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James Edward
The top eight finishers in the 4A 800 meters which was won by Pine View's Alli Baker with a time of 2:08.76.

PROVO — When Pine View’s Alli Baker ran a 2:12.55 in the 800-meter at state as a freshman last year, it was clear she had a very bright future ahead of her.

Exactly one year later, Baker joined some elite company in that same race.

Baker posted a scintillating time of 2:08.76 in the 4A 800-meter at the state meet on Friday and became just the third athlete in state history to post a 2:08 time.

“I was just ready to run hard. I didn’t know what it would be, but I was ready,” Baker said.

Baker’s time was .31 off the overall state record set by Davis’ Shea Martinez on the same track in 2013.

For reference on how dominant Baker’s performance was, Cedar’s Jasie York finished second with a time of 2:14.52. That time would be good enough for fourth in the entire state this year, but it was nearly six seconds slower than Baker’s pace.

“I raced with her all season, and she’s so cool and it’s just fun to race with her,” said Baker about competing against her fellow Region 9 competitor.

Baker’s race highlighted a great opening day of the state meet for 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A teams at BYU on Friday. The meet resumes on Saturday along with 6A and 5A schools in what will be a very busy day on the track.

York could take center stage for Cedar as it seeks the 4A state title in what will be a tight race between Cedar and region foe Desert Hills.

The chase for 3A and 1A titles should be competitive as well, while 2A defending state champ North Summit figures to run away with a fourth straight title.

In 4A, Cedar and Desert Hills have alternated the last four state titles, with Desert Hills winning last year.

Cedar has a narrow 34-33 lead after Friday, a race that should remain tight throughout Saturday. Cedar collected most of its points on Friday in the distance events, with York, Kaysie Klemic and Mic Webster all finishing in the top seven in the 800 meters.

Desert Hills, meanwhile, had two first-place finishes as Abby Monson won the discus and Bailey Brinkerhoff won the 3,200-meter.

Grand’s Kylah Ricks was the top performer in 3A as she won the 800-meter and 3,200-meter. Her performance gives Grand the Day 1 lead with 32 points, followed by Union in second with 29 points.

Delta only collected points from one event on Friday, the discus, but it’s still the favorite heading into Saturday’s finale in 3A as it should dominate the sprints and hurdles.

In 2A, Millard’s Katy Kelly was the star of Day 1 as she captured titles in both the 800-meter and 3,200-meter. She closed a huge gap in the final 100 meters in the 800-meter to finish first with a time of 2:23.47.

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North Summit’s only win on Friday was in the sprint medley relay, but thanks to its superior depth it still leads 48-39. The Braves should dominate in the sprints on Saturday.

Led by Taylia Norris, the winner in the 800-meter and 3,200-meter on Friday, Panguitch built a big lead in the 1A team race as it racked up 69 points, followed by Milford with 31 points.

Kiesa Miller picked up another win for the Bobcats in the discus as she finished first ahead of teammate Karlee Eyre.

Milford has a big advantage in the sprints and hurdles on Saturday, but catching Panguitch after its great first day will be tough.