We know we have a shot at winning. That’s definitely been on our mind, and our goal is trying to get as many points as possible and try and get 1, 2 and 3 in races. —American Fork’s Casey Clinger
PROVO — Syracuse’s Hunter Woodhall continues to leave a wake of state records in his path as he wraps up his high school career.
Woodhall, who runs on two prosthetic legs, came into Friday’s state meet as the state-record holder in the 400 meters in addition to running the anchor leg in Syracuse’s state-record 4x400 relay team earlier this season.
On Friday, in one of the last races of the day at BYU, Woodhall added another record to his resume as he ran his 200 meter qualifying heat in a time of 21.32. It broke the previous state record of 21.35 set by Provo’s Chase Heiner in 2015.
"Coming into the high school season I figured it was a possibility and I definitely had to work for it," said Woodhall. "But the 200 has never been my race, apart from last year I had never run under 22-mid, so to start getting that work in and working on the curve and these different things, and getting better as a 200 meter athlete was really rewarding for me and being able to come out here and show what I can run."
It’s momentum Syracuse hopes to ride to a state championship on Saturday.
Syracuse had three runners qualify for the 400 meter finals, with Woodhall, Nathan Kaufusi and Dahson Arave finishing first, third and fifth respectively. In the 200, Woodhall and Kaufusi qualified in two of the top three spots.
The Titans also ran the fastest 4x400 qualifying heat. Even though they didn’t win any points for the strong qualifying times, it demonstrates their potential on Saturday.
Syracuse’s Kayden White also impressed on Friday by winning the discus with an impressive throw of 176’02.25, less than a foot shy of his state-best throw from earlier this season.
Davis and American Fork hope to keep it close in 5A, and each had great opening days too. Davis’ Xakai Harry won the high jump in clearing 6’08, with Pleasant Grove’s Owen Mitchell also clearing 6’08.
American Fork’s Casey Clinger, Patrick Parker and McKay Johns finished first, second and fourth in the 1,600 to secure 23 team points for the Cavemen.
“We know we have a shot at winning. That’s definitely been on our mind, and our goal is trying to get as many points as possible and try and get 1, 2 and 3 in races,” said Clinger.
The trio will combine to try to help American Fork claim points in the 800 and 3,200 meters on Saturday in addition to the 4x400 and sprint medley relays.
American Fork leads with 35 points after Day 1, but everyone expects Syracuse to make huge strides in Day 2.
In 4A, Haden Penrod got Springville off to the strong start it needed.
For whatever reason, Penrod’s kick just hasn’t been as strong as he’d like this season. There’s been a conscious effort to get better each week though, and it finally paid off on Friday.
Penrod outkicked Timpview’s Aidan Troutner and Ogden’s Garrett Barton down the back stretch to capture the 4A 1,600 meet state title at BYU.
“It hasn’t been as great the past little while. It’s been progressing this whole year, I’ve worked a lot more on shorter stuff to help so I can finish faster, and it’s paid off,” said Penrod. “I’ve never done as good as I’ve wanted to at state. To finish off good feels great.”
The victory gave Springville 10 valuable points as it figures to be in a tight race for the 4A title with Olympus.
In 4A, Salem Hills leads after Day 1 with 24 points, with most of those points coming when Talin Mortensen and Hunter Morganson finished first and second in the discus.
It still figures to be a two-team race between Springville and Olympus, which earned valuable points in the 1,600 meters as Max Spence and Nate Osterstock finished fifth and sixth to match Penrod’s victory.
In 3A, Hurricane owns a small lead over Desert Hills for the opening day after Caleb Armstrong won the 1,600 meters. The Tigers also won the sprint medley relay.
The Thunder are still in great shape to capture a fifth-straight 3A title with depth in the sprints and the hurdles. Bradley Earl turned in a very impressive 100 meter qualifying heat with a time of 10.84, moving him into the top five in Utah this season.
Desert Hills hurdler Carter Reynolds had strong qualifying times in the 110 and 300, as did Richfield’s Josh Thomas, which should set up two exciting finals between the two competitors on Saturday.
In 2A, favored Delta got a ton of points in the discus as Jantsen Manis finished first, with Gordon Seui and Chase Fowles finishing fourth and fifth.
Panguitch opened up a small lead in Day 1 as Acey Orton won the high jump and four throwers placed in the top eight in the discus.
Jonah Schoppe also earned a fourth-place finish in the 1,600 meters, with Altamont’s Carson Belnap winning in a time of 4:42.68.