A year ago, Desert Hills’ boys and girls ran away with the Region 9 and state Class 3A track and field championships. Cedar City’s girls and Dixie’s boys were also among the top five at state.
While everyone lost several good athletes to graduation, most teams also return several quality performers.
“We’re looking forward to a fun season,” said Cedar girls coach Josh Bennett, as he and his fellow coaches previewed the season, which will end with the state meet at BYU in mid-May.
The Lady Reds finished second to Class 5A Timpanogas at the Hurricane Rotary Invitational, the first meet of the 2016 season, last weekend.
“We have an outstanding group of girls returning from a second-place finish at state last year,” Bennett said. “The expectations have always been high and we expect the girls to compete each week at a high level.”
Dace Goulding, the coach at Desert Hills, said, “Our girls team is deeper than ever and could have multiple scorers in every event at region.”
Both those schools will also field strong boys teams. “Our boys team will be strong across the board again this year, with a great group of seniors that have stayed committed since they were freshmen,” Goulding said.
“I anticipate that the guys will do really well against the Region 9 teams,” said Cedar boys coach James Davidson. “I’m excited to see them do their bests.”
Among the girls to watch from Cedar are Brooklyn Shakspeare in the sprints, Whitney Yardley in the middle distances, Sam Twitchell in the hurdles, Reagan Hulet in the throws, Halsey Curry in the distances and Julia Hunt and Rachael Hunt in the sprints.
Thunder girls to watch include Tierra Orr, a point-winner in the hurdles, high jump and long jump at state in each of the last three years; Laynee Wells, the region champ in the 1600; and Kaylee Carter, the state champ in the 300 hurdles.
Some of the Cedar boys Davidson listed among those to watch include Eric Lambert and Jensen Lambert in the distances, Bodrey Allred and Jaden Tullis in the sprints, Mason Fakahua in the javelin and Dylan Clements in the long jump.
Desert Hills boys to watch include Garrick Sharp, the top Region 9 returner in the 100 and both hurdles events; Jaiden Melendez, the state champion in the 1600 and 3200; and Josh Thatcher, a state point-winner in the 3200.
While those two teams appear to be the strongest on paper, there are six teams in Region 9. Each of the other coaches like their athletes and have high expectations for them.
“Region 9 is LOADED with amazing athletes and I love that we get to compete against them on a weekly basis,” said coach Justin Redfearn of Snow Canyon.
The Warriors have 70 athletes out, nearly triple what they’ve had the past two years, Redfearn noted.
“We are putting into place high expectations and the athletes are responding,” Redfearn said.
Without specifying their events, Redfearn said those to watch include Chris Poulsen, Tim Holland, Johan Castro, Josh Willis, Morgan Atkinson, Pyper Schmutz, Kylie Dorius, Ashlyn Redfearn and Ina Fakahua. He listed his top newcomers as transfers Tae Washington and Taliesin Jessop, Hunter Mitchell, Connor Poulsen, Adi Melendez, Brooklyn Bell and Kennady McCaul.
“We’re looking for good things from a few kids this year,” said Hurricane boys coach Boyd Prince. That list includes Reagan Hinton and Kyler Blackmore in the sprints, Cole Croft in the long jump, Robert Campbell and Quando Ieremia in the discus, Riley Ballard and Jared Frehner in the high jump and Kody Watts and Isaiah Kinikini in the distances.
“We are looking forward to competing at a high level this year with the other Region 9 schools,” Prince said.
Some of the athletes to watch from Dixie are Ike Urquhart in the 400; Starlee Woodbury, Elijah Ford and Elizabeth Durrant in the hurdles and Aspen Bair in the discus. Pine View’s “to watch” list includes Adi Baker, Skyler Abel, Rylee Holt and Nick Hill in the distances; Lexi Olds in the sprints; Neitana Leung Choi in the javelin and Kaytlin Dowdell in the discus. Hurricane girls to watch include Alyssa Lambert in the hurdles, Brianne Cahoon in the 400 and Teslin Bettridge in the high jump.
2016 Track and Field Schedule
April 1-2 — Pine View Invitational
April 8-9 — Desert Hills Multi-district
April 15-16 — Desert Hills Invitational
April 22-23 — Dixie Invitatiional
April 29-30 — Snow Canyon Invitational
April 30 — Orem Invitationalww.
May 5-6 — BYU Invitational
May 11-12 — Region at Snow Canyon
May 20-21 — State at BYU
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