Cedar girls edge Desert Hills by 1 point for state track championship; Thunder boys win 7th title in a row

Cedar High girls track team after taking first place at the 4A state track and field championships, Provo, Utah, May 18, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Jason York, St. George News / Cedar City News

PROVO — In a down-to-the-wire finish at the state track and field championships Saturday, the Cedar Lady Reds edged past Region 9 rival Desert Hills by a single point to win the state 4A girls title.

Desert Hills boys track team after winning first place at the 4A state track and field championships, Provo, Utah, May 18, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Desert Hills High Athletics, St. George News / Cedar City News

The Lady Thunder won the final race of the day, the 4×400 meter relay, earning 10 team points. However, Cedar still placed sixth in that event, picking up three points and giving them a final score of 107 points to Desert Hills’ 106. The two teams had battled evenly throughout the course of the two-day state meet, held at Brigham Young University in Provo.

“It was a team effort, with all of the girls pushing themselves to the top,” Cedar coach James Davidson said. “It goes to show that every point counts.”

Meanwhile, the Desert Hills boys won the 4A boys title with a total of 71 team points, seven points better than Orem and Spanish Fork, who tied for second place with 64 points apiece. It marked the seventh straight state championship for the Thunder boys, many of whom held up seven fingers or made the numeral “7” with their hands as the team posed with the trophy at the end of the meet.

Senior Braden Squires of Desert Hills had an outstanding weekend, finishing in first place in the boys 100-meter dash with a time of 10.96 seconds. He also won the 400-meter run in 49.08 and took second in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.25.

“I had a lot of anxiety leading up to the 100 meter, but I knew that I just needed to trust the process and how hard I’ve worked,” Squires told St. George News immediately after his win in the 100. “Over the years I have tried to consistently improve myself, and now this, this feels great.”

Among the numerous athletes who helped the Cedar girls to victory was junior Mayci Torgerson, who took state in the high jump for the second year in a row, clearing 5 feet, 5 inches. She also took state in the same event last year in the 2A classification as a sophomore at North Sevier, when she jumped 5 feet, 8 inches.

Torgerson also earned additional points for the Lady Reds by placing second in the long jump Friday and third in the 300-meter hurdles Saturday.

L-R: Shailee Bundy of Desert Hills, Denim Henkel of Cedar and Abby Monson of Desert Hills, at the state track and field championships, Provo, Utah, May 18, 2019 | Photo by Dave Larson, St. George News / Cedar City News

Torgerson, who was also a key part of Cedar’s state championship basketball team, said that even after taking state multiple times, the feeling never gets old.

“To be honest, I was not confident coming into this event. I’m very happy that I won, but disappointed in my mark,” Torgerson said. “The athlete in me just wants to be better. For my senior season, I want to continue to stay confident, especially through my mistakes and learn from them.”

In winning the high jump, Torgerson outlasted region rival SaRiya Sims of Hurricane, who also cleared 5-5 initially but had to settle for second place when neither she nor Torgerson  successfully jumped 5-6, after which Torgerson was able to clear 5-5 again.

The Cedar girls also saw strong performances in the javelin, with sophomore Logann Laws winning the event with an outstanding throw of 140 feet, 2 inches, which exceeded her previous personal best by nearly 11 feet (her old mark was 129-6). Laws’ winning toss came on her second throw, but all six of her attempts went farther than 132 feet. In fact, her sixth-best throw of 132-10.5 was still nearly four feet farther than the next best throw by any female athlete in any classification at the state meet (Alyssa Hansen of Weber won the 6A classification with a mark of 129-00.75).

Also earning points for Cedar in the javelin were junior Japrix Weaver, who placed fourth with a personal-best throw of 118-8.5, and sophomore Jaidi Willden, who finished seventh with a throw of 113-10.25.

Like Torgerson and Laws, Weaver and Willden were members of Cedar’s state championship basketball team. Weaver also played shortstop for the Lady Reds softball team, which got knocked out of the state tournament Thursday, enabling Weaver to compete at the track meet instead.

Junior Denim Henkel, another star player on Cedar’s basketball and softball teams, took first place in the shot put at state, her best attempt measuring 35-8.25.

“This weekend didn’t end up as I expected it would,” Weaver told St. George News Saturday evening. “It was really disappointing to get beat out of state softball as early as we did. When Denim and I qualified for state track, we didn’t anticipate being able to participate in the state meet because we were hoping to be playing in the softball state championship.”
Senior sprinter Jasie York of Cedar High holds trophy after the Lady Reds took first place at the 4A state track and field championships, Provo, Utah, May 18, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Jason York, St. George News / Cedar City News

“Before today, I didn’t realize how important every person’s event was in helping the track team win state,” Weaver added. “I am grateful to have contributed to this amazing group of girls and help them in a small way to reach their goal.”

Senior sprinter Jasie York also came up big for Cedar at state, personally accounting for 30 of the team’s points. York won the 400-meter race with a time of 56.50, edging senior Larissa Dabb of Canyon View, who finished second in 57.80. York also placed second in the 200-meter dash, her time of 25.55 coming just behind winner Amy Ballard of Lehi’s 25.50. In addition, York placed second in the 800-meter run and fifth in the 100-meter dash.

“Cedar came in the clutch, and we ended with a bang,” said York, who will run for the University of Utah next year. “I couldn’t be happier to be a back-to-back champion and represent the Redmen one last time.”

Also finishing her high school career on top was senior Chloe Taylor of Desert Hills, who won both the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles races at state.

Taylor, who has committed to run for BYU next year, achieved a personal best in her final 300 hurdles race, clocking a time of 43.64.

“The 300 is my favorite race. I won it last year, so I was determined to win it again this year,” Taylor said. “I never would have thought that two years ago, I would be here today. It’s an amazing feeling.”

In the 4A boys 300 hurdles, sophomore Spencer Carlile of Dixie finished in first place with a personal-best time of 38.81.

“At first, I didn’t like the hurdles, but the more I practiced the more I enjoyed it,” an ecstatic Carlile said after the race. “I was nervous heading into this race, especially since you never really know what’s going to happen. But now I feel so happy.”

Carlile’s teammate at Dixie High, senior Justin Weidauer, won the discus event at state, recording a throw of 160-10.75.

Ian Lambert, a junior at Hurricane, won the 4A boys high jump by clearing 6-2.

In relay events, Desert Hills won both the girls and boys 4×100 races. In addition Region 9’s Canyon View won the final event of the 4A meet, the boys 4×400.

For complete meet results, click here. To see yesterday’s article recapping Friday’s first-day results and photos, click here. Also, check out the gallery below for photos of Saturday’s action, with additional images to be added later.

Other Southern Utah schools that placed highly at the state meet included Panguitch, which won the girls 1A trophy, edging runner-up Milford 142-136. Also, the Panguitch boys finished second to Monticello, with Milford taking third in 1A boys. In the 2A classification, Millard’s boys won the championship, with Parowan taking second and Kanab finishing third. Millard also placed second in the 2A girls, with the Lady Wolves of Enterprise taking third.

— written by reporters Megan Cafarelli in Provo and Jeff Richards in Cedar City.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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