The Lone Peak girls track team overcame the pressure of repeating as state champs while Provo was small but mighty.
Lone Peak claimed its second straight state title on Saturday at the BYU Track and Field Complex, utilizing its depth to run away from the 6A girls field with 147 points, followed by Herriman with 107 and Westlake in third with 61.
Provo, on the other hand, leaned on the amazing ability of senior sprinter Meghan Hunter, who won three individual events and anchored the winning 4x400-meter relay team in the final event of the day. In the most hotly contested team race of the meet, the Bulldogs’ win in that final event allowed them to edge first-year school Farmington by a half point (55.5 to 55) for the Class 5A team crown.
Lone Peak scored in 14 of the 17 events with 11 different athletes picking up points. Senior Maddy Eaton was a double winner (100 meters and 300-meter hurdles), Eliza Arrington won the 1,600 meters and the Knights also took the 4x100-meter relay crown. Alison Richter scored 13 points by finishing second in the 400, fifth in the 200 and eighth in the 100.
While Arrington won the 1,600, Lone Peak also picked up 11 other points in that race from Ali Bybee in third (six points), Mackenzie Meldrum in sixth (three points) and Reagan Gardner in seventh (two points) in a great example of the team’s depth.
“We were hoping to do better than we were seeded and the girls really stepped it up,” Lone Peak coach Brad Molen said. “We knew it was going to be a battle with Herriman and possible Syracuse and Davis too. These girls have worked really hard for the past two years. Trying to repeat from last year was a monumental task with all the girls we lost, but this group did a great job. This one was really a great team effort all the way through, both on the track and in the field events.”
When the 5A girls meet reached the final event (the 4x400-meter relay) six teams were within seven points of first place and the top four teams – Provo, Farmington, Corner Canyon and Skyridge – were within 1.5 points of each other.
Provo trailed for much of the race but Ally Gomm made up some time on the third leg and passed the baton to Hunter.
The senior speedster, who also won the 800, 200 and 100 at last year’s state meet, will run for BYU next season and she made herself right at home on the blue track.
Hunter sped past at least four competitors as she made the first turn, running a blazing 53.83 final leg split as Provo won the race and the 5A title.
“I tried to block it (the pressure) out of my head,” Hunter said. “I knew no matter where we were, when I got baton in my hand, I was just going to have to give it my best and hope that would be enough. I was a little nervous on Ally’s last leg because we were still a little behind, but she managed to pull through. I saw her there and the exchange was tight. We were not too far back, so it was good.”
While Hunter helped Provo score 40 points of its 55.5 total, the championship would have eluded the Bulldogs without the contributions of others. Gomm won the 300-meter hurdles title and finished sixth in the 400. Sophia Luke picked up 1.5 points tying for sixth in the high jump and Brooklyn Proffit added five points for taking fourth in the 100-meter hurdles. Even the one point scored by Sadie Edwards in the 400 meters (eighth) could have made the different between finishing first or second in the team race.
“Honestly, I feel like I’m still a little speechless from it all,” Hunter said. “This season has been pretty hard and pretty discouraging, but I just tried to stay positive. Something our team has talked about all year was winning state. We knew we had a good shot. To be able to go out like this is really incredible.”
Desert Hills won the 4A boys competition with 71 points, followed by Spanish Fork and Orem with 64 points each.
Corner Canyon claimed the 5A boys state title with 81 points. Springville (69 points), Timpanogos (67) and Skyridge (55) were 2-3-4 with Timpview and Box Elder tying for fifth at 38 points each.
Syracuse topped the boys 6A team race with 116 points, with Herriman in second (99), Bingham in third (65) and American Fork in fourth (64).
BYU football recruit Blake Freeland won the shot put (64-06), discus (165-02) and javelin (186-07.25) for Herriman in the 6A meet.
Orem’s Puka Nacua, who committed to play football at Washington and owns every prep receiving record in Utah, broke the state mark in the long jump with a leap of 23-10.50. His performance breaks a 36-year-old record held by Hillcrest’s Tood Smith (23-9.50) set in 1973. Nacua also finished second in the 100 meters (11.13) and third in the 200 meters (22.38).