PROVO — Even though they knew they didn’t have to win the final event, the members of Orem’s 4x400 relay team wanted to put an exclamation point on their team’s performance at the state track meet Saturday evening at BYU.
They were able to do just that, overtaking Sky View partway through the final leg of the race and finishing strong to beat the Bobcats by more than a second.
It was the final highlight of a cold, soggy day that saw the Tigers move ahead of Sky View and eventually eclipse them altogether 96-77.5 to capture the school’s second state title in five years.
Utah County schools dominated the 4A boys competition, earning nine of the top 11 places. Salem Hills finished 15 points behind the Bobcats to take third, Springville was fourth and Logan was fifth.
Timpanogos, Maple Mountain and Mountain View all tied for sixth, followed by Spanish Fork, Wasatch and Provo.
Kody Codner, Erik McKell, Junior Tovar and Nick Ashby ran in the final event for the Tigers.
“I just wanted to do my best for our two seniors,” Codner said. “It’s their last race at Orem High and it meant a lot to them.”
McKell had a rough season this year, but said this final triumph erased a lot of the heartache.
“This was super emotional,” he said. “I haven’t been able to train as hard as I wanted but I gave my all for these guys because I love them so much.”
“This was my last chance to run with these guys I’ve grown up with,” Tovar said. “In my leg, I had to hold back a bit so I could save some for the end, and then Nick just took off.
“This was my last race ever in high school,” Ashby said. “When I got the baton in my hand, the emotions hit, and as I was coming home and the crowd was going wild, it was the most awesome feeling.”
It was still a little bittersweet.
“It’s going to be hard to say goodbye to such good athletes and friends,” he said.
The Tigers also won the 4x100 relay. Check out the Monday paper for more on that story.
Here’s some other Saturday highlights.
American Fork finished fourth, Lone Peak sixth and Lehi eighth.
The Cavemen got a boost, as always, from their strong distance runners. Casey Clinger won gold in the 3,200 and McKay Johns captured the silver in this race and the 800 as well.
Westlake’s Zane Farrer was the gold medalist in the 110 hurdles. In the 100, Lone Peak’s Jackson McChesney earned silver, and he was third in the 200 as well. Knight Brett Matheson was the gold medalist in the high jump by three inches.
In the 3,200, Josh Collins of Wasatch took silver and William Handley of Timpanogos got the bronze.
In the 110 hurdles, Codner was second and Maple Mountain’s Quinn Hooper took third. Tovar earned gold in the 100 and Codner took first in the 300 hurdles.
Provo’s Chase Heiner took first in the 400, followed by Ashby in second and Inoa Wahinehookae of Spanish Fork third. Heiner and Ashby also finished 1-2 in the 200.
Heiner was disappointed that his times weren’t what he was hoping for in this meet, though that was expected given the conditions.
“It leaves a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth since this is the last high school meet I’ll ever run in Utah,” he said.
However, he said his focus really wasn’t on the record he set in the 200 earlier in the season.
“I enjoyed getting the state record but I’ve really just been striving to beat myself,” he said.
As the UVU-bound senior wraps up his career, he said there were a few things that stood out.
“One of the special moments that I remember most was the Arcadia Invitational during spring break; that was a blast,” he said.
“The first time I broke 11 seconds in the 100, and at the Timpanogos invitational when I was able to run a 21.6 in the 200 were some of my favorite parts of the year,” Heiner said.
“My club coach Sean Maye and my coach Phil Olsen and the rest of the Provo staff have been incredible supporting factors,” he said. “When I would get down, they would help me out and I have so much respect for them.”
Springville’s Haden Penrod earned gold in the 800, followed by Mountain View’s Payton Riggs in second and Wasatch’s Josh Collins in third.
Valley teams swept the medley relay, with Mountain View first, Timpanogos second and Salem Hills third. Springville took bronze in the 4x400.
In the high jump, Orem’s Tregan Deveraux won top honors, with Riggs second and his teammate Benjamin Ketschmer third. Maple Mountain’s Dalton Cottam took gold in the long jump and Wahinehookae got the bronze.
“I came here expecting to try and win, but you never know what can happen,” Cottam said. “I didn’t do quite as well as I wanted but I’m excited to win the event.”
He said that he dressed warmly and tried to move around a lot to deal with the conditions. Despite those, he said he still was taking some great memories away from the meet.
“My favorite thing was sitting huddled with the other long jumpers, talking and pointing things out to help each other,” he said.
For Salem Hills, Talin Mortensen was second and Porter Gustin third in the shot put. Timpview’s Tyler Glazier earned silver in the discus. Maple Mountain’s Cameron Bates captured gold in the javelin, with Gustin in third.
Juab High School finished third. Wasp Spencer Eldridge got the silver in the 400 and in the 300 hurdles bronze in the 200. Kyler White was the bronze medalist in the 800. Juab’s Jaxon Allred and Aaron Clark earned second and third in the javelin.
In Class 2A, Delta finished a strong second place, with Manti fifth and Gunnison eighth. Tyler Hatch of Gunnison earned silver in the 800. Tinitic came in 19th in Class 1A.
Trevor Alder of Manti took first and Tanner LeFevre was second in the 2A 110 hurdles. Alder also added gold in the 300 hurdles. Delta finished third in the 4x100 relay.
Gunnison captured gold in the 4x400 and set a new school record at 3:33.08. Delta finished third.
Maeser Prep’s Haeden Hockersmith took silver in the 2A high jump. Delta’s Matt Bogue finished first in the 2A long jump. In the 2A shot put, Manti’s Keltn Pritchard got the gold and teammate Douglas Schiess the silver.
In the 2A discus, Delta’s Kade Atkinson was first, Schiess was second, and Delta’s Kaden Fowles was third.
Due to space limitations, the boys state track results will be in Monday's Daily Herald.