As the season comes to an end for the Morgan High School Track and Field team, the athletes are gearing up for an exciting state race. State will be held this weekend on the Brigham Young University campus, allowing some of the fastest runners and premier athletes in the state to compete for the State 3A title.
This past weekend, the Trojans competed in the region competition held in Uintah. After two days of competitions, the team walked away with a second place finish for both the boys and the girls teams. The hard work and dedication of these athletes paid off as many of the individuals placed and 52 personal records were achieved.
After a great start Friday, in which Kyle Stapley took second with an amazing javelin throw of 130’02, many of the Morgan athletes broke their own personal records (PRs). In shot put Chania Nagel took second place, Brooke Pierce fifth place, and Meara Barrett took ninth place, all three achieving PRs.
Knowing how tight the region competition would be, Chania Nagel was placed in the javelin category to earn extra points for the team. Even though she hadn’t thrown this year, she ended with a sixth place finish. Another teammate, Sydney Wixom, had a state qualifying throw and took home second place.
In the boys long jump event Smash Lloyd took fourth, sending him to the state competition. Tyler Browning took seventh place; Jacob Rice eighth; and Tyler Moake ninth. Rounding out Friday’s events was Britten Duerden’s amazing high jump. Clearing 5’10” (a jump that would win many college meets), Duerden, who is ranked fourth in the nation, brought home a region win.
Heating up the track, Candace Gunn finished in fifth place in the mile, bringing in some very important points for the team. Likewise, Andrew Allen also finished in fifth place on the boys side. Smash Lloyd had three personal records on Friday alone.
As the hurdle trials began, the Trojans ran a great race with many advancing to the finals. A few setbacks along the course of the day included injuries to a few key athletes. But all in all spirits were high as they watched teammate after teammate advancing. To end the day, the boys relay team—made up of Garrett Bills, Spencer Larsen, Hayden Garfield and Andrew Allen—brought home a win.
Going into Saturday’s competition the Trojans knew the competition between them and Park City would be tight. Park City is known for its distance racers and the Trojans were closely watching as the Park City runners racked up points in the distance categories, but the Trojan team fought hard.
Candace Gunn earned a second place medal in the 3200 meter run. Britten Duerden conquered as she ran a new PR and took her second region title in the hurdle finals. Michaela Mortensen finished fifth.
In the boys hurdles Hayden Garfield ended up second, Garrett Bills fourth, Logan Sandoval sixth, and Jacob Rice, although injured, came in eighth. The Trojans continued to build steam as Chandler Weitzel became a region champion in the 100 meter dash, a big accomplishment as Weitzel has struggled during the season with a back injury. In the boys 100 meter dash, Smash Lloyd and Spencer Larson ended up third and fourth, advancing them both to state.
In the girls 4x100, McKinley Skidmore, Shayli Kilmer, Breanna Hurlbut and Chandler Weitzel barely beat Park City, bringing in second place. With Chez Stout, a talented Morgan runner injured, freshman Cade Moore stepped in to take his spot in the 4x100. The team also included Smash Lloyd, Spencer Larson and Austin Hopkins and as Coach Jamie West put it, they “crushed” the competition. This team, in fact, ran their second fastest time of the year.
Running away with the region title in the 400 meter dash was senior Breanna Hurlbut. In the boys 400 meter, Austin Hopkins won and Hayden Garfield and Trevor Rose ended up fifth and sixth respectively. In the 300 meter Hurdles, Britten Duerden took second. After competing in six races and earning numerous wins, Duerden earned the team 28 points. Michaela Mortensen came in in third, earning her a spot at state. For the boys Garret Bills took fourth, also advancing to state, while Logan Sandoval ended up eighth.
There was a bit of a scare at the start of the girls 800 as Morgan’s Candace Gunn was tripped. After picking herself up and getting back out there, she ended the race in seventh with Andrea Millburn in fourth and advancing to state. Another PR was earned by Andrew Allen in the boys 800 meter as he came in second place. Freshman Payton Bailey took eighth.
As the day progressed, the Trojans knew they would need some big wins to win the competition. Chandler Weitzel and Breanna Hurlbut added big points to the team in the 200 meter, bringing in second and third places. The boys team fought back as well, as Austin Hopkins won his third region title.
In the final track event, the 4x400 the girls team—made of Molly Adams, Kallie Quarez, Andrea Millburn and Breanna Hurlbut—finished second. Excitement built as the boys 4x400 race began. In a close race, the team comprised of Trevor Rose, Andrew Allen, Hayden Garfield and Austin Hopkins won the event. This sealed Morgan’s eighth Region win and Hopkins’ fourth Region title.
In the field events, Britten Duerden was busy bringing in a second place finish in long jump and Tyler Browning ended up fifth in the boys high jump. Dietrich Strueber ended up with a 15 foot PR in boys javelin, ending up in second and qualifying for state. In shot put, Kyle Stapley ended up the region champion, ensuring the boys an overall second place finish.
Others earning PRs throughout the competition were: Kami MacArthur, Ashlyn Warner, Tyler Dean, Christian McClellan, Natalie Nielson, Megan Bartol, Lindsey Toone, Tessa Volmer, Molly Adams, Kaden Norman, Derrek Roseman, Crozlyn Toone, Karli Dotson and Abby Holman.
Morgan girls were up by one point going into the discus. To win the title of region champs, Chania Nagel would have to win first place and Park City could not get more than nine points. With the entire stadium cheering both Nagel and teammate Meara Barrett on, Barrett ended up in ninth place and Nagel become Morgan’s 11th region champion. Unfortunately, Park City got 10 points to seal the win, but Morgan girls proudly brought home the overall second place Region win.
As impressive as the teams’ scores may be, their sportsmanship is even more so. As hard as it was to lose by one point, the team gave their all and sacrificed for each other despite the injuries that befell them. In a sport where every point, every inch, every minute, every second counts, the cheers and the support of each other continued to push each athlete to be their best.
Up next for the Trojans is the state competition held today, Friday, May 16, and Saturday, May 17 at BYU. The Trojans will battle Desert Hills, Park City, Richfield, Stansbury, Cedar City and Wasatch for the title. Whatever the outcome, these young athletes have proven they are true winners.