MILLVILLE — What’s already been a memorable season for Logan’s boys track & field program continues to get even better.
Despite missing two of their top athletes in Isaac Larsen and Brody McKinnon, the Grizzlies still had enough star power and depth to reign supreme at the Region 12 Championships, which concluded Thursday evening.
Logan received a pretty stiff test from Bear River and Sky View before claiming the title with 162.5 points. Bear River was second with 146 points, followed by Sky View (133), Green Canyon (76.5), Ridgeline (60) and Mountain Crest (34).
“Going into the meet, it was stressful,” Logan head coach Eric Strand said. “We knew we had a good team. We won two invitational meets this year, and this is the first team I’ve been a part of where we’ve won invitationals. So despite having two of our better kids, top performers out, we still pulled it out, so it does say a lot about how many good athletes we have. We have a lot of very good athletes this year and the end result was amazing.”
Indeed, Logan’s top performers did their part during the two-day meet. The Grizzlies had eight boys score 12 or more points.
Leading the charge for Logan was senior Damon Simmons, who didn’t start competing in the sport until this spring. Simmons is certainly making up for lost time as he has quickly developed into one of 4A’s elite sprinters and jumpers.
The senior captured gold medals in the 100- and 200-meter dashes Thursday, and was the runner-up to teammate Jaylen Sargent in the long jump. Simmons completed the 100 in 11.34 seconds and capped off his day with a huge personal record in the 200 (22.41). Simmons soared to a mark of 22 feet, 1 inch, in the long jump.
“It’s way fun,” said Simmons, who just started running the 200. “I’ve never done anything like this before, but just competing is so much fun. ... I’m happy. It’s so worth it, honestly. It’s been the best. I’ve really enjoyed this season.”
Simmons was edged by Sargent in a stacked long jump field. Sargent, who is only a sophomore, had an impressive leap of 22-1.5, while defending state champion Caleb Christensen of Sky View was the bronze medalist (21-5).
“Having this kind of competition, I really enjoy it because everyone’s pushing each other,” said Sargent, who went on to praise his coaches and Simmons for helping him improve. “You know, when you watch someone jump a 22 or a 21, it makes you think, ‘I want to get (a better mark) than that,’ and that’s what I strive to do.”
The Logan boys won seven of the 16 events at the meet. Two other Grizzlies were crowned champions on Day 2 of the competition as Alex Rasmussen bested the field in the 3,200 (10:00), as did fellow junior Bracken Taylor in the 400 (50.99). Nathan Orton, another Logan junior, was the silver medalist in the 400 (52.66).
It was also a good meet for Sky View, which captured all three gold medals in the throws. Collin Robison followed up his Wednesday title in the discus by easily beating all comers in the javelin (158-11). Fellow Bobcat senior James Reid completed the sweep with his lifetime best heave of 44-1 in the shot put.
“It means a lot to me,” Reid said of the sweep. “It means that we have some great coaches and that we take their advice pretty seriously. ... It feels pretty good to practice hard and then get it to pay off.”
Another Bobcat who fared well Thursday was Jonathan Hansen, who was the silver medalist in the 100 (11.40) and bronze medalist in the 200 (22.90). The senior ran season-best times in both races, to boot.
In one of the most thrilling races of the day, Ridgeline powered its way to a 1-2 showing in the 800. Senior Jonathan Cantwell ran a great tactical race and earned the right to stand on the top spot of the podium with his time of 2:02.21. Spencer Adams finished very strong to earn the silver medal (2:02.77).
“That’s awesome,” Cantwell said. “That was our goal was to go 1-2, so to do it is the best feeling. It’s the best feeling in the world right now. ... (Winning a region title) was my goal all year.”
Green Canyon’s Ethan Fullmer followed up his title in Wednesday’s 1,600 by finishing with the second-best time in Thursday’s 3,200 (10:07).
A handful of Cache Valley athletes won bronze medalist in an individual event. Those competitors were Green Canyon’s Josh Backlund in the 110 hurdles (16.32) and Jackson Monz in the 400 (54.05), Logan’s Isaac Hopkins in the shot put (42-8) and Ian Bressel in the 800 (2:02.79), Sky View’s Dax Smith in the 300 hurdles (41.61) and Ridgeline’s Quinten Wright in the 3,200 (10:10).
Sky View’s Tony Torres placed fourth in the 110 hurdles (16.57) and 300 hurdles (42.94). Other local athletes who finished fourth in an individual event — the top four placers in each event automatically qualified for the 4A State Championships — were SV’s Josh Aller (javelin, 138-9) and Kasen Strate (800, 2:03.31), Logan’s Bo Stearns (long jump, 20-9.5) and Green Canyon’s Branson Sharp (3,200, 10:17). With his mark, Stearns would have punched his ticket to state even if he didn’t secure a spot in the top four.