I was just glad to have a good race and for it to be as close as it was. Everyone really performed well. Whether I won or not it was OK, I was just glad I had a good race. —Garen Earley
PROVO — Murray’s Garen Earley and Delta’s Dallin Draper were at the mercy of the video board.
They’d just blazed down the backstretch of their respective 100-meter races, but the winner was simply too close to call. They eagerly watched the video board on the south end of BYU’s track for the official results to post on the final day of the state track and field championships.
Once they did, Earley and Draper could celebrate their one-hundredths of a second victories as the fastest athletes in their respective classifications.
Earley’s new personal best of 10.92 was enough to edge Orem’s Junior Tovar, who crossed in 10.93, for the 4A championship.
“I was just glad to have a good race and for it to be as close as it was. Everyone really performed well. Whether I won or not it was OK, I was just glad I had a good race,” said Earley, who also won the 200-meter race by .01 seconds.
In the 2A final, Draper and South Summit’s Isaac Tillett were neck-and-neck the whole race, but Draper lunged forward with his head just at the finish line for a time of 10.89, just .01 ahead of Tillett. They were the two fastest times of the day on the wet track.
“I could feel him behind me the whole time. I was scared. It was real close at the end,” said Draper.
They weren’t the only tight races in the 100.
In 3A, Snow Canyon’s Keivontae Washington won with a time of 11.09, just .03 ahead of Morgan’s Spencer Larsen. Brandon Robinson won the 1A race by .05 while Lone Peak’s Jackson McChesney pulled away to win the 5A race by .12.
The dramatic 100-meter races were the highlights in a day filled with great performances. When it was all said and done, Davis (5A), Orem (4A), Desert Hills (3A), North Summit (2A) and Monticello (1A) were crowned championships in their respective classifications.
Jaron Erickson won both hurdles to lead the Darts to back-to-back 5A titles, while Logan MacKay won the 800 and anchored Davis’ winning sprint medley relay team.
“It’s cool because we work all year winning as many meets as we can to get to this state championship,” said MacKay. “There’s always ups and downs for every team in every state meet, but it’s just fun when there are a lot.”
Davis finished with 126.66 points, with Herriman finishing second with 92 points.
The top boys performance of the meet was turned in by Syracuse junior Hunter Woodhall, who shaved .13 off his career best in winning the 400 meters with a time of 47.63. It’s the best time in Utah this season.
“It feels amazing. It kind of represents all the hard work I’ve put. This is an in-season, out-of-season sport,” said Woodhall.
In 4A, as expected, the team competition was tight throughout, but Orem pulled away for its second straight title by tallying 77 points, with Timpanogos in second with 58.
Orem’s Kody Codner was instrumental in clinching the title as he won both the 110 and 300 hurdles.
Desert Hills dominated the distance events en route to its fourth-straight 3A state title.
Junior Jaiden Melendrez opened Saturday’s meet by winning the 3,200, with teammates Bryson King, Joshua Thatcher and Sage Ducote finishing second, third and fourth respectively.
“It feels good, A lot of hard work from all the guys, and it paid off,” said Melendrez, who also won the 1,600 race on Friday.
Ryan Eror won the high jump on Friday for the Thunder, who nearly doubled-up the field, racking up 127 team points. Juab finished second with 48 points, led by Spencer Eldridge’s wins in the 200 and 400 meters along with the 300 hurdles.
The 2A title was tight throughout the two-day meet, but North Summit finally clinched its second straight title on the last race of the meet as the Braves finished second in the 4x400 relay. Those points helped North Summit hold off Delta for the 2A team title, 101 points to 96.
Rio Butters won the 300 hurdles for North Summit, while Braden Richins won the javelin.
Millard’s Conner Cox had a terrific meet, winning all three distance events, while Tillett followed his second-place finish in the 100 meters with individual titles in the 200 and 400 meters.
In 1A, Monticello’s depth was just enough to hold off Duchesne for the team title, 85-83.
The only two events the Buckaroos won came on Friday in the sprint medley and the discus (Isaiah Sheeran), but their depth throughout the meet was enough.
The title was still up for grabs heading into the last 4x400 relay, but Monticello did enough in the last race to clinch the first state title in school history.
James Edward is the Deseret News prep editor and Real Salt Lake beat writer. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org