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It’s taken some time for West Side’s track & field program to find its mojo this spring, but both teams are starting to emerge as legitimate district championship contenders.

The 2A Pirates built on their strong performance at the Sky View Invitational by sweeping the titles at the nine-team Wendell Dairyman Invitational last Thursday. West Side outpointed four 3A programs in both competitions as the girls racked up 143.5 points to second-place Filer’s 120.5, while the boys amassed 144 points to runner-up Gooding’s 134.

“The team is really coming along,” WS head coach Tyson Moser said. “Several kids have been moved into different events to score points and it is really helping. We missed a lot of fundamentals early since we missed a year of track (due to COVID-19), but the kids have caught right up now.”

The Lady Pirates won six events and the boys four. The West Side girls were led by Ashlyn Willis, Aubrie Barzee and Letti Phillips, who finished first or second in both of their individual events, plus teamed up with Madalyn Barzee to prevail in the 4x400-meter relay with a time of 4 minutes, 26.89 seconds. Phillips, Marissa Clawson, Madalyn Barzee and Willis also joined forces to reign supreme in the medley relay (1:58.27).

Willis and Aubrie Barzee swept the top two spots in the 800 and 1,600. Willis was the gold medalist in the 800 (2:28.76), followed by Barzee (2:30.60). The roles were reversed in the 1,600, with Barzee capturing the title (5:31), followed by Willis (5:40).

Phillips was triumphant in the 100 hurdles (17.38) and was edged in the 300 hurdles by .05. She clocked in at 49:10. Madalyn Barzee beat all comers in the 400 (1:04.37) for the Lady Pirates, while teammate Chloe Keller was the silver medalist in the 100 hurdles (17.46).

Leading the charge for the West Side boys were Easton Henderson, Bryler Shurtliff, Hayden Robinson and Andrew Olinger. Henderson claimed the gold medal in the 300 hurdles (41.81) and the silver in the 110 hurdles (16.04), Shurtliff was the runner-up in the 100 (11.51) and 200 (23.31), Robinson placed second in the triple jump (40 feet, 1.25 inches) and third in the high jump (5-10), and Olinger was second in the discus (132-0) and fourth in the shot put (43-10).

Additionally, Shurtliff, Jaxon England, Parker Moser and Josh Reeder teamed up to win the 4x400 relay for the Pirates (3:35.41). Reeder also earned the right to stand on the top spot of the podium in the 400 (52.77), while England was the silver medalist in the 300 hurdles (43.91).

West Side’s Brentan Noreen was the bronze medalist in the 800 (2:07.44), while younger brother Braydn placed third in the 3,200 (10:54).

BINGHAM INVITE

All five Cache County programs were represented at the 25-plus-team Bingham Invitational, which was contested last Saturday. The host Miners accumulated the most points in both competitions, but had to hold off runner-up Green Canyon in the boys, 78-71. Logan tallied the fifth-highest point tally in the girls field with 48.

Five different Cache Valley athletes left South Jordan with event titles, plus the Green Canyon boys 4x400 relay squad emerged victorious. That quartet was comprised of McKade Hellstern, Carson Gerber, Jackson Monz and Tate Walker (3:32.14).

Logan’s Milly Garren continued her memorable season by besting her competition in the discus (134-10) and shot put (41-9.25), plus she was the bronze medalist in the javelin (111-2). Green Canyon swept the high jump titles as Cameron Kunz was the boys champion (6-3) and Jayden Beach the girls titleist (4-10).

Other local gold medalists were Mountain Crest’s Alisabeth Apedaile in the 100 hurdles (14.82), Sky View’s Kate Dickson in the 1,600 (5:18) and Ridgeline’s Spencer Adams in the 800 (1:57.01). Only one high school girl from the Beehive State, Delta’s Savannah Nielson, has posted a faster time in the 100 hurdles than Apedaile this spring, and Apedaile beat her this past weekend.

Logan’s Amber Kartchner was the silver medalist in the long jump (17-4.5), as was Green Canyon’s Hellstern in the 400 (52.26) and Monz in the 800 (1:59.97). Local athletes recorded three of the four fastest times in the boys 400. Kartchner also placed fifth in the high jump (4-8), and Apedaile was fifth in the long jump (16-4.5).

Logan’s Ty Stearns placed in the top seven in all three throws as he was fourth in the shot put (46-0.25), fifth in the javelin (134-8) and seventh in the discus (116-8).

In addition to Apedaile and Kartchner, other local competitors who finished in the top eight in a pair of individual events were Mountain Crest’s Katelyn Hardy and Paige Egbert, Green Canyon’s Courtney Hinds, Jalen Hinds, Sydney Edelmayer and Branson Sharp, Logan’s Kaylee McKinnon and Joshua Thomsen, and Ridgeline’s Savannah Perrett.

Hardy was third in the shot put (36-1.75) and seventh in the discus (88-5); Egbert was fifth in the shot put (32-4) and sixth in the discus (88-9); Courtney Hinds was sixth in the high jump (4-8) and seventh in the javelin (97-11); Jalen Hinds was sixth in the long jump (19-8) and tied for fifth in the high jump with Ridgeline’s Siem Abai (5-8); Edelmayer was fifth in the 100 hurdles (17.18) and seventh in the long jump (15-10); Sharp was fifth in the 1,600 (4:37) and third in the 3,200 (10:10); McKinnon was sixth in the javelin (101-1) and eighth in the discus (84-3.5); Thomsen was third in the 110 hurdles (17.15) and sixth in the 300 hurdles (43.94); Perrett was fifth in the javelin (106-1) and sixth in the shot put (32-2.5).

Other local girls who finished in the top eight individually were RHS’s Keslie Duersch (fourth in the 300 hurdles, 47.90), GC’s Paige Bagley (fifth, 300 hurdles, 48.45), GC’s Jane Rodriguez (eighth, javelin, 96-4), GC’s Katie Latvakoski (fifth, 3,200, 12:13) and RHS’s Alexis Patrick (sixth, 3,200, 12:23).

Other local boys who placed in the top eight in an individual event were SV’s Brevin Egbert (sixth, 110 hurdles, 17.69), GC’s Gerber (third, 400, 52.27), RHS’s Brock Parson (fourth, 400, 52.35), GC’s Walker (fourth, 300 hurdles, 43.48), LHS’s Hyrum Rosenlund (fourth, 200, 22.98), GC’s Mark Latvakoski (seventh, 3,200, 10:25), LHS’s JJ Sargent (third, long jump, 20-5.5), MC’s Preston Sadler (seventh, LJ, 19-6.25) and MC’s Avery Wells (eighth, discus, 116-7).

TIGER-GRIZZ INVITE

It was a memorable weekend for Preston’s Taite Priestley, who was selected as the most outstanding male athlete at one of Idaho’s most prestigious meets, the Tiger-Grizz Invitational. The two-day meet concluded Saturday in Idaho Falls. Priestley broke the meet record in the high jump by clearing the bar at 6-10 for the first time in his career.

Priestley, who accomplished this feat Friday, is only the second high school high jumper from the Gem State to clear 6-10 since 2011, according to athletic.net. The other is former Shelley star Ty Wright, whose personal record in high school was a 6-11. Priestley was tested by Madison’s Elijah Backstein, who was successful at 6-8.

Another Preston athlete who captured a gold medal was Taylor Romney in the 800 (2:22.31), while teammate Sam Jeppsen was the silver medalist in the 1,600 (4:25.10) and broke the school record to boot. Jeppsen also combined with Dawson Leffler, Edison Leffler and Garrett Hale to lower their own school record, plus place third in the 4x800 relay (8:13.01).

Preston’s Riley Ward finished in the top eight in the 1,600 (sixth, 5:27) and 800 (eighth, 2:29.31), while teammate Elly Jeppsen became the first local girl this season to complete the 400 in less than one minute. Jeppsen was the silver medalist in the freshman 400 field with her time of 59.98.

Other Preston athletes who scored team points were Cole Harris in the 400 (seventh, 52.81), Brecker Knapp in the 300 hurdles (sixth, 43.37), Benson Palmer in the pole vault (eighth, 12-6), Russell Kunz in the triple jump (sixth, 40-1.25), Angelie Scott in the 3,200 (fifth, 11:55) and Mickayla Robertson in the 300 hurdles (seventh, 50.72).

Additionally, Scott was the freshman girls champ in the 1,600 (5:29). The Indians had three girls finish in the top five in that race.

Jason Turner is a sports reporter for The Herald Journal. He can be reached at jturner@hjnews.com or 435-792-7237.

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