ST. GEORGE — It may have been Dixie High’s track, but it was Desert Hills’ track meet.
Once again, the Thunder boys dominated nearly every facet of the Region 9 Championships, easily winning with 227 points, beating second-place Dixie (90 points) and third-place Hurricane (77). On the girls side, it was more of a contest, with Cedar out-distancing Desert Hills 169-150. Dixie was third with 78 points.
“You know, I think a big part of it is that we just like to have fun,” D-Hills coach Dace Goulding said. “Success breeds success and so we get a lot of participation and I just love it when friends tell friends to join the track team. They’re recruiting on campus for us and that’s huge.”
The Thunder, who are the defending region and state champions, pretty much owned the two-day event, with the only thing not under their control being the weather. A lightning delay kept the meet about an hour behind on Thursday. However, when the different events did get going, usually a gold and black clad Thunder runner (or thrower, or jumper) was leading the pack.
“All schools have great athletes, but I believe we do a better job of recruiting, getting them to come out and compete,” said DH gold medalist Caleb Whitney. “I get my friends to come out and tell them we’ll find an event that suits them. I basically tell everyone to join the team.”
Whitney, a senior, had a great two days at Walt Brooks Stadium. He won the 110-meter hurdles, the 300-hurdles and anchored the gold-medal winning 4 X 100 team for Desert Hills. He also took advantage of the absence of all-stater Chandler Swaney to win the high jump.
“I started hurdles halfway through my sophomore year and by the end of the year, I was eighth in region,” Whitney said. “I wasn’t quite fast enough for the sprints, but I was pretty fast and I have long legs and am flexible, so the hurdles felt right.”
In the “fastest man” competition, the 100-meters, DH senior Carlyn Barlow beat classmate Diego Escobar for first place. Garrick Sharp was third as the Thunder captured an astounding 28 team points on the event. Nathan Sharp, also of Desert Hills, won the 200 and teammates Zak Fuchs and Barlow were second and fourth, giving DH 23 points in that event.
Other Thursday winners were Josh Thatcher of Desert Hills in the 3200, Seth Dabb of Canyon View in the 400, Ike Urquhart of Dixie in the 800, Canyon View’s 4 X 400 team (Dabb, Zach Walton, Mitchell Wright and Michael Musto), Chanse Riding of Desert Hills in the discus and Austin Drew of Desert Hills in the javelin. Whitney, Tatcher and Drew are all returning champs.
For the girls, Cedar led most of the two days, though Desert Hills made a run with big performances in the short sprints.
Reagan Hulet (discus) had the only gold Wednesday for Cedar, but the Lady Reds, coached by Josh Bennett, got it going on Thursday.
“This is exciting,” Bennett said. “We’ve got a very well-rounded team this year. We’re always strong in the distance races, but we are much better in the sprints and the throwing events this season. There is definitely strength in numbers. We have more than 100 girls who came out for track. Success and tradition help that. And we have a lot of school spirit at Cedar High.”
Cedar freshman Halsey Curry, who was second in Wednesday’s 1600-meters to DH sophomore Laynee Wells, turned the tables on Thursday, beating Wells in the 3200 by 11 seconds. Junior Whitney Yardley gained 10 points for the Lady Reds by winning the 800 and sophomore Brooklyn Shakespeare sprinted to a win in the 200. Cedar had four golds.
Desert Hills had five gold medals on the girls side of the event Thursday (plus two from Wednesday), with sophomore Elly Williams taking the shot put event, Olivia Leavitt winning the 100-meter hurdles, the 4 X 100 relay team winning (Jessica Bills, Hannah Morby, Brooklyn Lott and Abby Taylor), Kaylee Carter taking the 300-hurdles and the team of Brecken Dally, Savannah Echo Hawk, Lott and Carter triumphing in the 4 X 400.
“My dad (Dixie State president Richard Williams) threw in college and I’ve tried different events, but I just was naturally good at the throwing events,” Elly Williams said. “I love track and still do different events, including the 4-by-4, the discus and the javelin.” Williams also had top 10 finishes in the discus and javelin.
Thursday’s other gold winners were “fastest woman” Starlee Woodbury of Dixie in the 100-meters, Rachel Shearer of Canyon View in the 400 and Kenedi Maycock of Snow Canyon in the long jump.
All of the winners will compete in next week’s 3A State Track Meet at BYU, beginning Friday morning at Robison Track Stadium in Provo.
|Women’s Varsity Team Scores|
|After 16 Events|
|Men’s Varsity Team Scores|
|After 16 Events|
- Runnercard: 2015 Region 9 Championships
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