The Grand County High School boys track team bested the field at the UHSAA Utah State 3A Track and Field Championships, which took place at Brigham Young University in Provo, Thursday, May 17 through Saturday, May 19. The Red Devils scored 115.5 points, while second-place Delta scored 87. On the girls side, Grand placed third with 52.1 points, as third place and seventh place were separated by less than five points. In first place, Juab scored 107.6 points.
Grand had only one individual state champion as senior Brayden Schultz, in his second track meet ever, won the high jump at 6 feet, 5 inches. However, Grand had scorers in every boys event except the 800-meter race, including multiple scorers in several events.
“If you look at it, it shows you what kind of a team effort it takes to win a state title,” Grand track and field coach Dennis Wells said. “Other schools had winners in multiple events, but had several events in which they didn’t get any points. We got points in almost every event.”
Schultz, a baseball player during the spring throughout his high school career, had always wanted to compete in track and field. Wells said they got together and determined the Orem meet would be his opportunity to qualify for state.
“We moved up to 3A where the standards for qualifying are much higher,” Wells said. “He had one chance, and he qualified for state in all three events we put him in.”
In addition to winning the high jump, Schultz placed third in the long jump at 20 feet, 4 inches; fifth in the shot put at 44 feet, 7 inches; and ran the anchor leg of the second-place 4×100-meter relay, contributing to 25 of Grand’s 115.5 points.
“I wanted to do it my whole life, but I never had a chance until this year,” Schultz told the Deseret News. “Everyone here is so nice and supportive. Everybody, even the people you’re going against, are cheering you on and offering you pointers.”
Schultz was joined in the 4×100-meter relay by junior Stacy Randall, senior Dakota Johnson and junior Connor Guerrero. Collectively, they ran a 44.24. The Red Devils also placed second in the other two relays as senior Ryan Lewis and sophomore Eli Hazlett joined Guerrero and Randall in the medley (3:39.26), and junior Trent Elmore joined Randall, Johnson and Guerrero in the 4×400-meter relay (3:30.40).
Lewis ran three individual races, placing second in the 1600-meters at 4:28.00, and third in the 3200-meters at 9:57.07. His legs were bothering him during the 800-meter race, Wells said, causing him to take 15th place at 2:09.99. The Red Devils had two other scoring seniors as Johnson placed third in the javelin at 160 feet, 8.25 inches, and eighth in the 300-meter hurdles at 42.20; and Ruben Villalpando took fourth in the 110-meter hurdles at 16.15.
In addition to running the medley, Hazlett scored in every sprinting event, including a second-place 48.13 in the 400-meters, which broke his own school record. He also placed fourth in the 200-meters at 22.94, and fifth in the 100-meters at 11.28. Delta’s Dallin Draper won all three events, running the 100-meters at 10.53, less than a tenth of a second from breaking the state record of 10.47; and breaking the state records in both the 200-meters (21.29) and the 400-meters (47.04).
“If we were still in 2A, Hazlett would have broken the state record in the 400 by more than half a second,” Wells said.
Randall and Guerrero each ran only one individual event thanks to their participation in all three relays. Randall placed fifth in the 200-meters at 23.11 and Guerrero placed third in the 300-meter hurdles at 40.18.
“(Guerrero) was disappointed because he wanted to take state in the 300-hurdles,” Wells said. “Both the guys ahead of him ran personal-record times just like he did, so I told him ‘You ran your best race of the season, and should be proud of it.’”
Grand also got scores from sophomore Evan Ellison, who placed sixth in the 3200-meters at 10:11.47, and seventh in the 1600-meters at 4:31.59; junior Jarom Shumway, who placed sixth in the discus at 124 feet, 8 inches, and seventh in the shot put at 44 feet, 2 inches; sophomore Jayden Dowd, who placed fourth in the high jump at 6 feet; junior Nolan Ramirez, who placed eighth in the long jump at 19 feet, 5 inches; junior Teddy Park, who placed eighth in the high jump at 5 feet, 10 inches; and sophomore Malachi Ricks, who placed eighth in the 3200-meters at 10:21.12. Park, Ramirez and Elmore missed the majority of the season because of injuries, Wells said.
“What was fun about it is the other teams had everyone PR’ing knowing they had to in order to knock us off, and our guys stepped up and PR’d too,” Wells said.
The girls team was anchored by junior Veda Gritts, who made the podium (top six) in all three throwing events, and freshman Kylah Ricks, who scored in all three distance running events. Gritts placed second in both the shot put (37 feet, 4 inches) and the discus (108 feet, 8 inches), and sixth in the javelin (108 feet, 7.25 inches). Ricks placed second in both the 1600-meters (5:23.97) and the 3200-meters (11.37.91), finishing behind Union senior Kennedy Powell in both events, whom she was runner-up to for the state cross country title as well. Ricks also placed seventh in the 800-meters (2:26.89).
Ricks was joined by freshman Anika Scherer on the podium in the 3200-meters, as Scherer ran 11:54.55 for fifth place. In the 1600-meters, sophomore Jessie Anderson ran in sixth at 5:35.05. Ricks ran with senior Abby Mason and juniors Annabelle Garrett and Auburn Jackman to eighth place in the Medley at 4:32.62. Garrett, Scherer and Jackman joined freshman Emree Olsen for an eighth-place finish in the 4×400-meter relay (4:22.61).
In individual events, Garrett placed fifth in the high jump at 4 feet, 11 inches; and Jackman placed eighth in the 400-meters at 1:01.33. Freshman Morgan Lewis finished seventh in the high jump at 4 feet, 9 inches, and junior Shane Stroder finished eighth in the discus at 94 feet, 0.25 inches.
Wells gave credit to Grand County School District Superintendent JT Stroder for his help with the throwers, as Grand had an athlete on the podium in every event for both boys and girls. Wells also said he was happy with the girls’ performance overall.
“I was impressed by the girls’ taking third,” he said. “They don’t have the depth the boys have, but they’ve got some great athletes.”
Wells said he is excited for the future for both the boys and girls teams.
“I’m looking forward to next year,” he said. “The girls will be right there with the boys. Our goal is to need two fire trucks next year when we get back to town from the state meet.”
The boys title was Wells’ sixth state title as a head coach at Grand County High School, the fourth in boys track and field (2011, 2012, 2014, 2018). He also coached GCHS to the 2005 state 2A football title and the 2006 state 2A girls track and field title.
Lady Red Devils surge to third place
“If you look at it, it shows you what kind of a team effort it takes to win a state title. Other schools had winners in multiple events, but had several events in which they didn’t get any points. We got points in almost every event.”
1. Grand 115.5
2. Delta 87
3. Morgan 79
4. Richfield 55
5. Juab 47.5
6. Manti 43
7. Grantsville 42.33
8. Carbon 39
1. Juab 107.6
2. Delta 89.5
3. Grand County 52.1
4. Morgan 52
5. Richfield 51
6. Judge Memorial 50.6
7. Union 48
8. Carbon 42