ST. GEORGE — There weren’t any huge surprises at the first day of the Region 9 track and field championships Wednesday at Dixie High’s Walt Brooks Stadium, with Desert Hills dominating the boys competition and Cedar with the early lead for the girls.
With five events (out of 16) complete for the boys, D-Hills has 71 team points, well ahead of second-place Cedar, which has 33. Dixie is third with 29.
Jaiden Melendrez, just a sophomore, won the first event of the day, the boys 1,600 meters, finishing with a time of 4:27.57 to earn 10 points for his Thunder team. He beat Cedar junior Eric Lambert by just over a second in the close finish. Dixie’s Bronco Hollowell was third, about four seconds back.
In the boys medley relay, the Dixie quartet of Jaden Harrison, Tre Miller, Max Brown and Ike Urquhart edged Desert Hills with a time of 3:34.60. Pine View was third.
Desert Hills senior Austin Drew won his second straight region title in the javelin with a toss of 162-feet, 9-inches. Cedar sophomore Mason Fakahua was second, about three feet back, and Pine View junior Neitana Leung Choi was third.
With defending state champ Chandler Swaney sitting out the region competition (he’s already qualified for state) while nursing a sore hamstring, the long jump competition was wide open. Cedar sophomore Dylan Clements just edged Dixie senior RJ Wilgar for the gold, leaping 21-feet, 2.75-inches. Wilgar was at 21-1.
“We’re qualified for state, but I really wanted this,” Wilgar said. “I was hoping for the region title. But he made a great jump.” DH’s Ryan Eror was third.
With state record-holder Blake Kvarfordt graduated, Hurricane’s Jordan Hepworth stepped up to take the region title in the shot put. He recorded a 39-11, 10 inches farther than Pine View’s Ray Fiame. Tigers freshman Robert Campbell was third.
Wednesday featured trial heats in ,most of the other events. The final 11 events will be competed Thursday beginning at 4 p.m. with the boys and girls 3,200 meters.
For the girls, only four events were completed Wednesday. Sophomore Laynee Wells started the afternoon right for D-Hills, winning the 1,600-meters with a time of 5:19.95, edging Cedar freshman Halsey Curry by three seconds. Pine View freshman Jacey Finsh was third.
In the girls sprint medley relay, the Canyon View team of Melissa Covington, Bethenie Alger, Rachel Shearer and Mallory Thiele-Hendricks won with a time of 4:14.78, four seconds ahead of Cedar. Dixie was third.
Cedar sophomore Reagan Hulet destroyed the competition in the girls discus, throwing 10-feet farther than the next nearest competitor with a distance of 107-feet, 9.5-inches. Pine View’s Kaytlin Dowdell was second and Thunder tosser Elly Williams was third.
Desert Hills junior Tierra Orr took the high jump, clearing 5-feet, 3-inches. Two Cedar freshmen, Morgan Myers and Lexi Williams, placed second and third.
The DH boys won region with 244 points last season, far-outdistancing second-place Hurricane at 108 points. On the girls side, Cedar won region in 2014 with 173 points to runner-up Desert Hills’ 146 points.
The rest of the events will be played out between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday at DHS.
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