Grand County High School’s track teams took first place overall in their inaugural meet of the season, the Red Rocks Invitational. The event was held in Moab on Wednesday, March 20.
“It was a good start for our season, and we had several athletes qualify for state,” said GCHS head coach Dennis Wells, who has guided the Red Devil boys’ team to consecutive state championships over the past two years.
Grand’s season-opening meet had originally been scheduled for March 9, but that date was canceled due to bad weather. Grand did end up having a hand-timed, unofficial two-way meet that day with Wasatch, the only school that had already made the trip to Moab before the cancellation was announced.
On March 20, a total of 10 schools participated in the rescheduled meet at Moab. Grand’s boys team led the pack with 124.5 team points, narrowly edging out second-place San Juan, which finished with 122 points. Emery High placed third among the boys’ teams with 103 points.
In the girls’ events, the top finishers were even closer. First-place Grand scored 113.5 points, while runner-up Montezuma-Cortez, Colo., had 112. San Juan and Carbon tied for third place among the girls with 74.5 points each.
Other schools participating at the Moab meet included Dolores, Colo.; Dove Creek, Colo.; Monticello; Duchesne, and Green River.
The meet was beset by minor technical problems related to the timing system, which required a few races to be re-run at the end of the event, Wells said.
“Aside from that, everything went pretty well,” he said.
Senior Wesley Rodda ran just one event for Grand, taking second overall in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.53 seconds, thereby qualifying for state.
Also competing in just one event last week was GCHS junior Jacob Francis, who won the 3,200-meter race with a time of 10:37.73. That time was nearly 45 seconds faster than Francis’ closest competitor but still slower than his own best time. Francis took first place in the event last year at the state track meet with a time of 9:58.83, and ran an even faster time at region prior to that.
GCHS junior Wade Kemmsies took second place in the 200-meter dash (24.23 seconds) and third in both the 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles. He qualified for state in both of the hurdles races.
Also for the Red Devil boys, junior Treyton Helquist took third place in the 1,600-meter race and fourth in the 800-meter race. Fellow junior Jackson Knowles placed second in the 1,600-meter race with a time of 4:55.61. Cameron Taylor took fifth in the 100-meter dash, and Koby Sobremesana placed eighth in the same event. Mason Tranter placed sixth in the 400-meter race and ninth in the 800-meter race. Andrew Hugentobler was sixth in the 3,200 meters.
In field events, GCHS junior Trae Downard placed second in the discus with a top throw of 115 feet, 7 inches. He also placed seventh in the shot put. Sophomore Richie Cordero took third in the javelin throw; junior David Bentley took third in both the discus and shot put; and junior Edgar Gomez placed fourth in the discus. Trevor Bertuzzi tied for sixth place in the high jump.
Two Red Devil runners – Andy Bathemess and Jordan Bryant – missed most of the meet due to a band competition held the same day in Monroe, but the duo made it back in time to compete in the 4x400 meter relay along with Knowles and Mason Tranter. The Red Devils won that event with a time of 3:44.66, more than 10 seconds faster than second-place San Juan.
The Red Devil boys placed second in the medley relay, with Knowles, Garrett Brown, Tranter, and Josh Stalpes each running a leg in that race.
For the GCHS girls, senior Carly Dalton took first place and qualified for state in three different events, the 100-meter hurdles, the 300-meter hurdles, and the 200-meter dash. Junior Madi Stocks placed second in the discus throw with a top throw of 93 feet, qualifying her for state. Stocks also took fourth in the shot put and seventh in javelin.
GCHS freshman Kwincey Wells won the 100-meter dash with a time of 13.58 seconds. She was closely followed by junior teammate Malina Bohannon, who placed second in the same event with a time of 13.60. Wells also took fifth place in the 200-meter dash, and teammate Haley Rice placed sixth.
Also for the Lady Devils, sophomore distance runner McKinleigh Barney placed third in both the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter races. Sophomore Kasey Betts placed fourth in the high jump and also took sixth place in the 300-meter hurdles.
GCHS freshman Lauren Drake placed fifth in the 800-meter race and junior Jessica Stucki was eighth in the 3,200-meter race.
The Lady Devils’ 4x100 meter relay team, composed of Wells, Bohannon, Katie McFarland, and Rice, placed second out of seven teams, but just missed qualifying for state by four-tenths of a second. Grand’s girls also placed third in the medley relay and fourth in the 4x400 meter relay.
After spring break, Grand will travel to Delta, Utah, for a meet on April 6, followed by another meet in Cortez, Colo., on April 9.