The Grand County Red Devils track team took second place overall in their qualifier meet at the Blue Mountain Invite on March 24.
Carbon took the first spot, finishing with 337 team points, while Grand had a combined score of 268.5. San Juan took third with 171 points. The Red Devils are proving early in the season that they are going to be a top competitor for any team they face. The boys squad took first place out of the 12 teams participating, scoring 159.5 and edging out Carbon’s boys by a seven-and-a-half-point margin. The girls squad finished second overall, with a total team score of 109, coming in behind Carbon at 185.
“We were missing some of our top performers,” said coach Randy Martin, noting that five of the top athletes on the boys team were absent for various reasons. “Ryan Lewis, Evan Ellison and Malachi Ricks were among the missing athletes, yet the boys still took first place without them. This is a good sign for the Red Devils when considering their roster depth this season.”
The windy weather once again caused some trouble for the Red Devils, but they were able to overcome the wind and scored highly across many events. Junior Connor Guerrero took first place in the 300-meter hurdles, clocking in at 43.31 just ahead of teammate Dakota Johnson, who took second at 45.64.
Grand County also edged out San Juan by one-tenth of a second in the boys 4x100 relay, finishing with a scorching 46.47 seconds. The Lady Devils took second in the 4x400, falling behind Carbon at 5:02.02. Freshman Neelie Relph took first place for Grand in the girl’s 100-meter dash, clocking in at 16.66 seconds. Senior Ruben Villalpando took first in the boy’s 110-meter overall in a blazing 16.53 seconds.
Devils' freshman Morgan Lewis also took third place overall in the girls high jump, adding 5.5 points to the Devils’ overall team score.
Coach Martin added that varying factors aside from weather often come into play in these outdoor events, such as the actual texture of the track itself. Martin stated that asphalt tracks which tend to have more give can lead to more difficulty running, which alters event times. The track at BYU, which is where the championship will be held, offers a carpeted track for running events, thus giving athletes from all teams a better shot at shaving off chunks of time added due to various physical factors.
The Red Devils’ next scheduled meet was slated for March 28 in Blanding, but Martin states that it has been pushed back and will likely not occur due to scheduling conflicts. This means the next time the Red Devils will hit the track should be in Manti on Friday, April 6.