The Grand County High School boys track team may have finished in second place behind Richfield in the Region 15 meet held Tuesday, May 8, but the Red Devils still hope to successfully defend their state title at the state track meet this coming weekend, May 18-19.
“We’ll have our hands full,” said GCHS head coach Dennis Wells. “Statistically, we should be able to be right there with Richfield.”
A total of five schools participated in last week’s Region 15 meet in Richfield. Richfield’s boys earned 123 points to take first place, while runner-up Grand earned 103 total points in the boys’ events. Emery was third with 41 points, and South Sevier and San Juan tied for fourth with 34 points each.
In the girls’ events, Emery placed first with 88 points, followed by San Juan with 80, Grand with 74, Richfield with 73 and South Sevier with 20. Richfield edged second-place Grand in the overall point totals, 196-177. Only the top five placers in each event were awarded points at region.
The Red Devils, who won the school’s first-ever state boys track championship last year, will need strong performances from just about every athlete who qualified in order to repeat as champions, Wells said.
“We’re in the toughest region,” Wells said. “We have about five or six other guys that didn’t qualify, but who would have if we were in another region.”
Sophomore distance runner Jacob Francis again paced the Red Devils, winning both the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter races at region. Francis also took second in the 800-meter race and helped the medley relay team to a second-place finish.
Francis’ time in the 1,600-meter race was a personal-best 4:33.40, which was originally believed to be a new school record. However, Wells said this week that documentation provided by Ryan Stucki’s family indicated that Stucki’s fastest times in both the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter races have yet to be broken.
Wells said Stucki reportedly ran the 1,600-meter race with a best time of 4:31.37 and the 3,200-meter race in 9:50.75 in the spring of 2001, Stucki’s junior year. For some reason, the record board at Grand County High School had only posted Stucki’s times from the state meet his senior year (2002), which were slower, even though he still won the state title in both events.
“Jacob’s still just a couple seconds off both of those times, but he knows he can beat them,” said Wells. “It gives him something to shoot for.”
Andy Bathemess took first at region in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 40.91 seconds, and also placed third in the 110-meter hurdles. Jordan Bryant was fifth in the 300-meter hurdles. Jackson Knowles placed fourth in the 800-meter race. Francis took second in the 800 with a time of 2:01.30, just four-tenths of a second behind winner Burton Griffith of Richfield.
Also for Grand, Wesley Rodda took first in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.65 seconds, and also placed third in the 100-meter dash. Zak Hazlett was third in the 400-meter race. Treyton Helquist placed fifth in the 3,200-meter race.
Grand’s boys also won the 4x400 meter relay, with a time of 3:38.11.
In the boys field events, Spencer Smith won the shot put with a throw of 44 feet, 4.25 inches. Kevin Ballard won the discus throw with a toss that measured 142 feet, 4.5 inches. Smith placed second in the discus with a throw of 127 feet, 11.5 inches, and Tyler Rockwell placed fifth in discus with a throw of 110 feet, 10 inches.
Keegn Richardson took second in the javelin with a throw of 142 feet, 9.5 inches.
For the Lady Devils, junior Carly Dalton placed first in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.75, and also won the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 47.71.
Rachel Garrett won the shot put event with a throw of 37 feet, 10 inches, which was more than three feet farther than the second-place athlete’s best toss. Also placing for Grand in that event was fellow GCHS senior Taylor Hamblin, who took fourth with a throw of 27 feet, 6.5 inches.
Garrett also handily won the discus with a throw of 119 feet, 4 inches, which was more than 10 feet farther than second-place Sammi Beck of Richfield.
Garrett also took fourth in the javelin with a throw of 96 feet, while teammate Haylee Lingle earned a point in the javelin with her fifth-place throw of 93 feet, 8 inches.
On the track, sophomore Mercedes James took third in the 1,600-meter race with a time of 6:16.70, while freshman teammate McKinleigh Barney placed fourth. James also placed second in the 3,200-meter race with a time of 14:15.29, while Barney was a close third with 14:15.79.
Malina Bohannon took third in the 100-meter dash. Kasey Betts took sixth in the 400-meter race and also won the high jump with a leap of exactly 5 feet, equaling her previous best.
Grand’s athletes will finish out the track season at the UHSAA state track meet at Brigham Young University in Provo May 18-19.