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Competition before results: Track athletes and coaches revel in state meet opportunity

By Jared Lloyd daily Herald - | May 24, 2021
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Lone Peak sophomore Jaron Hartshorn (right) gets congratulated by Skyridge runners after he won the 6A boys 1,600-meter race at the state track meet at Davis High School in Kaysville on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.

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The Orem boys track team celebrates winning the 5A title at the state track meet at Davis High School in Kaysville on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.

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Hurdlers run in the 5A competition at the state track meet at Davis High School in Kaysville on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.

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Orem sophomore Taysom Echohawk wins the 5A boys 1,600-meter race at the state track meet at Davis High School in Kaysville on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.

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Provo senior Aryanna Hifo (center) stands atop of the podium after winning the 5A girls discus competition at the state track meet at Davis High School in Kaysville on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.

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Timpview senior Jacob Gates competes in the 5A boys long jump at the state track meet at Davis High School in Kaysville on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.

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Lehi sophomore Sarah Ballard wins the 5A girls 100-meter race at the state track meet at Davis High School in Kaysville on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.

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Lone Peak sophomore Jaron Hartshorn (right) stands atop the podium after he won the 6A boys 1,600-meter race at the state track meet at Davis High School in Kaysville on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.

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Provo junior Jace Welsch competes in the 5A boys long jump at the state track meet at Davis High School in Kaysville on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.

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Maple Mountain junior Fisher Stokes competes in the 5A boys shot put at the state track meet at Davis High School in Kaysville on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.

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The Maple Mountain relay team passes the baton during the 5A girls 4x100-meter race at the state track meet at Davis High School in Kaysville on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.

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Skyridge junior Matt Taylor competes in the 6A boys javelin at the state track meet at Davis High School in Kaysville on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.

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A Maple Mountain pole vaulter warms up before the 5A boys pole vault competition at the state track meet at Davis High School in Kaysville on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.

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Relay runners make the exchange during the 5A boys 4x100-meter race at the state track meet at Davis High School in Kaysville on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.

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The Timpanogos girls track team celebrates winning the 5A title at the state track meet at Davis High School in Kaysville on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.

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Timpanogos sophomore Summer Christensen competes in the 5A girls high jump at the state track meet at Davis High School in Kaysville on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.

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The Lone Peak girls track team celebrates winning the 6A title at the state track meet at Davis High School in Kaysville on Wednesday, May 19, 2021.

Music groups like Cinderella and Big Yellow Taxi both expressed the same sentiment when they used the lyrics, “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

High school track athletes and coaches who were at the state track meets held this past week at Davis High School in Kaysville definitely could relate.

“Last year was such a weird year with them pulling everything from the kids,” Orem head coach Andy Jacobs said. “When we started in early January, even in December, we were just talking through what the season was going to look like. We had no idea.”

In addition to the pandemic that created such chaos, Jacobs also dealt with some additional health challenges that made every moment even sweeter.

He got choked up as he looked across the field from the stands and saw all the athletes, especially his Tigers, competing in their various sports.

“Everybody stepped up,” Jacobs said. “I think a lot of that was just simply because they missed it so much last year. Since we missed it last year, we said let’s make the most of it this year. We didn’t know what we’re going to have but we made the most of that for sure.”

While Jacobs was savoring watching the Orem boys dominate their 5A division, Lone Peak head coach Brad Molen was feeling similar pride as his squad put their talents on display.

“Once the year was canceled last year, it was just so disheartening for all of us to watch the kids trying to figure out what to do now and how do they do it,” Molen said. “The poor kids, they kept training, thinking the season would keep happening. We were trying to tell them keep going just in case, that maybe we’ll get a couple of weeks and have a state meet or something. They kept being on this yo-yo last year, so it was just fun to be able to get out here and let them compete. They’ve had a great time, being able to get back in and do their sport.”

The Knight girls made the most of the opportunity in 6A, pulling away from all challengers as they got the championship.

Timpanogos head coach Jody Benson’s girls also won the 5A title, but they had to scrap for each point and barely emerged victorious. He felt like the athletes proved to be more adaptable than the coaches.

“I think it was the unknowns that were the toughest things to deal with,” Benson said. “We didn’t know how big the meets were going to be. Practices were very similar but we weren’t sure whether we would be able to finish the season. I think as a coach that is hard. I think the kids are resilient. They just kind of are like, ‘alright, yeah, let’s go.'”

The bottom line is that each athlete was trying to make the most of their moment, to perform at the best level they could.

Knight sophomore runner Jaron Hartshorn was one who exemplified that ideal in the 6A 1,600-meter race on Wednesday. He went out and set a new 6A record, finishing the race in 4:08.44.

He said it was an advantage to be part of a big group of talented runners.

“I think it’s pretty helpful because I don’t have to lead the whole race,” Hartshorn said. “I feel like it drains my energy when I lead. When guys like that are helping me pace, it really makes me run faster. I think they helped a lot with pacing and pulling me along, for sure.”

He also thanked his brothers, Alex and Justin Hartshorn, for their support.

“I can hear them every time I’m running around the track,” Jaron Hartshorn said. “They are some of the only people I can actually hear. So they’re helpful for sure.”

Hartshorn was one of many Utah Valley-area athletes who won individual events in the 5A/6A meet on May 18-19 and the 1A/2A/3A/4A meet on May 20-21. Here’s a list of the state champs:

6A girls4×800 meters: Lone Peak, 9:25.06

4×200 meters: Lone Peak, 1:42.71

400 meters: Brilee Pontius, Sr., Westlake, 55.64

800 meters: Katie Bybee, Jr., Lone Peak, 2:16.30

4×400 meters: Lone Peak, 3:51.22

6A boys

3,200 meters: Max Davis, Sr., Skyridge, 9:15.39

1,600 meters: Jaron Hartshorn, So., Lone Peak, 4:08.44

300 meter hurdles: Isaiah Gerald, Sr. Westlake, 39.06

4×400 meters: American Fork, 3:20.74

Long jump: Elias Gerald, Jr., Westlake, 21-09.75

High jump: Elias Gerald, Jr., Westlake, 7-00.00

5A girls

4×200 meters: Timpanogos, 1:43.52

100 meters: Sarah Ballard, So., Lehi, 12.20

300 meter hurdles: Sydney Watson, So., Springville, 45.12

200 meters: Sarah Ballard, So., Lehi, 24.54

Pole vault: Sienna Branch, Sr., Maple Mountain, 11-03.00

Javelin: Brekell Gemmell, Jr., Salem Hills, 130-07

Discus: Aryanna Hifo, Sr., Provo, 122-11

5A boys

3,200 meters: John Hunter, Sr., Provo, 9:21.46

4×200 meters: Mountain View, 1:29.46

1,600 meters: Taysom Echohawk, So., Orem, 4:14.51

110 meter hurdles: Logan Jensen, Jr., Orem, 15.30

4×100 meters: Orem, 42.84

300 meter hurdles: Isaiah Tauai, Sr., Lehi, 39.84

200 meters: Roman Moore, Sr., Orem, 22.24

High jump: Carter Walker, So., Mountain View, 6-06.00

Pole vault: Jackson Merrill, So., Orem, 14-00.00

Javelin: Jack Lee, So., Salem Hills, 172-09

Shot put: Mark Bryant, Jr., Orem, 58-09

Discus: Mark Bryant, Jr., Orem, 178-00

4A boys

Pole vault: Tanner Evans, Jr., Cedar Valley, 11-03.00

3A boys

Sprint medley relay: Juab, 3:35.84

High jump: Dawson Olsen, Sr., Juab, 6-04.00

Javelin: Bodee Blackett, Sr., Juab, 174-03

Discus: Daylen Christensen, Sr., Juab, 132-00

For complete results, go to http://runnercard.com.

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