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Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Pole vaulters prepare to compete as Utah high school girls compete in state track at BYU in Provo on Friday, May 19, 2017.
I was just out there to score points for my team. That was my goal, just to get in the top eight and hopefully get a couple points. —Davis’ Ruby Jane Mathewson

PROVO — Davis’ Ruby Jane Mathewson is one of the best hurdlers in the state. On the first day of the state track meet on Friday, the senior proved she’s not a bad thrower either.

After narrowly qualifying for state in the javelin by finishing fourth at last week’s Region 2 meet, Mathewson improved her personal record by 8 feet at the state meet and finished fourth.

For a Davis team with three straight runner-up finishes in 5A, the five points Mathewson secured for the Darts was massive in the big picture. With teammate Katelyn Hoskins finishing fifth and earning four points, Davis secured nine team points in the javelin. Incredibly, that’s one more point than Davis collectively earned in the 1,600 meters earlier in the meet.

“I was just out there to score points for my team. That was my goal, just to get in the top eight and hopefully get a couple points. Because last year was rough losing by 1½ points,” said Mathewson.

Davis lost to Herriman at last year’s 5A meet by 1½ points. It didn’t score a single point in the javelin last season.

“It’s been motivation for sure. Every meet (coach Corbin Talley) says every inch, every second, every 10th of second counts toward winning this, and going for that team title, so that’s what we’re focusing on today,” said Mathewson, who played softball growing up.

With five of 17 events in the books, the Davis girls sit in second place behind Bingham with 23 points, but in great position to push for the elusive title.

Box Elder is in great shape to claim the title in 4A after earning 29 points the opening day.

Provo had hoped to be in the thick of the race, but a lingering injury to Meghan Hunter will keep the Bulldogs from maximizing points at the state meet.

Kate Hunter, however, is hoping to end her career with a bang as she won the 1,600 meters with a time of 5:00.67.

“I was just going for place, not time. Just trying to win so I can get points for my team,” said Hunter. “It’s nicer because you don’t have to worry about pacing, you can just go out and run a smart race so you can hopefully do you best and kick it in at the end.”

Desert Hills, North Summit and Panguitch are big favorites in their respective classifications, and they didn’t do anything to disrupt that on Friday.

Desert Hills’ Elly Williams won the 3A shot put with strong throw of 40’04.25 as the heavily favored Thunder racked up 58 points through just five events.

North Summit opened up a big lead of its own in 2A, with Sadie Sargent playing a big role in winning the 1,600 and anchoring the winning sprint medley relay team.

“We’re doing it for the team, not individually, so this is a really good step for the team, that’s how happy it makes me to know we’re doing it for something bigger,” said Sargent.

Panguitch owns a narrow lead over Piute in 1A after winning the sprint medley relay and placing three in the top eight of the 1,600, led by second-place Taylia Norris.

The highlight of Friday’s meet came from the pole vaulting pit as Bingham freshman Hannah Stetler set a new state record with a jump of 11’11.75 — with Westlake junior Adara Christensen immediately following her with her own state-record jump of 11’11.75.

“I was just super excited that she got it, and I just wanted to catch up to her,” said Christensen, who owned the previous state record with a 11’07 at last year’s region meet.

Stetler said the attention and buzz the pole vaulters received was a unique and fun experience.

“Normally pole vault is off in the corner somewhere and you don’t see it,” said Stetler.

Bingham senior Whitney Rich turned in one of the best performances of the meet as the future BYU runner won the 5A 1,600 meters with a time of 4:55.39, the best time in Utah this track season.

“I was definitely trying to soak in every last moment of it, I just knew I wanted to make it count and finish it off with a bang and be happy with how it went,” said Rich.

Other standouts on Friday included Syracuse’s Jentry Skidmore winning the 5A long jump with a state-best jump of 18’11.25.

Gunnison’s Kate Sorensen ran a 42.87 in her 300 hurdles qualifying heat, the best time in Utah this year.

Tintic’s Bailey Wall had a strong start to the state meet as she showed off her diversity by winning the 1,600 meters and the javelin.