ST. GEORGE – Region 9 showcased well at the Desert Hills Invitational on Saturday, a meet that attracted teams from across the state.
Desert Hills won the boys event and Cedar the girls. But overall, this weekend was a showcase for some of Region 9’s elite track athletes.
Cedar’s Brooklyn Shakespeare, Holly Carpenter, Julia Hunt and Rachel Hunt combined to win the girls 4×100-meter relay.
“Our handoff was really good,” said Rachel Hunt of her handoff with Carpenter. “We were in third, but we ended up in first because the other teams messed up their hand-offs.”
“And we were fast,” Carpenter chimed in.
It was up to Rachel’s twin, Julia, to maintain that lead on the final leg.
“It’s tough (running with a lead) because you can’t look back and you don’t know how close they are,” Julia Hunt said.
But she had enough to give the Lady Reds the victory by a half-second over Desert Hills.
Laynee Wells of Desert Hills could relate to the challenge of running in first.
In a meet last month in Arizona, she found herself chasing the leaders and set a personal best in the 3200 meters.
Saturday, she ran ahead of the pack to win the 3200 meters, but it was 20 seconds off her personal record.
“It definitely wasn’t my best race,” Wells said. “It’s really hard to lead a race because you have no one you’re trying to catch up to. It makes for a harder race.”
Wells made the transition from sprinter to distance runner when she moved from Kentucky a few years ago and began running two miles every night with her father, Dr. Spencer Wells.
Woodbury made the state finals in the girls 100-meter dash last season but finished eighth.
“I don’t want that to happen this year,” Woodbury said.
Woodbury has another big goal in mind—setting the school record in the 100-meter dash. That record is at 12.32. Woodbury’s personal record is 12.65.
“That’s not far off from 12.32,” Woodbury said. “I just need to keep up my conditioning so I don’t die at the end.”
Both records were safe Saturday, as Woodbury ran the 100-meter dash on a mere three minutes rest after the 100-meter hurdles.
Despite the short interval, Woodbury won with an impressive 12.95.
Woodbury’s teammate, Ike Urquhart, is another Flyer expected to do well at state but who had to take a little off the gas Saturday.
With track officials whispering Urquhart’s a candidate to win state in the 800 meters, Urquhart showed well, winning the event with a time of 1:58.20
But Urquhart admitted he ran with an eye toward conserving energy for the medley and 4×400 relays he had to run shortly afterwards.
“I didn’t go out as fast as I usually do,” he said. “I just hung with the pack. But when I broke from the pack, I opened up my stride.”
Desert Hills swept the top three spots in the boys 300-meter hurdles. Caleb Whitney, Zak Fuchs and Garrick Sharp took the top three spots with Whitney prevailing.
“We work together and push each other everyday,” Whitney said. “It was nice to see these guys finish right behind me.”
Whitney, who’s 6-foot-3, was a sprinter who made the switch to hurdles to take advantage of his height. He also won the 110-meter hurdles.