were raised,” Morgan, a senior, added. “Be happy for other people if they do well.”

Morgan and Bethan are currently nearing the close of their two years together playing high school sports. Both play forward for St. Maries’ girls soccer team and have each been in track since their freshman seasons, Bethan running track as a middle-schooler prior to entering the ninth grade.

For Morgan, track and field was something new and took the encouragement of none other than a sibling to join.

“I didn’t even know what track was ‘til freshman year,” she said. “I played freshman year with my brother. He actually only did it for about a month, and then quit, but he got me to do it.”

Four years later and Morgan leads the district in long jump and is on pace to qualify for her third consecutive state-championship appearance in the event.

Sister Bethan, in her second high school season, has already established herself as the Central Idaho League’s top 300 meter hurdler, sitting nearly three seconds ahead of her nearest competition.

She broke into St. Maries’ record books April 22 in her second of four events, pole vault, eclipsing the 7’6” school record set in 2013. Bethan’s new height-to-beat sits at 8’, and is a number she’ll have her eye on adding to, not only for the remainder of this season, but into her junior and senior years.

“It’s not a huge difference,” she said, “but when you’re running up you can tell it’s taller. I clear seven feet normally pretty easy in practice, but I don’t know if I ever really tried 7’6”. I mostly just like focusing on form in practice. I don’t really try to clear anything.”

Pole vault was a common event between Morgan and Bethan last year and into the start of the 2017 season, and for a time was one of three events both sisters competed in along with the 100 meter hurdles and 4X100 relay. The pair is third and fourth in 100 meter hurdle CIL ranks, each less than eight-tenths of a second out of the top spot, fractions of time they are constantly looking to cut off.

“I know we always send each other videos on Instagram, like ‘look at this form!’,” Morgan said.

“I had no hurdle form at all, but we had a lot of hurdle practice last week, so I think my form’s gotten a lot better. I used to alternate left to right to left when I jumped them, and now I’m just doing the right, which is what you’re supposed to do. I just wanna’ see if it actually works or not, because (Coach) Kraack swears it will,” she added.

Morgan dropped pole vault from her event list after the team’s April 15 meet in Kellogg in hopes of earning a state berth in triple jump, an on-again off-again event for her in recent years where she now sees potential.

“The top two girls are doing about 29 feet,” Morgan said. “That’s not that good compared to past years.”

Bethan’s marquee event, the 300 meter hurdles, fields an average of anywhere from eight to 15 athletes per meet. She has posted top-two finishes in four of six meets this season, winning the event twice.

“I guess you need more endurance (than in the 100 meter hurdles),” she said, “and they’re a lot farther apart. I still sometimes get nervous and think, ‘oh my gosh,’ because it looks like a long ways, but when you do it it actually doesn’t feel too long. I think lots more people do the 100 meter hurdles because it’s shorter.”

District championships sit one week out, as the two look for a second, and final trip to state as teammates before Morgan graduates.

“I don’t really think about that because I have two more years,” Bethan said. “But Morgan, yeah.”

Bethan won’t be the only Suchoski on next season’s roster.

“Next year our little sister’s gonna’ be a freshman,” Morgan said. “So she’s going to be with Bethan.”

Cassidy, will take over the sibling-teammate role for Bethan as she becomes the ‘big sister’ in her final two years.

But Morgan and Bethan aren’t looking that far ahead – not yet anyway.

They’ve got medals left to win in the present.

“I would definitely like to go to state in pole vault and 300 meter hurdles,” Bethan said, “and maybe place at state, but that’s a big if.”

Morgan looks to districts and state as a four-year veteran with confidence, adding that her pace is where it needs to be for a state berth in long jump.

“It’s been going OK,” she said. “I’m consistently getting in the top three, and actually ahead of league by at least half a foot. I think the next person did 13-10 once, but she’s been consistently doing 12-something, and I do around 14-6 usually.”

District championships kick off May 12 from Kootenai High School as St. Maries will battle Grangeville and Orofino for available spots in the May 19,20 state championships.

Morgan will compete in triple jump, long jump and the 100 meter hurdles, while sister Bethan will tackle the 300 meter hurdles, pole vault and take her sister on in the 100 meter hurdles.

They will also share the baton as members of the girls 4X100 relay, competing as teammates alongside one another.

With or against, it doesn’t matter. They feel at home doing both.

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