PROVO Fresh off shattering a state record in the 3,200 meters, Judge Memorial distance runner Luke Puskedra turned his attention to the 1,600 going into his final state track meet.
Puskedra thought his 3,200 times had been consistent the way he wanted them this year. The 1,600, on the other hand, seemed a little more up-and-down.
The Bulldogs' star senior feels much better about the shorter distance event now after rewriting the state record books for the second time this month.
Puskedra finished in 4 minutes, 9.29 seconds to win his third 3A title in the 1,600 on Friday morning during the first day of the state track and field championships at BYU. He eclipsed the previous state record which Timpview's David Spence set in 1989 by 4.02 seconds.
"I've been looking at the state record for a bit," Puskedra said. "It's just pretty sick being able to go after it. With the crowd and everything in it, it was a good time."
Puskedra's winning time also ranks first nationally. The University of Oregon-bound runner didn't quite get the split time he aimed for in his first lap clocking in at around 63 seconds instead of 62 but he turned on the thrusters in the final lap and finished more than 14 seconds ahead of the rest of the field.
And he's far from done. Puskedra already has plans to take a crack at producing a better 3,200-meters mark today.
"I'm going to go after a good time," Puskedra said. "I'm going to try to be a little bit more aggressive than going out at BYU."
Riverton's Trevor Sharp engaged in a spirited duel with Skyline senior Stephen Clark in the final lap before edging him out for a 5A title in the 1,600 meters. Sharp finished in 4:18.24, while Clark clocked in at 4:18.78.
Sharp led during the first two laps before dropping behind Clark and Brighton's Oliver Williams on the third. He regrouped and caught both during the final lap, finally overtaking Clark for good as he stumbled and collapsed near the finish line.
"Third lap is usually my weakest lap, so I wasn't too surprised at getting passed," Sharp said. "I just tried to hold onto them, because I usually have a good finish."
Travis Fuller also survived a tight race to claim the 4A title in the 1,600. Fuller crossed the finish line in 4:20.09 barely fast enough to outlast Springville's Spencer Gardner, who finished in 4:20.61.
Manti's Daniel Howell (4:31.63) and Panguitch's Trac Norris (4:30.50) repeated as state title winners in the 1,600 for 2A and 1A, respectively.
Weber's Dustin Martin produced one of Friday's bigger upsets when he edged Davis senior Bryce Hall for the 5A discus title. Martin threw for a distance of 171 feet and 6 inches, while Hall managed a top mark of 170 feet and 2 inches.
It was the Weber senior's second state title this year he also won at 215 pounds in the 5A wrestling meet and it came after knee surgery sidelined him for all but four meets.
Martin showed a flair for the dramatic in beating Hall, cranking out the winning mark on his final throw.
"That was intense," Martin said. "Bryce had one of his best throws of the year, and then I just got in there and winged it and it went. It's awesome, a good feeling."
Snow Canyon junior Adam Timo took home his second consecutive state title in the high jump. Timo, a 3A title-winner in 2007, clinched the 4A title after clearing 6 feet and 8 inches. Taylorsville's Mike Staker matched that mark to win the 5A high jump title.Viewmont senior Levi Ball cleared 14 feet and 6 inches to win a 5A title in the pole vault.
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