PROVO — The end of a decades-long title drought, a couple of dynasties adding more hardware to their trophy cases and two tense 4×400 relays highlighted what was a fantastic day of competition at the girls state track and field meet at BYU on Saturday.
When it was all said and done, Lone Peak, Provo, Cedar, Delta, North Summit and Panguitch all claimed state championships.
Cedar girls edge Desert Hills by 1 point for state track championship; Thunder boys win 7th title in a row
Lone Peak and North Summit won easily, while Panguitch, Delta, Cedar and Provo clinched titles on the final 4×400 race of the meet.
Provo ended up edging first-year Farmington by a half a point to claim the 5A title, while Cedar beat rival Desert Hills for the 4A title by one measly point.
That was so stressful, said Cedars Jasie York about watching her 4×400 relay team hold on for the state championship.
Meanwhile, the Desert Hills boys won the 4A boys title with a total of 71 team points, seven points better than Orem and Spanish Fork, who tied for second place with 64 points apiece. It marked the seventh straight state championship for the Thunder boys, many of whom held up seven fingers or made the numeral “7” with their hands as the team posed with the trophy at the end of the meet.
With star power and depth, the Knights racked up 147 points to finish 40 points ahead of second-place Herriman as they claimed their second straight state championship.
Its been so fun, its been the best state yet. Im glad going on out senior year that it ends on a good note, said Lone Peak senior Ali Bybee, who won the 800 meters. Even though we were projected to win, we still had to give our 100 percent and we couldnt slack off.
Bybee was one of three individual state champs for Lone Peak. Fellow senior Maddy Eaton won the 100 meters and 300 hurdles, while Eliza Arrington won the 1,600 meters.
Lone Peaks 4×100 relay team also won with a time of 47.64, which was only 0.31 off the state record.
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Two years after an injury to sophomore Meghan Hunter prevented Provo from contending for the state title, a healthy Hunter helped the Bulldogs capture that elusive title Saturday.
With Hunter winning the 100, 200 and 400 meters, Ally Gomm winning the 300 hurdles and the two combining for a win in the 4×400 relay team, Provo captured its first girls state title since 1983.
Im so happy cause I know in the past years weve honestly been closer than expected, but now that its a reality Im just so happy, said Gomm.
Provo tallied 55.5 points with Farmington right behind with 55 points. The two teams finished first and second in the 4×400 relay, with Farmington leading by 1.5 points heading into the race. Provo was in last place after the first two legs of the relay, but Gomm and Hunter closed the gap to win the title.
I think its really exciting we were able to end on the relay, it was super fun to be able to run that race together and enjoy winning state as a team together. That just made it even more special, said Hunter.
That drought seemed destined to end two years ago with Meghan Hunter and senior sister Kate Hunter combining to dominate the sprints and distance, but a midseason injury to Meghan Hunter ruined those plans.
Last season Provo finished with 53 team points to finish fourth at state, but it added just a couple more points this year to claim the state title.
Woods Cross Carlee Hansen was the only other double winner in the 5A meet as she won the 800 and 3,200 meters. One of the best performances of the meet belonged West sophomore Talaloa Sitauti who won discus with the best throw in the state this year at 12900.00.
The battle for the 4A state title figured to be tight all meet between Cedar and Desert Hills, and indeed it did coming down to the final 4×400 relay.
Cedar had an eight-point cushion going into the finale, and narrowly held onto the lead with a sixth-place finish in the final relay that Desert Hills won.
Oh my gosh, that was the scariest thing in my life. That was so stressful, said Cedar senior Jasie York.
Desert Hills athletes atop the podium after winning the 4A boys 4×100 relay at the state track and field championships, Provo, Utah, May 18, 2019 | Photo by Frank Kay Richards for St. George News / Cedar City News
None of Cedars top point earners throughout the meet — York, Mayci Torgerson, Denim Henkel and Logann Laws — were running in the relay and were helpless to do anything about the outcome.
The Cedar relay team of Lexi Bird, Summer Bryson, Kaysie Klemic and Brinley Hess did just enough, however, during the 4×400 relay as Cedar edged Desert Hills 107-106 for its second straight team title.
Desert Hills boys track team after winning first place at the 4A state track and field championships, Provo, Utah, May 18, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Desert Hills High Athletics, St. George News / Cedar City News
Four different Cedar athletes won individual titles: York (400 meters), Torgerson (high jump), Laws (javelin) and Henkel (shot put).
My goal this whole year has been to be 130s, at every meet Ive kept improving. This week at practice Ive worked really hard and thrown a lot, and this week in practice I finally broke 130, so I thought its time to break it, said Laws.
Other standouts in 4A were Lehis Amy Ballard winning the 100 and 200 meters and Desert Hills Chloe Taylor winning the 100 and 300 hurdles.
In 3A, sophomore Adi Nielson had a fantastic state meet to lead Delta to its first state title since 1996. Nielson won the 400 meters, 300 hurdles and anchored the championship-clinching 4×400 relay team.
Also earning points for Cedar in the javelin were junior Japrix Weaver, who placed fourth with a personal-best throw of 118-8.5, and sophomore Jaidi Willden, who finished seventh with a throw of 113-10.25.
With relays its for your team, friendship, so it was more excitement for my team and I wanted to do good for my team, said Nielson about getting the baton for the final leg.
We didnt know how good our team was (at the start of the year), but we knew our girls could really decide and we chose our own destiny. We had the talent to win.
Grands Kylah Ricks had an outstanding meet to sweep the three distance events. Juabs Ronnie Walker also had a strong meet, winning the 100 and 200 meters, while Grands Veda Gritts was also a double winner in the shot put and discus.
North Summits 4×400 relay team had a false start in the final race of the meet, but the miscue hardly takes away from what the Braves were able to do the previous 15 events.
North Summit dominated the 2A meet, racking up 143 points to easily finish ahead of Millard, which finished with 99 points. It was the fourth straight state title for the Braves.
Audri Richins won the 100 and 300 hurdles for North Summit, while Teesha Richins won the high jump. North Summit placed two athletes on the podium in eight of the 13 individual events and won two of the three relays.
Millards Katy Kelly had a fantastic meet, winning the three distance events, while Gunnison Valleys Jade Wimmer was a double winner in the 200 and 400 meters. St. Josephs Virginia Tomon swept the shot put and discus.
The Bobcats clinched the title with a third-place finish in the 4×400 relay to end the meet, a relay anchored by Kiesa Miller. She also won the discus on Friday, variety that shows the camaraderie within Panguitchs program.
When people think about track they think about it as an individual sport, but for us we always come together as a team and it doesnt matter who gets the points as long as were all getting the points together, said Miller. Our coach just puts us in wherever he thinks we can do our best.
Miller had been runner-up to teammate Karlee Eyre in the discus all season, but she recorded her best throw of the year at the state meet to clinch one of Panguitchs five individual titles.
Kambree Fullmer won the shot put while Taylia Norris won all three distance events, as Panguitch tallied 142 team points followed closely by 136 from Milford, which came close to winning its first state title in school history.