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Sugar House Journal

Highland girls produce top-10 finish at state

Jun 18, 2018 16h31 ● By Josh Mc Fadden

L to R: Misini Fifita, Annie Murdock, Lili Noa and Meg Boren each finished in the top 10 in their events at state.

By Josh McFadden | [email protected]

Heading into the state meet May 16 and 17 at Brigham Young University, Highland track and field head coach Gary Rowles was aiming to get his girls team in a top-five place. Though the team didn’t quite reach that goal, they weren’t far off, and Rowles was pleased with their performance.

The Rams placed eighth among all Class 5A teams, but they were just 2.5 points out of fifth place.

“I was extremely happy with our performance at state,” Rowles said. “I asked the athletes to make the state meet their best performances of the year rather than just being satisfied with being there, and for the most part, that's what they did.”

Sprinters Meg Boren, Annie Murdock and Amy Frank placed fifth, sixth and eighth, respectively, in the 100-meter event. Murdock and Boren also took fifth and sixth, respectively in the 200. In the 400, Murdock placed third and Boren was eighth. Murdock clocked in with the fifth-best time in the state this season, and she was just one-tenth of a second off the state record, which was set in 1993.

Rowles was also happy with the way the throwers on the girls team performed. They were on top of their game at region and did the same at state. Lili Ahoafi-Noa placed third in the javelin and fourth in the shot put. Misini Fifita placed third in the shot put and eighth in the discus. Freshman Liliena Fifita, Misini Fifita’s sister, also placed seventh in the shot put.

The girls 4x400 relay team also represented the team well at the state meet. Boren, Murdock, Karli Pruhs and Elizabeth Smith placed seventh, which rounded out the scoring for the girls. In addition, Rowles said Moira Hicks made it to the final in the 100-meter hurdles and would have placed had she not hit the final hurdle. Another 100-meter placer was Amy Frank, whose performance exceeded Rowles’ expectations.

The lone state placer on the boys’ side was Xavier Hutton, who was fifth in the 110-meter hurdles. Overall, Rowles couldn’t be more pleased with the season, not just how well the team performed but with the athletes’ commitment from start to finish.

“I’m certainly happy that our girls team accomplished their goal of winning region, but I’m just as happy that our boys did such a great job in placing second in regions. I’m also happy that so many of our athletes stuck it out throughout the season. We finished the season with 130 athletes who competed for us.”

More success could be in store for the Rams next season. The girls team will bring back Boren, Murdock and Frank, along with Hicks, Lila Fifita, Naina Maile and Olivia Manavahe. Rowles said distance runners Geneva Humbert, Roma Maloney, Emma Thomas and Madison White will also return and continue to improve.

On the boys’ side, Rowles is excited to have sprinters Jonah Gaye, Nick Pembroke, Lynn Aung and Ben Boren back for another year. Lingi Latu will return in the shot put and javelin, and jumpers Rex Graham and Ben Nielsen will return in the long and high jump. All of these athletes went to state this season. Distance runner Jacob Limburg leads a solid group in the 1600 and 3200. Simon Greffen will also return in the hurdles; the freshman placed at the region meet this past season.

With this solid group back in the program in 2019, Rowles is optimistic about Highland’s chances to compete at region and state once again. The Rams have excellent depth and a contingent of athletes who play other sports, which is something Rowles loves.

“We need to continue to encourage our Highland athletes to go out for more than one sport that they practice for twelve months,” he said. “Numerous studies continue to prove that multi-sport athletes suffer fewer sports injuries and have greater success in their primary sport if they cross-train in other sports. If we can continue to support that message and have the flexibility needed to accommodate the busy schedules that our student-athletes have, we believe we'll continue to be successful.”