HENDERSON – It looked like J.J. Ply’s winning streak in the 300-meter was going to come to an end in the early moments of his race.
After easily clearing the first hurdle, Ply’s timing got off between the hurdles, and he hit the second hurdle hard enough to make him stumble.
The misstep put Ply behind, but the Dayton High senior rallied in the final 60 meters to grab his first 300-hurdle championship Friday night at the NIAA State Meet at Foothill High School.
“The first hurdle was nice,” he said. “I hit the second one. I hit it bad with my toe. Fortunately I was able to recover. Other than that it was a good race for me.”
Ply, who ran a 39.67, said Nikolas Clater of Sunrise had some problems down the stretch, enabling him to surge ahead. Clater was timed in 40.28.
Ply goes for the hat trick today when he competes in his best two events – the high jump and 110 high hurdles. He leads the state 3A hurdlers and is tied for the lead in the high jump.
“I’m excited,” Ply said. “I’ve been working on my start all week. I feel like if I have that down … I feel like the high jump is going to be good competition. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
1A: Big day for Falcons, Hess
Sierra Lutheran had a big day with three individual state titles (pole vault, 3200, shot put) and a relay state title.
Jared Marchegger, after a disappointing fifth-place finish in the 800, came back and defended his 3200 state title with a time of 10:04.
Whittell’s Cole Snyder took the lead from the outset, as Marchegger and teammate Ricky McNeely were fifth and seventh, respectively, in the early going. Little by little the Sierra Lutheran duo started to gain some ground, and during the fifth lap Marchegger made a big move and took the lead for good. He and McNeely went 1-2 in the race, while Snyder slipped all the way back to fifth.
“I wasn’t alarmed,” Marchegger said. “My strategy is to hang back and let the people that go out in front get tired.
“I wanted to be sub-5 minutes in the first mile and I didn’t do that, so I knew I had to pick it up. I don’t think about negative splits. I want to run more of an even race.”
Peyton Hedwall had a solid series, throwing 41-5, 42-8 3/4, 40-4, 43-11 and 42-7 to edge out Spring Mountain’s Arthur Foster, whose best was 43-7. The 43-11 for Hedwall was a PR.
Hedwall’s previous best was a 42-5, and he overcame some health issues during the week to grab his first-ever state title.
“It (the winning throw) felt good,” he said. “I worked a lot on getting faster through the ring.”
Cole Contreras, Tyrale Luken, Grant Goins and Jacob Rodriguez beat Spring Mountain by nearly two seconds in the 400 relay, clocking a 45.33, .10 ahead of last week’s qualifying time despite a handoff issue.
“The handoff (from me to Luken) was a little shaky,” Contreras said. “By the time it got to Grant (Goins) he picked it up.” Everybody on the quartet is a senior except for Goins.
Senior Steven Flanagan, who has been bothered by an assortment of injuries this year capped his career with a state title and a 10-9 jump that tied his best mark.
“It’s been a pretty good four years,” Flanagan said. “I don’t think I missed any meets, but I couldn’t go that high because of the injuries.”
Virginia City’s Colt Hess had a nice day, winning the 800 in 2:00.22 and then anchoring the Muckers’ 1600-meter relay team to a mark of 3:37.47. Other members of the team were Sam Strahan, Tristan McIntier and Evan Breckenridge.
Hess came within .22 of reaching his goal of a 2-minute 800. He pushed hard at the end, but came up just short.
McNeely was second in the 3200 and third in the 800. The Falcons also got a medal in the 1600 relay.
4A: Kyle second in pole vault
Logan Kyle’s started with a miss, and then he got hot.
The Douglas senior missed his opening vault at 13-feet and then reeled off three straight successful jumps before missing at 14-6 once and 14-9 twice en route to a second-place finish Friday night.
“I’m a little bit happy and a little bid sad,” Kyle said. I’m kind of sad to see it go.”
Kyle missed at 13-feet, and then made his opening height on his second attempt. He made 13-6 and 14-0 on his first attempts. It looked like he was going to win the event at 14-3, but Edward Andrews made it on his final attempt.
Kyle missed his first attempt at 14-6, but Andrews was successful. Kyle had the bar raised to 14-9, but the strategy backfired when he missed twice, both times hitting the bar with his chest on the way down.
“He didn’t quite have it today,” said his dad and coach Jason Kyle. “We had to raise to 14-9. We would have lost on fewer misses even if he’d cleared 14-6.”
Teammate Sean Wolfkiel was eighth in the triple jump, fouling on two of his three attempts.