Kayla Shakespeare and Aimee Bryson train together, share an event and had the smoldering determination that second place wasn’t going to be good enough at the state track meet.
It added up to a combined four championships and a state record on the BYU campus.
“They are both outstanding leaders on our team,” Cedar coach Josh Bennett said. “I think they were very driven toward winning individual and a team state championship, where they were so close last year.”
Okay, so Cedar did happen to finish second Saturday in the team standings behind the Park City juggernaut.
But otherwise it was one of those days that felt like a long time coming.
“I really wanted it,” Bryson said of setting a 3A classification record in the 800 (2:11.92). “I had that goal for a while.”
Last year the cross country standout also was second in the 400, fourth in the 800 and seventh in the 200. So winning the 400 was the biggest breakthrough.
The 200 this time brought an interesting intersection for the friends.
Yes, they’re helpful to each other first. They help each other calm down and get prepared, not to mention all of the daily regimen they share at practices.
But Shakespeare wanted that 200 title badly, even against Bryson.
She had finished fourth and lower every single year at state. But confidence was at an all-time high after capturing a 100 title several hours earlier.
She had been second in each of the three previous years.
“It was even more sweet because I set a PR (personal record),” Shakespeare said of her 12.26-second dash.
She also won the 200 in 25.39, after going second in the 100, fourth in the 200 and third in the long jump last year. She no longer jumps, instead doing javelin.
But Shakespeare thought the biggest difference was her attitude at Robison Track.
“This year I maintained my focus but I was also relaxed about it,” Shakespeare said. “I made sure to try and smile five times before races. Really, I think it helped.”
The Cedar racers weren’t the only ones feeling good leaving Provo.
Whittni Orton, Panguitch freshman, won the 3,200 nearly 24 hours after taking home the 1A 1,600 title (sophomore teammate Catania Holman was second, 19 seconds behind. Aubrey Taylor took seventh). Orton also took third in the 400.
Orton wasn’t the only local to have back-to-back days of success. Kellie Macdonald won the 2A 100 hurdles a day after the Beaver standout won the long jump (14.89 — almost a half-second faster than second place). She also finished fourth in the 100.
Chesney Campbell, a Panguitch freshman, won the 1A high jump and also took 2nd in the 100 hurdles.
Riley Lyman of Enterprise won the 2A 300-meter hurdles to cap her sophomore season.
Meanwhile, Schyler Jordan of Beaver won the 2A 400 in one of the closest finals of the day: by 0.13 seconds against Millard’s Anna Camp.
Away from the track, Chennin Benson (Parowan senior) cleared 5-6 to wrap up her career with a two-inch win. Mariah Clayson from Kanab was second. She missed at 5-5 on all three tries, while Benson bypassed that mark and hit on her third and final shot at 5-6.
McKayla Heaton, Darri Frandsen, Caitlyn Brinkerhoff and Chesney Campbell closed out the team title-winning meet for Panguitch with a 1,600 relay win.
Though perhaps no local’s race will draw as much attention as Bryson’s win in the 800. She was two-tenths of a second faster than the excellent Sarah Feeny of Ogden, who Friday set a new state record in the 1,600.
“She’s just incredible,” Shakespeare said of her teammate.
Both were basically second to none.