The Grand County Red Devils track and field team claimed victory at the BYU Invitational, held May 4 and 5 in Provo. A competitive meet hosting more than 40 teams from Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, the meet was won by a margin of 7.5 points, with the Grand County men and women scoring a combined 93.5 points, and Idaho’s Sugar Salem High School close behind with 86 points.
Grand County also placed first on the mens side of the meet with a total of 60.5 points, while the women took sixth overall with 33.
“It truly was a team effort to win this week,” said coach Randy Martin of the team’s performance. “All of our team members performed extraordinarily well.”
Many of the team’s runners said they have been looking forward to this meet, including senior Ryan Lewis. Martin explained, “Ryan Lewis came up .4 seconds short of breaking the 3,200-meter school record last season. He has had this date circled on his calendar for the last 12 months; he wanted that record.” Last weekend, Lewis’ hard work paid off. At the invitational, the runner blew past the previous state record of 9:50 set in 2014, and posted a new team record of 9:43.21, beating Ryan Stucki’s 17-year-old mark and placing fourth at the meet.
Lewis isn’t the only one who set his sights on this meet, though. “The team has been working hard since the end of February to prepare for these last three weeks of the season with the BYU Invitational, region championships, and state championships, all in consecutive weeks,” said Martin. “The BYU meet signifies the beginning of championship season for the team, and with the conclusion of the regular season, the pressure is on to perform.”
In what might be a good omen for the championship meets to come, the team set three other school records at the BYU Invitational. Sophomore Eli Hazlett set a record of 48.98 seconds in the 400-meter race, placing second overall at the meet. On the women’s side, Kylah Ricks broke the school record in the 1,600-meter race, running a time of 5:16.39 and placing second at the meet. Ricks followed her first record with another in the 3,200-meter race, setting the pace with a time of 11:31.36, placing second in the event.
“Kylah is an amazing runner,” Martin said of the young Ricks’ performances. “To do what she is doing as a freshman is amazing. The sky’s the limit for that young lady.”
As to the large number of record-breaking races at the meet, Martin said, “To have a team member break a school record in a meet is outstanding ... to break three school records in one day is amazing.”
The Red Devils will continue to prepare as they enter the championship season. They will compete in the Region 15 meet at Manti High School May 8 and 9 and will compete in the Utah State Track Championship meet May 17 and 18 at BYU.