At the meet, which took place on Friday and Saturday, May 17-18, at the Brigham Young University track in Provo, both the boys and girls teams took sixth place, while the combined team earned a fourth-place finish.
Several Lady Devil competitors gave outstanding performances. GCHS junior Mercedes James placed 10th in the 3,200-meter run. Senior Carly Dalton and junior Tiffanie Whipple placed third and ninth, respectively in the 100-meter hurdles, with Dalton recording a time of 15.26 seconds. Dalton also placed second in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 45.86, and she took fourth place in the 200-meter dash.
In relay events, the medley team placed ninth, and the 4x100 meter relay team placed fifth. In the field events, sophomore Kasey Betts placed fourth, while Whipple was the state runner-up in the long jump, with a leap of 16-feet, 10-inches. In discus, junior Madi Stocks placed third with a throw of 103 feet, 4.25 inches, while junior Kayley Wells placed sixth to round out the girl’s results. The Lady Devils placed sixth overall in the meet, with a final score of 45.
The boys team had a rough time, as some of the best Red Devil athletes were unable to compete due to injuries. GCHS juniors Andy Bathemess and Wade Kemmsies were the first runners to place for the Red Devils, coming in seventh and ninth, respectively, in the 110-meter hurdles. Bathemess also placed second in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 40.32, while Kemmsies and junior Jordan Bryant placed fourth and eighth, respectively.
Senior Wesley Rodda placed seventh in the 100-meter dash and took third in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.73. The boy’s 4x100 meter relay placed fifth, although the medley team was disqualified due to a dropped baton.
In the field events, Rodda placed seventh in the long jump, junior David Bentley placed ninth in the discus, and sophomore Richie Cordero placed fourth in the javelin.
The highlight of the meet for the Red Devils came when the 4x400 meter relay team, composed of Bathemess, Kemmsies, Rodda and Bryant, broke the previous school record of 3:31.30 with a time of 3:30.35.
Rodda said breaking the record was a great way to complete his high school track career.
“It was a wonderful race. It had been really hot that day, but then it started pouring rain, and then five minutes before our race it cleared out and started warming up again,” he said. “We came out good and it was just wonderful weather for the race ... Andy was first. He kept us in the running, and Wade passed this guy and gave us the lead, and so when he passed the baton to me I was able to keep the lead. Jordan was our anchor, and he did a really great job. I mean he was up against the best 400 runner in 2A Utah, but he kept the lead for about the first 350 meters. Even though he lost the lead in the last stretch, we were still barely behind, and we took second place.”
Rodda said that, despite not winning the event, he’s happy with the relay team’s time.
“We beat the record, and I mean, we’ll take what we can get,” he said. “Honestly, I’m just happy to be on the record board: it’s the third one I’ve helped break, which is a really cool accomplishment and it’s honestly something I’m really honored to have done. This was a really bittersweet way to end my high school career ... it’s really kind of bitter because it’s over and we weren’t able to go for the [third championship], but it was really sweet, too, because I got to be a part of the back-to-back championship and set some school records and I think that’s an amazing accomplishment.”
The Red Devils finished in sixth place overall with a final score of 42. Head coach Dennis Wells said he was pleased with the meet results overall.
“It was kind of a disappointment, but we actually did really well, considering. We had Jacob Francis out with an injury, so we didn’t get any points in the distance events, and that’s something he normally scores a lot of points in. Wesley didn’t do as well in the 100 or long jump as he had hoped, and our medley team dropped the baton and got disqualified, which all lost us points. In fact, the sixth place was only six points behind the third place, so it was a really tight competition. If we hadn’t missed out in those few places, I think we would have been contenders.”
Wells said he knew the team’s injuries and the talent of the Richfield Wildcats team would make winning the state championship this year difficult.
“When we went into this, I knew we weren’t going to take first, because Richfield was so stacked. And when we lost Jacob I was pretty sure we weren’t going to get second either, so we were hoping for third.”
Wells also struck a more optimistic note, pointing out that Grand’s young team likely has a bright future.
“Most of these other teams are really heavily stacked with seniors, and they’re going to be losing a lot of them to graduation. Both our boys and girls teams only have one senior so we aren’t going to be losing a whole lot of people to graduation,” he said. “I think this is a really good sign for next year, because we’ve got such a strong group of juniors and underclassmen, both boys and girls. I think this looks really good for the next couple of seasons.”