GCHS sophomore Kylah Ricks (right) and junior Jessie Anderson ran in the 3200-meter race at the Red Rocks Invitational in Moab on Saturday, March 9. Ricks finished first in the race at 12:36.94, followed by Anderson in second at 13:02.81. [Photo courtesy of Barry Ellison]

The Grand County High School track team began its season by hosting the Red Rocks Invitational in Moab on Saturday, March 9.

The boys’ team placed first and the girls placed third, with help from standout performances by junior Eli Hazlett and sophomore Kylah Ricks, both of whom won three individual events.

Hazlett earned a clean sweep in the shorter-distance dash races, winning the 100-meter run at 11.43; the 200-meter run at 22.85; and the 400-meter run with a time of 50.37.

In the girls division, Ricks monopolized the top spot in the long-distance races, winning the 800-meter run with a time of 2:31.74; the 1600-meter run in just over 5 minutes at 5:49.40; and the 3200-meter run with a time of 12:36.94.

Hazlett also anchored the 4×400-meter relay, running with seniors Connor Guerrero and Trent Elmore and sophomore Jimmie Johnson, to a second-place finish with a time of 3:44.33. Ricks’ fourth event was the girls 400-meter race, in which she took third with a time of 1:04.45.

“Eli Hazlett worked really hard over the winter and it shows,” GCHS assistant track and field coach Randy Martin said of the boys’ team. “I’m sure he’s going to have a really good year.”

Martin offered similar praise to Ricks’ performance on the girls’ team.

“Kylah ran her butt off all winter with her family,” he said. “It’s not often you can go into a meet like this and get three first-place finishes.”

On the field, GCHS seniors Jarom Shumway and Veda Gritts won their respective shot put and discus events. Shumway’s shot-put throw measured 42 feet, 10 inches; his discus throw measured 121 feet, 8 inches. Gritts threw 36 feet, 10.5 inches in the shot put, and 111 feet, 11 inches in the discus. Shumway also placed seventh in the 300-meter hurdles at 48.74, while Gritts also placed second in the javelin at 107 feet, 9 inches.

“Veda’s an amazing athlete,” Martin said. “To walk off the basketball court and onto the track and almost score three first-place finishes in an amazing accomplishment.”

Joining the winners’ circle, junior Evan Ellison placed first in both the 3200-meters (10:24.7) and the 1600-meters (4:55.65), followed by teammate Malachi Ricks in second in both races (10:26.0 in the 3200-meters and 4:57.04 in the 1600-meter race).

Ellison and Ricks were also part of the first-place medley relay quartet with Guerrero and junior Kasey Kemp, running a 4:07.71. Guerrero added a first-place of his own in the 110-meter hurdles (16.92); he placed second in the 300-meter hurdles (43.26).

“Our boys are poised to have a great season like they did last year,” Martin said. “They’re an amazing group of young men and they want to repeat (the wins). It’ll be fun to watch them throughout the season.”

The boys’ first-place score of 184 points was aided by a handful of other scoring performances in the field as senior Austin Johnson took second in the shot put at 38 feet, and seventh in the javelin at 114 feet, 8 inches; sophomore Jaymmin Hester took fourth in the shot put at 36 feet, 11 inches, and third in the discus at 105 feet, 6 inches, and eighth in the javelin at 114 feet, 6 inches; and junior Jayden Dowd placed third in the javelin at 139 feet, 6 inches, and fourth in the high jump at 5 feet, 8 inches.

Junior Kaine Allred finished third (17 feet, 7.5 inches), and sophomore Ryelan Jones placed fifth (17 feet, 1 inch) in the long jump. Senior Teddy Park (5 feet, 8 inches) took fifth in the high jump. Montezuma-Cortez took second as a team with 124.5 points, followed by Carbon in third at 109 points, and Emery in fourth at 93 points.

For the girls, Carbon took first with 200 points, followed by Montezuma-Cortez in second at 149.5 points and Grand in third at 107 points.

In addition to Ricks, Gritts and Anderson, GCHS also got scoring contributions from sophomore Emree Olsen, who placed fourth in the 300-meter hurdles (54.20), and sixth in both the 400-meter run (1:06.99) and the 200-meter run (30.29).

“It was a good meet for the girls,” Martin said. “We came in third even though we were missing several of our top female athletes. We’re also trying to figure out which events are best for the new girls on the team. This meet was able to help us do that.”

The GCHS track and field team has a week off before returning to action at a Carbon-hosted invitational in Price on Saturday, March 23, beginning at 9 a.m.

Boys’ team takes first, girls place third with top finishers

“It was a good meet for the girls.”