Bathemess was a state finalist in the event his freshman and sophomore years, and helped his team to back-to-back state championships.
This year, Bathemess broke the school record at the Brigham Young University Invitational meet in Provo on May 3. Bathemess recorded a time of 39.85 seconds, beating Sam Demars-Conoly's record of 39.96 set in 2010.
The BYU Invitational is one of the largest track and field meets in the state, drawing thousands of athletes from 1A to 5A schools across Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Nevada. Bathemess said he intended to break the record but the stiff competition played a significant role in allowing him to do so.
“The meets we’ve been going to were really kind of small,” said Bathemess, “so it’s been really hard to push myself because I’m already pretty far out ahead and didn’t have to really push myself ... I knew at BYU I could really do it, especially with the competition and it being a big meet.”
Bathemess said he hoped to finish the BYU event among the “Golden Hour” – the nine fastest runners at the entire meet – and knew he would have to break the Red Devil school record to accomplish that goal.
“As soon as I started I knew it was a really good race ... I came out of the blocks fast and I attacked every hurdle ... [W]hen I crossed the line I was just staring up at that board waiting for it to be a 39, and it was and I was hopping around and yelling and screaming ...”
Bathemess has no plans to rest on his laurels. He said he wants to improve his times at the region championships later this week, but is focusing on the state title and hoping to beat the state record of 38:06, according to The Deseret News.
While Grand’s injury-plagued team did not perform particularly well overall, numerous GCHS athletes placed at BYU. Bathemess placed seventh in the 110-meter hurdles, while fellow junior hurdler Wade Kemmsies placed sixth in the 300 hurdles. Senior Carly Dalton placed second in the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles, recording a personal best of 45:63 in the 300 hurdles. She also placed fifth in the 200-meter dash.
Senior Wesley Rodda placed eighth in the 400 meters and fourth in the 200-meter dash. Junior Jackson Knowles placed ninth in the 1,600-meter run, Grand’s only place in the distance events. The boys’ 4x400 meter relay placed third, while the girls’ medley relay placed sixth.
In field events, sophomore Kasey Betts placed seventh in the high jump, while junior Tiffanie Whipple placed ninth in the long jump. In addition to his track events, Rodda placed seventh in the long jump. Sophomore Richie Cordero placed seventh in the javelin.
At the end of the day, the boys team placed sixth with a total of 31 points, while the girls were 11th with 25 points. The combined results put Grand in eighth place, with a total of 56 points.
“As a team we didn’t do very good,” said head coach Dennis Wells, “but we had a lot of individuals do well.”
He said the boys will have a tough time winning the championship again this year, despite strong performances.
“Andy [Bathemess] ran the third-fastest time in the whole state 1A through 5A, so that was really great,” Wells said. “But, we had some trouble. Jacob Francis tried to run the two-mile but he had to pull out because of an injury to his foot, and Wesley [Rodda] false-started on the 100 [-meter dash] which made this meet tough for us, because we’ve won it, we’ve taken it the last two years.”
Wells said he is very optimistic about the girls team, and he believes several additional athletes could contribute to the team before the season is over.
“The girls are doing really well I think and I think we’ve got some people who are going to do well at region here,” Wells said. “Kwincey [Wells, a freshman] set a personal record in all of her events, and I think she’s really got some things figured out and I think she may surprise people at region and qualify for three events at state.”
Wells said the less-than-stellar performance was due to the size of the BYU meet. “[O]ur girls, like in the discus, [Wells] and Madi [Stocks] both threw 94 feet, which is their personal record for the year, so they did good even if they didn’t place,” Wells said. “But, at region they would place at least second or third with those throws.
“I think region will be tough. I feel like the boys are really going to have to work to beat North Summit for second at state, because Richfield is just stacked this year, but the girls should be at least in the top five, if we have some good performances at state. Our girls should take second at region, but we could possibly finish ahead of Richfield [as a combined team] if we have a good day, but this year I think our girls have a better chance of taking region than the boys.”
The team was scheduled to travel to the region meet in Richfield on Wednesday, May 8, before heading to the state competition at BYU on May 17 and 18.