Darts, Parents, and Fans -
We had an amazing weekend at the State Championships in Provo. I think this will be remembered as one of the best ever from Davis Track & Field. The TEAM competed hard and had tons of support from one another, from parents, and from other Dart track fans. It was so rewarding to see all of the hard work, the TEAM work, the commitment and the determination pay off at the state championships.
The boys finished with their 3rd straight state championship. We put together two solid days of performances and scored in every single event to come out on top with a score of 127 - 50 points ahead of 2nd place Bingham (77). We also finished with 6 first places out of the 17 events. It all started on Friday where we looked strong in the trials and we had some awesome surprises in the finals. Devin Lang and Seth Gutzwiller began the meet for us in the 1600m run. The Davis group was completely freaking out when Devin pulled off the upset win with a 4:20 - an 8 second pr - in only his 5th time running the mile as a Dart. Devin began working hard for the 800 this last cross country season, but he surprised a lot of people with his win in the 1600m. Seth also had a pr (4:27) to score some points in with a 7th place finish (moving up from 10th in the final lap). The surprises kept coming with the discus throw. Tony Hill had a monster throw of 157'03 to pull the upset win. He was ranked 6th going into the event. Luke Allred also scored with his season best throw of 148'09 - good enough for 6th. We also looked strong in the pole vault on Friday with 4 vaulters in the event. We were lead by Dan Hayward who had a 1 foot pr of 14'00 to finish 3rd. Although our high jump didn't go as well as we would have hoped, we had 3 boys clear 6'02 - Alec Pectol (6th), Ryan Avery (7th), and Conrad Daley (9th). We also got everyone into finals that we needed to for Saturday.
On Saturday we got the same kind of spark from the 3200m that we had from the 1600m the day before. Seth Gutzwiller went into the race ranked 2nd to a kid he had not been able to beat on the track this year. With 3 laps to go, Seth was about 4 or 5 seconds down, but had a look of hope and determination. He closed the gap a little on the second to last lap, and made a strong move down the back stretch of the final lap. It was awesome to watch Seth turn it on around the final turn to run the leader down and finish with 9:29 - good enough for the win. It got us started off with some excitement which spread throughout the day. We had 2 other 2 milers who went under 10:00 for the first time - Curtis Carlisle - 9:53 (8th) and Logan Petty (9:59). Around the time when we were watching the 3200, Tony Hill was dominating in the shot put with a winning throw of 56'11. He had us all a little nervous when he scratched his first 2 throws, but gathered himself enough to make it into finals, then came through with his winning throw on his final attempt to give him 2 state titles. We were well on our way.
As the morning went on, we picked up some big points from Kyler Sprague (4th in the 110 hurdles - 15.26 - the top junior in the race), and from Ryan Avery and Taylor Carling in the 100m dash. Neither were satisfied with their finishes - but they both had opportunities to come back and prove themselves later in the day. Ryan and Taylor have re-written our record board in the 100m dash over the last 2 years, and in a close race they were able to finish 6th and 8th. It really fired them up to go after a fast one in the 4 x 100m relay - along with Benson Richards and Jon Ferguson. They put on a great show, running 41.89 - a new school record and one of the fastest times in state history, but we were barely defeated by Bingham's 41.68 (just .04 off the state record). It was definitely one of our most exciting races of the meet. I like how all 4 of the relay members responded throughout the rest of the meet - instead of getting down about being beat, they all came back with prs in later events. The first pr was from Benson Richards in the 400m. He finished 8th and went under 50 seconds for the first time with a 49.82.
The excitement continued after the lunch break with Kyler Sprague in the 300 hurdles. His first few hurdles were shaky, but he turned in on down the final stretch to move up to 3rd place with a pr 39.91. At the same time, Marshall Burton and Spencer Betker were throwing the javelin. They both made it into finals - Spencer (just a sophomore) with a 10 foot pr. Spencer's throw of 153'05 was good enough for 5th place, and Marshall threw 152'08 - good enough for 8th - and he got his pic in the Standard Examiner. It got really exciting for us in the next event. We had 5 boys qualify for the 800 - we kept Curtis Carlisle out to run in the medley, but the other 4 ran well together in the open. Derek Gallacher went straight to the lead and ran a determined first lap - coming through in :55. Although he paid for it during the second lap, it showed his guts, and it helped teammate Devin Lang to run a 4 second pr and finish with his 2nd win of the meet with a 1:53 - the fastest time of the year for a Utahn, and the #2 all-time mark at Davis. I was getting phone calls from college coaches before the meet was over. Right after the 800, we continued our scoring rampage with a 7th place finish in the medley. The medley runners (Austin Facer, Jaxson Anderson, Luke Thompson, Curtis Carlisle, and Leland Stenquist in the trials) have done a great job all year by consistently improving and earning us points. The 200m finals right after the medley kept our momentum going. It was so sweet to see Taylor Carling come off the turn in 2nd place driving hard for the finish. He had remained patient all season long, dealing with some injuries that lingered from over a year ago. To see the 200 finals go the way they did at the end of his high school career was definitely something special. He finished with a 21.93 - good enough for 2nd (behind a state record time), also good enough for #2 on our all time list. Right after the 200m we had about 60 of our athletes and fans in front of the long jump cheering for Ryan Avery and Jon Ferguson in the finals. They were the top returning jumpers from last year and didn't disappoint with a great show and a strong 1-3 finish. Going into the final attempts as the last 2 jumpers, Jon was in 2nd (by .25 inches) and Ryan was in 3rd - behind by 3 inches. Ryan pulled off an incredible pr of 22'07 on his last jump - to move into 1st. Our crowd erupted. Jon's final jump right after was just as far, and we were on our feet screaming again, but he had just barely fouled on the attempt. It was a great finish to two great high school jumping careers. Both of the last 2 years, their jumps have locked up the championship for us and have come at perfect times. The two of them have scored a combined 38 points in just the long jump the past 3 years. Jon was able to come right back and use some of the momentum to lead us off in the 4 x 400 with a pr split of 49.9 - the fastest for the team. Jon, along with Kyler Sprague, Kye Kunz, and Benson Richards finished off the day for us with a 3:25 - good enough to finish 4th.
I don't think I have ever witnessed as much heart, passion, and TEAM work in track and field as I did from our girls over the past 2 days. I can't tell you how impressed I was with their dedication to each other and their determination to do their very best for their TEAM. They gave their all and should be 100 percent satisfied with their performance. Riverton had an incredible meet and was able to come out on top, but our girls were truly champions in the way they competed together and supported one another. I will remember this TEAM and this meet as one of the strongest in heart and spirit that I have had the opportunity to be associated with. Great job to the girls and to Coach West!
They started on Friday with a strong performance in the 1600m. Candace Eddy fought hard to get the lead in the final lap, but ran out of gas on the home stretch and was caught by Shalaya Kipp in the final few meters of the race - her finishing time was 5:03. It was a courageous race by both runners. The race for 3rd was just as exciting as Katie Swanson passed 3 or 4 runners on the final lap to move into 3rd and run a pr of 5:12. Meghan Hedquist was only 2 seconds back with a 5:14 (also a pr) - good enough for 8th. Talya Kussee also ran a pr 5:19 in the race. The next morning, the same 3 girls who scored for us were at it again in the 3200m. Candace's confidence was shaken a little from the day before, but she got back on the track and ran another strong race to pick up another 2nd place for the TEAM. This time it was Meghan who had the exciting final lap and moved up to capture 3rd place with a pr of 11:22. And Katie also finished strong with 11:32 - good enough for 8th. It is incredible to see how teammates step up for each other. When one might struggle, the others are their to help them out. Our next final was Brooke Jensen in the 10m hurdles. She was racing against the same group of girls who have been pushing each other in the hurdles since their sophomore years. It was another battle as four girls went under 15 seconds, and Brooke finished 4th with a 14.85 - it was a great time, but Brooke was not quite satisfied - it really motivated her to come back strong in her later races. The hurdles were followed closely by the 100m finals where Dani Figgins ran a solid 12.64 good enough for 4th and freshman Sylvia Harrison finished 8th. We were worried about Sylvia's hip injury and not sure if we should run her in the 4 x 100 at this point, but we decided to have her try it. The girls 4 x 100 has gone undefeated all year, and they kept it that way. Brooke, Dani, Missy Lott, and Sylvia finished close to our season best with 49.00 - good enough to make them state champions. Dani had to come back in the 400 finals (her 3rd race in a row), and she did an outstanding job to finish in 7th place - although it was a hard race for her, we were proud of her efforts in doing all she could for the TEAM. This was another one of the races where teammates stepped up to help each other. Rachel Jackson ran a big pr to finish in 2nd place with 58.79, and sister Chelsea also stepped up for us to finish 6th in 59.85. That 400m race was the perfect example of how much determination and team spirit our girls have. I was in tears as Rachel was in tears telling me about how excited she was about her race. It was pretty cool - and it was a fun part of the meet because we kept some momentum going after the win in the 4 x 100m.
After the lunch break, we came back strong with Brooke Jensen in the 300 hurdles. It was possibly Brooke's gutsiest race of her great high school career. What a way to end it. She ran an inspired pr of 44.43 - good enough for 3rd (higher than she was ranked) and good enough to put her in 2nd on our all-time list. The girls 800m was another race that made this such a special state meet. Candace was definitely tired from the other 2 distance races, but she somehow she found some final motivation and ran with a lot of heart to lead from start to finish and get her first 800m state championship (she has finished 3rd twice before). Just as so many of our other seniors finished off their careers with some incredible performances, this was one of Candace's greatest races - she finished with a time of 2:16.12 - the 800 was a race she has struggled to learn all season long and she learned it at the right time. Making it even sweeter, her teammates - Jessie Wilding and Talya Kussee both ran 2 second prs (2:20) to finish 6th and 8th.
Candace came right back to anchor the medley relay team 30 minutes later. Missy Lott, Kelsey Datwyler, and Michelle Clouse did their part in getting Candace the baton in 3rd place not too far off the lead. Candace ran even faster in the medley (2:15.8) to take the lead and go on to win the race.
With just 2 events left, the chance to win the meet was slipping away from us, but we didn't ever back down. Dani and Brooke were both tired from running 7 races in the two days, but they ran their final races with a lot of heart to finish 5th and 8th in the 200. They gave everything they could over the 2 days and did a great job leading their TEAM.
We finished the meet with a near school record in the 4 x 400m - Rachel Jackson, Michelle Clouse, Brittany Sumsion, and Chelsea Jackson finished in 4th place with a 3:59.47 - less than half a second off the school record.
I am so proud of our TEAM and of the efforts they gave this entire season. It has been such a pleasure to be a part of this group who have come together to accomplish something great. This has been one of the most memorable seasons. I am sad to see it come to an end, but I am satisfied with what we have done.
Thanks to all those who have been a part of it. Thanks to the athletes for giving so much of their time and talents to help one another succeed. A special thanks to all the seniors - whether you gave us 4 years or just this 1 great year, it has been a great ride. I am really going to miss the class of 2009 - It is the rare type of group a coach dreams of getting. I will miss you.
Thanks to the parents who have volunteered and have shown support for their own kids and for others. A special thanks goes out to some of the parents - Dave King for getting some great video on that final day and for riding the bus down and back both days and for all the things that he does for our program. Steve Petty for taking thousands of pictures and spending so many hours on Saturdays to help us out and for always being more prepared than a boy scout for anything I might need. The Carlings, the Eddys, and the Gutzwillers for feeding me at the state meet and for making sure I was doing okay (especially for the 1 liter coke from Taylor's mom that kept me going on Saturday).
I also definitely want to thank all of the coaches for putting so much into the program. It takes a lot of dedication and a lot of love for the athletes - and we have an awesome coaching staff. Coach West really is the best coach the girls could have - she does so much for them and really is their example when it comes to putting her whole heart into something - I have learned so much from the love that she has for the sport and for the kids. She is going to be a great mom, isn't she? Clayton Wilson has done a tremendous job with our jumpers and with assisting me in anything I need. Coach Parrish has jumped right in and learned the sprints and motivated the athletes to be positive in any situation - he was so pumped with all the sprint prs we pulled off in the state meet. He expects a lot and he gives a lot. Jeff Agnello hasn't been able to give as much time as he would like, but he has done an awesome job with our vaulters, and we hope we somehow get him as a full time coach in the near future. Thanks as well to Brad Anderson for his support of our program - for the pictures he takes and for the advice he has for the athletes and for me (I am not even talking about his advice blog - but about the perspective and the intelligence that he has for track and field). Plus, he keeps us laughing so much.
I also have to put a huge thanks to my wife Stefanie in this email. She has done so much behind the scenes to help me be the coach and person I am. She is patient with me, she listens to all my stories and all my struggles, and I love her a ton. I hate to forget people - but I also should thank Corine Barney and Tracey Meade for being our greatest fans, Seth Frischknecht for figuring out everything I needed him to all weekend, and our school administration for being so supportive and excited for us. And I will forever be greatful to Coach Buhrley for the help and advice he still gives me and for building a program that makes me look like an all right coach.
Thanks to you all for everything you do.
We have some things still coming up, and I will be getting more information out throughout the week:
Monday 18th - no practice, no meeting - you can still come by and say "hi" and look at the trophy.
Tuesday 19th - Track Class - we will be going over some important season ending dates and items
Wednesday 20th - Final TEAM pictures - 2:45 pm (with trophies) and uniform turn in (you will be getting school fines if we don't get your uniforms) - some of you have more than 1 uniform.
Thursday 28th - TEAM Barbecue and awards banquet - at the track at 6:00 pm. This will be just for the athletes - sure to be a great party.
Tuesday June 2nd - Cross Country TEAM Meeting - in room 2512 (my room) at 3:15 - to give the freshmen and 8th graders a chance to get there. Spread the word - it looks to be another outstanding TEAM. We are hoping to get a ton of new 8th and 9th graders, but we need everyone's help in recruiting.
*State championship t-shirts for the boys - will be $10. If you would like to order one, pay in the office this week and bring me your receipt. There will be something on their about 3 time state champions - and a quote by Brad Anderson "Winning doesn't get as old as you might think" as well as the names of all the TEAM members.
*State championship rings - will be around $150. We will be meeting with the ring guy in the next week or so - I will get you the information about when. Let me know if you think you would like to order a ring.