Local track and field teams perform well in Mancos and St. George
by Jessica Walker
The San Juan High School track and field team headed across state lines this past week to attend the Bluejay Invitational in Mancos, CO. The meet was a completely different experience than the previous week.
Instead of competing against 1A-6A schools, the team faced similarly-sized schools (1A-3A), which gave several athletes an opportunity to shine.
Brigham Nielson, a sophomore, continues to post top times and placings in his events. Nielson swept the 110-meter hurdles with a first-place finish, and, recovering gracefully from a fall on the last hurdle, finished third in the 300 hurdles. Nielson also placed tenth in the high jump.
Also placing well in both hurdle events was Daniel Jolley. Jolley placed second in the 300-meter hurdles and third in the 110 hurdles.
The female hurdlers followed the same impressive pattern with two athletes posting high finishes in both the 100 and 300 hurdles. This time the athletes in question were Alex Shumway and Leah Castellon, who finished within seconds of each other in both events.
Shumway, with a time of 18.57 seconds, won the 100-meter hurdles and placed second in the 300 hurdles, while Castellon placed third in both the 100 and 300 hurdles.
In the sprint events, Eoin Kaer led the way for the Broncos with his third-place finish in the 100 meter. Josh Nielson also had two top-ten results, finishing fifth in the 400 meter and tenth in the 200 meter.
On the girls side, Ashlyn Palmer came in with a fifth-place finish in the 100 meter. Less than three tenths of a second behind Palmer was Tainea Anderson with a sixth-place finish in the 100 meter.
In the 800 meter Ryleigh Laws snagged a third-place finish with a stellar time of 2:48. Ella Lyman finished eighth in the 1600 meter and slid into tenth place with a strong performance in the high jump.
Logan Keith, in only the second track meet of his career, earned two top-ten finishes when he took fifth in the 800 meter and eighth in the discus.
Hudson Whatcott and Magnum Nielson also came away with two top-ten finishes each. Whatcott placed sixth in the high jump with a five foot, six inch jump and third in the long jump, while Nielson placed fourth in the long jump and seventh in the shot put.
Tyler Winn hucked the discus a whopping 105 feet, ten inches, giving himself a new career best and a third-place finish. Following Winn with a seventh-place finish in the discus was his teammate, JD Palmer.
In the girls shot put competition Savanna Richmond earned a ninth-place finish. Richmond, a freshman, threw over 26 feet.
Several San Juan relay teams also had outstanding finishes. The girls 4x100 meter relay, 4x200 meter relay, sprint medley, and 4x400 relay all earned second-place finishes, while the boys relay team came home second in the 4x100 and third in the 4x200 meter relay.
Perhaps one of the most exciting races of the meet was the 4x400 relay. With the Broncos in last place going into the final leg, it didn’t seem likely they would be able to overcome the deficit
But coming from behind during the last leg, Daniel Jolley overcame the distance to beat the odds and help his team nab a first-place finish with a commanding six-second lead on the next team.
As a whole, both the boys and girls teams placed well among the 12 teams in attendance. With over 90 points, the boys team won the meet, narrowly beating out Pagosa Springs, and the girls team took second place.
The Broncos welcome Monticello, Monument Valley, Whitehorse, and Grand County to their home meet this Friday, April 8 in Blanding. Events begin at 1 p.m. for those interested in supporting southeastern Utah athletes.
The Monticello Buckaroos were also in Mancos this past week to compete in the Bluejay Invitational. With over 31 top-ten finishes, both teams enjoyed third-place overall finishes.
Also worth noting is the fact that several of those top-ten finishes came from the same athletes. One huge strength of the team is that most athletes don’t just focus on one event, but instead compete in and excel in several different events
Berlynn Black is one such example. After pulling out a narrow win in the 300-meter hurdles, finishing just over four tenths of a second before the next competitor from San Juan, she added three more top-ten finishes to her repertoire before the day was through (third in the high jump, fourth in the 100 hurdles, and seventh in the 200 meter).
Also competing in and placing in four events each were Boston Freestone and Robert Morrison. Freestone had a dominant performance in the 400 meter with his first place finish and time of 54.67 seconds.
Freestone added a second-place finish in the high jump, a third-place finish in the 200 meter, and a sixth-place finish in the 100 meter. Morrison placed fourth in the 200 meter, sixth in both the long jump and shot put, and seventh in the 100 meter.
Lily Long, an All-State cross country athlete and a serious competitor in both the middle distance and distance events, had a series of sensational performances with a win in the 800 meter, and, with a seemingly effortless stride, an additional win in the 1600. Long also finished second in the 400 meter.
Not to be confused with Long, her teammate both in cross country and track, Lilly Burton ran her way to a seventh-place finish in the 400 meter and an eighth-place finish in the 800 meter.
Curtis Bunker finished fourth in the 3200 meter, fifth in the 1600 meter, and ninth in the long jump. Kaden Pehrson, competing in the 800 meter and 1600 meter, placed seventh and sixth respectively.
In the long jump, Tommy Sheeran not only earned himself a personal best, but also won the entire event by almost a foot and a half. Sheeran also placed second in the 100 meter.
Nial Reay placed well in both the 100 meter and the discus competitions. In the 100 meter run he finished fourth and in the discus competition he finished fifth with his throw just barely under 100 feet.
Other athletes placing in the top ten included Tavon Black (eighth in the 110 meter hurdles), Rosey Beh (ninth in the 200 meter), Shayla Pehrson (fifth in the 300 hurdles), Kyleigh Adair (eighth in the shot put), and Ayla Carling (sixth in the 1600 meter).
Competing alongside San Juan and Monticello at the Bluejay Invitational in Mancos, CO, the Whitehorse Raiders combined to earn a seventh-place boys team finish and a twelfth for the girls.
Shania Mitchell put up another excellent pair of performances to follow her win last week in the discus competition. This week Mitchell placed sixth in the discus competition and fourth in the shot put.
Weston Manygoats put up a trio of skilled performances and earned himself two wins, in the 800 meter and 3200 meter, and a second-place finish in the 1600 meter.
In the throwing competitions, Amos Nocki and Izaya Bob both did extremely well. Nocki in his first meet of the season threw over 86 feet for a ninth-place finish, while Bob threw over 83 feet for a 14th-place finish.
Several other athletes had excellent performances in the meet. Nicolas Howell and Sebastian White hurdled their way to consecutive finishes in the 300-meter hurdles with eighth-place (Howell) and a ninth-place (White) finishes
Brett James finished in eighth place in the 800 meter. Kailee Tohonnie jumped her way to an eighth-place finish in the long jump.
This past week, the Monument Valley Cougars faced much the same challenge as San Juan in the previous week, competing in a large meet with schools much bigger (some as much as ten times bigger) than them at the Deseret Hills Invitational in St. George. Despite the challenges, the team performed well and gained valuable experience.
In the throwing events Philena Hanley and Donique Ateen represented the team well, both with multiple finishes in the top 50. Hanley finished 13th in the shot put and 45th in the discus, while Ateen finished 15th in the shot put, 26th in the javelin, and 47th in the discus competition.
Caitlyn Yazzie came home with a personal-record 18:20 in the 3200 meter to finish tenth. Alyah Blackwater finished with a trio of great performances (50th in the 400 meter, 53rd in discus, and 60th in the 200 meter).
In the 400 meter run, Doreon Chee and Tramon Jake ran great races, finishing in 64th and 75th. Raemi Nez and Lillianna Fatt finished within seconds of each other in 70th and 73rd.