PROVO After repeatedly breaking records and winning titles, Judge Memorial senior Luke Puskedra has achieved some minor celebrity status among high school track fans.
Once he finished his 3,200-meter race Saturday morning, a pair of teenage girls sought out Puskedra and requested a picture with him.
Their desire to capture a moment with such a premier athlete is understandable especially after he capped off his final state meet by eclipsing his own state record.
Puskedra won his third 3A title in the 3,200 on the final day of the state track and field championships at BYU, finishing in 8 minutes and 54.41 seconds. He trimmed 2.23 seconds off the record-setting time he posted at the BYU Invitational only two weeks ago.
"It's just good to know I put all I could into that two-mile," Puskedra said.
Puskedra maintained a steady pace through the first 400 meters before steadily pulling away from the pack. He sensed a special finish was in store when he saw an ever-growing crowd of spectators surround the track during the final couple of laps.
"It was definitely surreal," Puskedra said. "Just watching with 800 to go, I looked up and saw a bunch of people come out of their tents and onto the fence. It was great fan support. It was just outstanding."
The 5A meet was the only classification to feature different winners in the 1,600 and 3,200. Skyline senior Steven Clark bounced back from his last-second disappointment in the 1,600 to claim the 5A title in the 3,200 with a time of 9:27.66.
Mountain View senior Travis Fuller accomplished a rare sweep of the 800, 1,600 and 3,200. He claimed first in the 3,200 with a time of 9:25.67 and then capped off a memorable meet by winning the 800 in 1:56.79 Fuller's sweep is more remarkable considering he also played a quarterfinal soccer game for the Bruins on Friday afternoon. Earning three state titles in two days exceeded his most ambitious expectations.
"It was a goal," Fuller said. "But seeing it and having it be tangible in front of my eyes was hard to picture right at the beginning."
Panguitch senior Trac Norris duplicated Fuller's feat on the 1A level. Norris added to his 1,600 title by winning the 800 in 1.58.27 and the 3,200 in 10:05.09.
Gordon Garrett accomplished a nice sweep of his own in the 2A ranks. The Grand senior claimed state titles in the 100, 200 and long jump. His winning 200-meter time of 21.59 seconds also set a new 2A record.
Garrett thought he earned a record-setting time in March, but it was ruled to have been wind-aided. Getting the mark again validates what he did once before.
"It makes me feel good to go out of this (a winner) and to get that back," Garrett said.
Eight runners posted times of 11 seconds or under in the 100-meter dash.
Timpanogos senior Taylor Lyons won the 5A title with a time of 10.86. Five more 5A runners Syracuse's Tyrell Yardley, Davis' Ryan Avery, Timpanogos' Grant Jimenez, Bingham's Tyler Conrad and Skyline's Jeff Daw finished within .14 seconds of Lyons.
Timpview's Tyler Goodwin and Cottonwood's Marcus Payne also eclipsed the same barrier. Goodwin won the 4A title after finishing in 10.85, edging Payne, who came in at 10.93.
Daw and Payne reigned supreme in other sprint events. Daw claimed 5A titles in the 200 (21.95) and the 400 (47.92). Payne earned a 4A title after finishing the 200 in 21.86 seconds.
Team title winners offered a mix of newness and familiarity.
5A champion Davis claimed its 11th state title. Shaun Webb, who upset Fremont's Jon Goble to sweep the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles, led the way for the Darts.
Box Elder ruled 4A for the seventh time in 10 years. Panguitch edged Rich by a half-point for its seventh title in this decade.Cedar and Juab both ended long title droughts. For the Redmen, it was their first 3A title and first state boys track championship since 1985. The Wasps were the top 2A team for the first time since 1998.
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