PROVO — As Springville’s Grant Gardner crossed the finish line for his third win on Thursday at the state track meet at BYU, the senior boasted just a bit by lifting up the front of his jersey so everyone could see the Springville lettering.
Springville is the two-time defending 5A state champs, but points will be at a premium as the Red Devils go for a three-peat. Gardner knew this, so as Gardner crossed the finish line after anchoring Springville’s sprint medley relay win, the excitement of the moment took over.
Earlier in the day Gardner also won the 3,200 and 800 meters to help earn 30 team points for Springville. His time of 1:53.95 in the 800 meters was a new personal best.
“I wasn’t trying to run that fast, but everyone else was running that fast. I have two more races and state and I was trying to chill out, but I had to run that fast to get the win,” said Gardner.
Thanks to Gardner’s big day, Springville racked up 41 points on Thursday and sits in second place behind favored Corner Canyon after the opening day.
While Gardner was busy racking up first-place finishes, collectively Corner Canyon matched him in the race for team points. It had three athletes place in the top six in the 800 meters and two others place in the top five of the 3,200 meters.
In the nightcap sprint medley relay, Corner Canyon finished second behind Springville.
Perhaps the biggest performance of the day for Corner Canyon came in the shot put, though. Junior Van Fillinger, who ranked fourth in the event in 5A heading into the state meet, finished first with a throw of 50’03.50.
In fourth was teammate Jonah Strong with a season-best throw of 47’00.25. Between Fillinger and Strong collectively, it added 15 team points for the Chargers.
Fillinger helped Corner Canyon win a football state title in the fall, while some of his teammates helped the school win a basketball state title a couple of months ago. This weekend the school goes for a third title, which Fillinger said isn’t a coincidence.
“Everything is hard work. You’re not going to win off of luck. If you see our success at our school, it’s because we’re working hard,” he said.
Other individual winners in 5A on Thursday were Timpanogos’ Ethan Poole in the high jump, West’s Viliami Talakai in the discus and Farmington’s Dylan Ashby in the pole vault.Comment on this story
In 6A, Herriman racked up 42 points behind a pair of wins by Blake Freeland (discus and javelin) and leads American Fork by 1 point.
A pair of American Fork runners swept the two distance events, with Luke Grundvig winning the 3,200 meters in the morning and then Joe Corbridge winning the 800 meters in the afternoon.
Realistically, though, Herriman and American Fork are likely fighting for second place.
Syracuse is loaded in the sprints and hurdles and should collect enough points in those events and the relays on Saturday to claim its first state title in school history.