State track meet recap: Snow Canyon girls, Desert Hills boys win 4A state titles

KAYSVILLE — The Snow Canyon girls and the Desert Hills boys won the Utah High School Activities Association’s 4A state track championships on Saturday. It was Snow Canyon’s first-ever state track title, while the Desert Hills boys have now taken state eight straight times.

Snow Canyon junior Kristin Cook (right) hugs teammate Emma Bingham after their 1-2 finish in the 4A girls 100-meter race at UHSAA state 1A-4A track meet, Davis High School, Kaysville, Utah, May 22, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

The two-day meet, which spanned the 1A-4A classifications, was staged at Davis High School. 

The Desert Hills boys’ eighth win in a row didn’t come easily, as the Thunder had to fend off strong challenges from region rival Pine View all throughout the meet, up to and including the final race, the 4×400 relay.

Heading into that last event, Desert Hills had an eight-point lead in the team standings, 97.5 to 89.5, meaning as long as Pine View didn’t win the race and Desert Hills placed among the top eight, the Thunder would still come out on top. Pine View ended up taking third and Desert Hills eighth in the 4×400, thereby giving Desert Hills a three-point win, 98.5 to 95.5.

Desert Hills coach Logan Fielding said that was the Thunder’s closest margin of victory at a state meet, ever since its remarkable winning streak began in 2013. 

“Their (Pine View’s) 4×400 ran really well to finish off the meet, so it was a lot closer than we wanted,” Fielding told St. George News. “It was a good battle. Three points is the closest it’s ever been for any of these eight state championships we’ve won, so it was pretty special to see it happen.”

Senior Peyton Williams of Desert Hills competes in the 4A boys shot put at UHSAA state 1A-4A track meet, Davis High School, Kaysville, Utah, May 22, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Senior Peyton Williams led the way for the Desert Hills boys, winning both the discus and the shot put. His winning discus throw of 171 feet, 11 inches on Friday was more than 38 feet farther than his closest competitor’s top throw. In the shot put finals on Saturday, Williams fouled on four of his six attempts, but he still made his winning throw of 55 feet, 4 inches on his fourth try. Teammate Ryan Chesnik, also a senior, picked up another five points for the Thunder by taking fourth place overall in the shot put with a throw of 44 feet, 1 inch.

Another key event for Desert Hills was the 4×200 relay, a relatively new event that, along with the 4×800, has replaced the sprint medley in the 4A and larger classifications.

When Ty Parker took the baton at the race’s midway point in Friday’s 4×200, the eighth-seeded Thunder were running in last place among the eight teams in the race. Parker managed to pass a few runners before handing off to anchor Josh Crandall, who sprinted down the final stretch and narrowly passed Stansbury at the finish line to give Desert Hills second place in the event.

Desert Hills runners at UHSAA state 1A-4A track meet, Davis High School, Kaysville, Utah, May 22, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

“That was a huge point swing for us,” Fielding said, admitting that it was a bit risky to put Crandall and Parker in that relay instead of another individual event they’d qualified in, such as the long jump.

“There’s a little bit of a gamble pulling those two from individual events, but it worked out for us, especially for that 4×200,” he added.

“We knew coming in we were going to have a battle with Pine View and we knew it was going to be close for sure,” Fielding added. “I’m super proud of all of these boys. Every one of them in every event helped immensely and really contributed to this team win. It was a huge team effort which makes it even more exciting.”

Region 9 schools also occupied the next two spots in the boys standings, with Hurricane finishing third at state and Snow Canyon coming in fourth. See the listings of the top 4A schools and their scores at the bottom of the story.

“I feel like this was the most competitive year ever, on both the boys and girls sides, for Region 9 all throughout all the events,” Fielding added. “That’s going to push us to be even stronger for years to come. We’ve been strong for a very long time, but this is a banner year, I think, for Region 9. It’s fun to see the respect the other coaches and the athletes have for each other. It makes for a really great environment.”

Snow Canyon junior Kristin Cook wins the 4A girls 100-meter dash at UHSAA state 1A-4A track meet, Davis High School, Kaysville, Utah, May 22, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

As for the Snow Canyon girls, their state championship wasn’t decided on the last race. In fact, the Warriors weren’t even entered in the 4×400 relay. It didn’t matter, as Snow Canyon had already earned more than enough team points to win its first track title in school history. 

Earlier on Saturday, junior sprinter Kristin Cook won both the 100- and 200-meter dashes for the Warriors, who got 14 extra points by senior Emma Bingham finishing a respective second and third in those same two events. Bingham, a star outfielder for Snow Canyon’s softball team, became available to compete at the track meet after the Warriors were eliminated on Thursday from the state softball tournament.

Cook and Bingham also ran in both of Snow Canyon’s winning sprint relays, joining Darcy Jackson and Kenya Rowley to take first place in the 4×200 on Friday and the 4×100 on Saturday.

“Having Emma meant everything to us this weekend,” said Snow Canyon head coach Justin Redfearn. “Her ability to score in the 100 and the 200, along with helping us in both of those relays, was enormous for our success. Had we not had her, we would not have been able to win the state championship.”

Also noteworthy is the fact that the Snow Canyon girls didn’t score any points in field events at the state meet.

“We didn’t even have one point in a field event. That’s what’s so amazing about taking state,” Redfearn said. “It was totally unexpected. We did not anticipate it at all.”

Snow Canyon junior Kristin Cook wins the 4A girls 400-meter race at UHSAA state 1A-4A track meet, Davis High School, Kaysville, Utah, May 22, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

“We knew we were going to be good, but we just did not feel like we had the depth to compete with Desert Hills, Cedar and Pine View,” he added. “We knew we had some top-end talent, but we just didn’t realize that we were going to be able to score that many points. I thought maybe we would be lucky to get third at state.”

But when senior Brea Bulkley and junior Hailee Phillips placed a respective third and fifth in both the 1,600- and the 800-meter races, Redfearn said he began to realize the Warriors might have a shot. Bulkley and Phillips had also teamed with Savannah Wilkinson and Aspen Kenworthy to post a fourth-place finish in the 4×800, giving Snow Canyon five more points.

“We just had a total of eight girls score points for us,” Redfearn said. “And two of those were just in that one 4×800 relay.”

Redfearn said Snow Canyon softball coach Tracee Heaton was especially supportive in allowing Bingham to also participate in track this spring.

“That was incredibly huge for her to be so willing to let her juggle her schedule to be with us as much as possible, especially on weekends for meets,” he said.

Following are additional selected highlights from the state meet, grouped by classification. For complete meet results on RunnerCard, click here.

4A boys

Pine View junior Dominique McKenzie (right) crosses the finish line slightly ahead of his twin brother Marcus McKenzie in the 4A boys 100-meter race at UHSAA state 1A-4A track meet, Davis High School, Kaysville, Utah, May 22, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Pine View’s twin speedsters Dominique and Marcus McKenzie made impressive 1-2 finishes in three races on Saturday, sweeping the top two spots in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter events. In each of those three races, Dominique edged his brother to take first place. However, in their fourth event, the long jump, it was Marcus who outperformed his brother, placing second as Dominique finished fifth. Altogether, the McKenzies, who are juniors, accounted for 66 of Pine View’s 95.5 team points.

Desert Hills senior Carson Helmer won the 3,200 in a time of 9:28.72, edging runner-up Logan Peel, a sophomore from Cedar and Hurricane senior Joshua Armstrong, who finished third. The next day, however, Armstrong won both the 1,600 and 800 meter races. Helmer placed fourth in the 1600.

In the 110-meter hurdles, senior Kenneth Moore of Hurricane edged his rival from Dixie, senior Spencer Carlile, with Moore posting a time of 14.35 seconds to runner-up Carlile’s 14.88. However, in the 300-meter hurdles event later that same afternoon, their places were reversed, as Carlile won that race in 37.67, while Moore placed second in 38.71.

Snow Canyon sophomore Bo Hickman set a new state record in the 4A boys javelin, winning the event with a throw measuring 204 feet, 9 inches.

4A girls

Cedar High senior Logann Laws competes in the 4A girls javelin at UHSAA state 1A-4A track meet, Davis High School, Kaysville, Utah, May 21, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Frank Kay Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Cedar senior Logann Laws repeated as state champion in the javelin, with her winning throw measuring 144 feet, 8 inches. Coming in second was her teammate Kelsi Oldroyd, who threw 128 feet, 11 inches. Oldroyd also placed second in the long jump and fourth in both the shot put and the high jump.

Hurricane junior Caila Odekirk won both the 3,200 and 1,600 meter races. Her time in the former was 10:48.96, more than 15 seconds ahead of the runner-up. She also placed second in the 800 meters.

Pine View senior Alli Baker won both the 400- and 800-meter races. She also placed second behind Odekirk in the 1,600.

Desert Hills senior Shailee Bundy placed second in the shot put. Canyon View sophomore Jaylie Roden placed second in the discus.

1A boys

The Panguitch boys went into Saturday’s final event, the 4×400 relay, knowing they needed to finish within one place of Water Canyon to keep their slim lead in the standings. The Bobcats did exactly that, placing fourth, just a half-second behind Water Canyon’s third-place finish in that last race. Panguitch finished with 107 team points while runner-up Water Canyon had 105.

Panguitch boys and girls with 1A state championship trophies, UHSAA track and field championships, Davis High School, Kaysville, Utah, May 22, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

But it was on the field, rather than the track, where the Bobcats really shone. Panguitch racked up 61 points in the three throwing events alone. Led by junior Kyler Bennett, the Bobcats swept the top three spots in the javelin. They also saw four athletes score points in the shot put, including winner Wade Christensen. In the discus, Water Canyon senior Makenzie Jessop won with a throw of 140 feet, 2 inches, but Bennett and teammate Tucker Chappell took second and third, respectively, giving the Bobcats 14 points to Water Canyon’s 10 in that event.

“Thank goodness for the throws,” said Panguitch head coach Troy Norris.

The win marked the 16th boys track title in school history for Panguitch and its sixth since 2013.

Water Canyon senior Hyrum Fechser set a state 1A long jump record with a leap measuring 23 feet, 8 inches, breaking Wade Orton of Kanab’s mark of 22’10” set in 1984. Fechser also won the high jump at state, clearing 6 feet, 2 inches.

1A girls

The Panguitch girls won their eighth straight state title in convincing fashion on Saturday, earning 181 points while runner-up Milford finished with 146.

Panguitch girls with medals after winning UHSAA state 1A-4A track meet, Davis High School, Kaysville, Utah, May 22, 2021 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Sophomore Adelaide Englestead led the way for the Bobcats, earning an impressive 38 points herself by winning the 3,200-, 1,600- and 800-meter races and placing second in the 400, to freshman teammate Tabetha Henrie.

Panguitch’s two track and field championships on Saturday bring its total number of state titles to date to 92, surpassing Timpview by 1 as the winningest school for sanctioned state titles in Utah history, according to the Utah High School Activities Association.

2A boys

The Kanab Cowboys rode to the school’s first track title since 1983 with a 20-point win over Monticello.

Sophomore Travis Stewart won three races for Kanab, finishing first in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter events. The Cowboys finished with 100.5 team points, while runner-up Monticello had 88.5. Monticello senior Cedar English had the highest high jump mark of any athlete at the state meet, clearing 6 feet, 5.25 inches. He also won the long jump.

2A girls

North Summit won its 11th state track title since 2009; the only years the Braves didn’t win during that span were 2015 and again in 2020, when COVID-19 canceled the season. North Summit finished with 124 team points, while runner-up Millard had 115. Rounding out the top six, in order, were four other Southern Utah schools: Parowan, Kanab, Enterprise and Beaver.

3A boys 

Morgan repeated as 3A boys track champions, edging Juab 105.5 points to 104. Heading into the last event, the 4×400 relay, Juab had a half-point lead, 98 to 97.5. Although Richfield won that last race, Morgan finished second and Juab came in about 1.5 seconds behind them in third place, but the two-point difference pushed the Trojans ahead of the Wasps for the title. 

3A girls

The Delta girls were another repeat winner, having also taken state in 2019. Senior Savannah Nielson won the 100-meter dash and both hurdles races for the Rabbits, while fellow senior Adi Nielson won the 200- and 400-meter races and placed second in the 300 hurdles. Morgan High took home the 3A girls runner-up trophy.

State 4A track and field championships, girls top 10 team results

  1. Snow Canyon 90
  2. Desert Hills 77.5
  3. Cedar 69.5
  4. Pine View 67
  5. Green Canyon 55
  6. Logan 52
  7. Hurricane 48
  8. Canyon View 46
  9. Mountain Crest 38
  10. Sky View 25

State 4A track and field championships, top 10 boys team results

  1. Desert Hills 98.5
  2. Pine View 95.5
  3. Hurricane 72.5
  4. Snow Canyon 55
  5. Bear River 54
  6. Cedar 48
  7. Green Canyon 40
  8. Stansbury 39
  9. Sky View 24.5
  10. Dixie 23

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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