The Grand County High School track and field team competed and the Region 15 Championship meet in Manti on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 7 and 8, where illness and outside commitments thwarted the team’s bid for a region title in the boys division.
The Grand County High School (GCHS) boys finished second to Emery’s 157 points, scoring 144 of their own. Top sprinter Eli Hazlett, fell ill and did not compete in the 200 or 400-meter races, of which he was expected to place second and first, leaving a potential 18 points off the board for GCHS. Hazlett did compete in the 100-meters, taking second at 11.43.
In addition to Hazlett’s illness, the GCHS Red Devils also had sprinter Stacy Randall, distance runner Evan Ellison and high-jumper Teddy Park miss some or all of the meet because of other school-related commitments. Ellison, however, competed in the 800- and 3200-meter races, taking seventh at 2:10.74 and second at 10:26.81.
“We found every way possible to give region away,” GCHS track and field coach Dennis Wells said. “We had guys not go, get sick or not have the results we expected.”
The GCHS Red Devils still had several strong finishes at the meet, including individual first-places from Connor Guerrero in the 300-meter hurdles (41.35), Carlin Bierschied in the shot put (46 feet, 6.5 inches), and Kaine Allred in the long jump (19 feet, 5.5 inches).
GCHS also got second-place finishes from Malachi Ricks in the 1600-meters (4:44.20), Nolan Ramirez in the long jump (19 feet, 4 inches) and Guerrero in the 110-meter hurdles (15.97).
The Red Devils boys had two more top-eight finishers in the long jump — Ryelan Jones in fourth at 19 feet; and Corbin Arbon in sixth at 18 feet, 8 inches. GCHS also had three top-eight finishers in the javelin: Dante Wells in third at 137 feet, 8 inches; Jayden Dowd in fourth at 134 feet, 6 inches; and Sage Stroder in sixth at 129 feet.
In the discus, Jarom Shumway and Sage Stroder placed fifth and sixth, respectively, with throws of 114 feet, 3.5 inches; and 113 feet, 2 inches. In the shot put, Jaymmin Hester took fifth at 41 feet, 7 inches. Shumway was projected to finish near the top in the shot put, but didn’t make the final, failing to qualify for state, coach Wells said. He said that Shumway and Stroder are both capable of better finishes in the discus at state than they had at region.
Despite finishing second in region, Wells said the GCHS Red Devils still have a strong chance of repeating as state champions.
“We were favored over Morgan to take state before the region meet, and now Morgan is favored by a few points,” he said. “We’ll have all of our guys back in their events and Stacy Randall will help us in the relays so we’ll be right there in the mix.”
In the girls division, GCHS placed third with 81 points, behind 167.5 points from Richfield and 117.5 points from Manti.
Kylah Ricks earned a clean sweep of her four events, taking first in the 800- (2:28.75), 1600- (5:35.98) and 3200- (12:12.54) meter races, as well as joining Emree Olsen, Auburn Jackman and Annabelle Garrett to take first in the medley relay (4:38.97). Veda Gritts also took first in both the javelin (107 feet, 3 inches) and the shot put (38 feet, 3 inches), but did not compete in the discus, an event in which she normally finishes near the top.
The UHSAA Utah State Track and Field Championships will take place Friday and Saturday, May 17 and 18, at Brigham Young University in Provo.
Outside factors doom GCHS’ region bid