The first meet was the San Juan Invitational in Blanding, which was staged on Tuesday, April 8, exactly one week later than originally scheduled. The meet had been postponed the week before due to windy weather conditions.
The Red Devils took first place overall at the Blanding meet, accumulating 353 points, 202 by the girls and 151 by the boys. In a distant second place was host team San Juan, which scored 248.5 total points. San Juan did take first among the boys scores with 172.5, but the Bronco girls only managed a total of 76 points.
Among the highlights of the San Juan meet, GCHS senior Mercedes James won both the 800-meter and 1,600-meter races, qualifying for state in both events. James ran the 800 in 2 minutes, 32.24 seconds and the 1,600 in 5:45.94.
Fellow GCHS senior Tiffanie Whipple also won two events, taking first in the long jump with a leap of 16 feet, 9 inches, and also winning the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 17.03 seconds. Her hurdles time qualified her for the state competition, according to GCHS head coach Dennis Wells.
In the girls high jump, GCHS junior Kasey Betts, in her first meet back after recovering from an injury, took first place with a leap of 5 feet, 2 inches, also qualifying for state.
For the GCHS boys, senior Jackson Knowles qualified for state with a first-place time of 4:45.98 in the 1,600-meter run. Knowles also won the 200-meter dash in 23.35 seconds.
The Red Devils also took second place in the 4x100 meter relay, qualifying for state with a time of 45.19 seconds. Running in that event for Grand were Andy Bathemess, Wade Kemmsies, Jordan Bryant, and Mason Tranter.
In addition, Bryant (53.57) and Tranter (53.71) took first and second overall in the 400-meter race. Kemmsies placed first in both the 110-meter hurdles (16.10) and the 300-meter hurdles (40.66).
On Wednesday, April 9, one day after the meet in Blanding, the Red Devils participated in a meet in Cortez, Colo.
“Cortez was all hand-timed, so there was nothing reliable, and they don’t have any team or individual scores posted on-line,” said coach Wells, who didn’t attend the Cortez event. “I do know that Brittnee Lewis threw the shot put 29 feet 5 inches, which was her best of the year and she took second.”
On Saturday, April 12, the Red Devils traveled to Price to participate in the Carbon High Farm Bureau Invitational. Out of the 18 high schools at the meet, Grand took fourth place in the overall team scoring with 103 points, which was first among 2A schools. The top three teams were all larger schools: Richfield, Stansbury, and Carbon. Grand’s boys earned a total of 56 points (third place overall) while the Lady Devil girls tallied 47 points (fifth place).
One of the top highlights of the Carbon meet for Grand was having two runners break the previous school record in the same race.
“Andy Bathemess and Wade Kemmsies both broke the school record in the 300-meter hurdles, with Andy taking first in 39.43 and Wade taking second in 39.63,” said coach Wells, who added that the previous school record was 39.85 seconds, set by Bathemess last year.
Bathemess also ran a personal-best time of 15.75 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles, finishing second in the event to Richfield’s Lance Allen, who finished in 14.66.
The GCHS boys placed second overall in the boys 4x400 meter relay, with Bathemess, Kemmsies, Tranter, and Knowles posting a time of 3:36.19.
For the Lady Devils at Carbon, senior Madison Stocks won the discus event with a personal-best toss of 109 feet, 3 inches, nearly 13 feet farther than her closest competitor. Stocks had also won the discus event in Blanding earlier in the week with a throw of 104 feet, 5 inches.
The GCHS girls also took first place in the 4x100 meter relay, with Kwincey Wells, Haley Rice, Shailee Croasmun, and Bohannon teaming up to post a winning time of 53.09. The Lady Devils didn’t finish the 4x400 meter relay, however, as leadoff runner Hannah Rice didn’t complete her lap due to a shoulder injury.
Kwincey Wells also qualified for state in the long jump with a jump of 16 feet, 2.5 inches, good enough for third place overall. Wells also placed second in both the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash.
The Red Devils suffered at least two other injuries during the Carbon meet: sophomore Josh Stalpes fell and hurt his elbow on the last hurdle of his heat in the 300-meter hurdles, a race he was winning. Also, Croasmun was struck in the side of the head with an errant discus that someone nearby accidentally released while warming up. Stalpes is expected to have his arm in a sling for a while but he says he may be able to return to action soon. Croasmun appeared to be fine afterward.
The Red Devils’ next scheduled track meet is the Blue Mountain Championships in Blanding on April 26.