The Red Devils took first place out of a dozen schools at the Monument Valley Sunset Meet in Kayenta, Ariz., on Tuesday, March 18. Grand’s boys scored 159.5 points at the meet, while runner-up Monument Valley had 107 points. For the girls, Grand scored 167.5 points to second-place Chinle’s 116 points.
One of the top highlights at the meet, according to GCHS head coach Dennis Wells, was Grand’s convincing win in the boys 4x400 meter relay. Wade Kemmsies, Jordan Bryant, Mason Tranter, and Andy Bathemess teamed up to post a time of 3 minutes, 36.83 seconds, more than 18 seconds ahead of second-place Chinle, which finished in 3:55.29.
“The second-place team was 200 yards behind us when we crossed the finish line,” said Wells, adding that the winning time easily qualified the relay team for state and is also only five seconds off the GCHS school record.
Also at the Kayenta meet, Bryant qualified for state in the 300-meter hurdles with a third-place time of 43.53. Taking first and second in that race were his teammates, Bathemess and Kemmsies, both of whom had previously qualified for state. Bathemess won the 300 hurdles in a time of 41.81, while Kemmsies placed a close second with a time of 41.92.
Kemmsies won the 110-meter hurdles in a time of 16.33, while Bathemess placed second in 16.54. Bryant was fourth in that race. In addition, Tranter took first in the 400-meter dash with a time of 54.48.
In field events, GCHS senior Trevor Bertuzzi placed first in the high jump with a state-qualifying leap of 5 feet, 9 inches. Fellow senior David Bentley placed first in both the discus (114 feet, 7 inches) and the shot put (38 feet, 0.5 inches).
For the Lady Devils at Kayenta, Kwincey Wells won the 200-meter dash in a time of 29.26. Madison Stocks won the discus with a best throw of 97 feet, 5 inches. Tiffanie Whipple won the long jump with a leap of 15 feet, 10 inches. The Lady Devils also won the 4x100 and 4x200 relay events.
Another noteworthy event at the meet was Grand’s participation in the triple jump, an event that is not staged at Utah high school meets. Nevertheless, a total of six Grand athletes – three boys and three girls – gave it a try, with sophomore Hannah Rice being the highest placer, taking second with a distance of 26 feet, 6 inches.
On Saturday, March 22, the Red Devils boys and girls teams each placed second overall at the Matt Burr Invitational held at North Sevier High School in Salina.
“Our boys had 151 points to Richfield’s 226,” said coach Wells, adding, “Richfield took state in 2A last year but are in the 3A classification now. Also, our boys were missing three key athletes, David Bentley, Edgar Gomez, and Wade Kemmsies.”
Meanwhile, the Lady Devils finished with 115 points, just 3.5 points behind meet winner North Summit, which took state last year.
Grand’s overall point total (boys and girls together) was 266 points, putting them in first place, ahead of both Richfield (237 points) and North Summit (235.5).
Among the highlights at Salina, Grand senior Mercedes James took second in the 3,200-meter run, posting a state-qualifying time of 13:03.17. Stocks won the discus throw with a personal-best toss of 108 feet, 1 inch, which was also a state qualifying distance. Stocks also placed second in the shot put with a toss of 29 feet, 1.75 inches.
For the GCHS boys, senior Jacob Francis won the 1,600-meter race in a time of 4:48.33. Francis also qualified for state in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:06.43, good enough for third place at the meet. Although sprinting is not Francis’ specialty, he also placed fourth in the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.25 seconds.
Bryant and Tranter took the top two spots in the 400-meter run, with Bryant winning in a time of 53.42 and Tranter a close second at 53.83.
Bathemess won the 300-meter hurdles in a time of 40.59. Bertuzzi and fellow GCHS senior Koi Cook both cleared 5 feet 8 in the high jump, taking a respective second and third in that event. Cook also placed second in the long jump with a leap of 18 feet, 9 inches. In addition, Richie Cordero was second in the javelin throw at 151 feet, 1 inch.
Grand’s next scheduled track meet is the San Juan County Invitational in Blanding on Tuesday, April 1.