Talk about getting over a hurdle.
It’s Olivia Leavitt’s favorite type of running event, but the Desert Hills standout also had to overcome some serious adversity on the way to winning the 100- and 300-meter hurdles at the 3A state track meet on Saturday, along with one open sprint.
The junior said, “I’m as happy as I can be. I won three state titles unexpectedly.”
Told about that comment, Thunder coach Dace Goulding — whose team finished a school-record second in the girls’ standings — said he thought Leavitt was being just a touch too modest.
But along with taking fourth in the 100 and capping the hot day with a victory in the 200, Leavitt may even be on to bigger things next spring.
Winning the 100 hurdles, Leavitt became extremely emotional early in the day.
“I love that race,” she said. “But I’ve struggled with it a lot. Moments where my mind wasn’t totally into it, then I’d have something happen and I wouldn’t finish. That’s kind of a make-it-or-break-it race.”
Goulding points out a couple of crashes.
But she overcame it, and also battled fiercely with a very close friend.
Leavitt edged out teammate Abby Taylor in the 200 by a few hundredths of a second.
Taylor took third in the 100 and also won the long jump, creating a healthy competitiveness in practices that helped drive the Thunder to unprecedented heights.
“Abby has gotten stronger and forces Olivia to work harder herself,” Goulding said.
The coach noted that a trip to BYU’s Robison Track a few weeks ago for an invitational also did wonders for Leavitt’s psyche. She could focus in a relatively quiet environment.
“She got to run her race and enjoy it,” Goulding said. “That accelerated her to this point at state.”
There was plenty of acceleration going on for locals schools at the state meet.
For starters, Panguitch won another 1A state title.
Darri Frandsen had a wildly close discus competition, winning with a throw of 116 feet, 2 inches that was about an inch better than runner-up Elizabeth Tomon of St. Joseph. (Frandsen’s heave came a few rounds before her closest competition.)
“There was some pressure for our team, because we wanted to win another team title,” Frandsen said. “But we just said, ‘if we do our best, then what else can we do?'”
They did a lot.
Chesney Campbell of Panguitch took second in the 1A high jump.
Whittni Orton, a sophomore distance specialist for Panguitch, won the 1A 3,200 about 24 hours after winning the 1,600. She also won the 800 near the hot day’s end.
Brenna Mooney (shot put) and Chesney Campbell (100 hurdles) provided second-place points that helped to create 151 team points — nearly twice that of the runner-up Wayne, which had 80.
It was also a strong day for Beaver.
Schyler Jordan, a senior, won the 2A high jump when she was the only competitor to clear 5-foot-5. She also finished second in the 400.
Kellie Macdonald (who won the high jump on Friday) won long jump for the second consecutive year. She went 17 feet, 11 inches, seven better than the runner-up. She also won the 100-meter hurdles in 15.19. Macdonald, who will race next year at Utah Valley University, also took third in the 100 and placed second in the 300 hurdles, as Enterprise’s Riley Lyman pulled off the upset in 44.96 seconds (Macdonald was at 45.48).
Also of note: Kennedy Netto of Milford won the 1A javelin (127-1) and Melissa Kunz of Canyon View took second in the 400 for 3A racers during her final high school meet.
But Leavitt still has one year left. Figure her and Taylor will be heard from plenty, and they’ll be next to each other in those valued middle lanes a lot.
“She’s my best friend. It’s crazy to race her. We handle it really good,” Leavitt said. “We push each other in practice, and that’s awesome. I couldn’t be as fast as I am without her.”