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STATE BOYS: Valley edges Reno, Chaparral for title

Call it parity, call it a dilution of talent, or call it an explosion of growth in Class 4A, but whatever it is, it translates into a team state championship with the lowest score ever.

Never before has a team won the 4A state meet with fewer than 50 points. This year it took only 47 points as Valley’s boys edged

Reno by three points and Chaparral by four to win.

Vikings boys coach Mark Salzman still was in a mild state of shock after the final results were announced.

“We figured the most possible points we could score was 37,” Salzman said. “I had poured over those heat sheets. Everything fell right; everyone came through.”

Garic Wharton’s second-place finish in the 200-meter dash, beating out Chaparral’s Joeal Hotchkins by one hundredth of a second, clinched the meet for Valley. Shaun Murray of Liberty won the 200 in a time of 21.24 seconds.

“The kids fed off one another,” Salzman said. “It was so fun for them. There were so many heroes for us.

“Solomon Belay came through big for us in the 3,200. Alex Collings is a first-year runner; he took third in the 1,600. And, of course, Garic is a special athlete.

After Chaparral set a new state record by winning the 800 relay in a time of 1:26.36, things were looking good for the Cowboys.

If form held, they would pick up double-digit points in the long jump with Hotchkins and Malcolm McMurray and add another eight to 10 points in the 200.

It didn’t happen. Courtney Gardner of Hug, seeded fourth, went nearly a foot over his previous best and won the long jump with a leap of 23 feet, 5½ inches.

Hotchkins, who was second after the first round of jumps, had to interrupt his jumps to run the 200. He had two final attempts to overtake Gardner, but with tired legs from his 200 he had to settle for second place.

McMurray added three points with a sixth-place finish, but it wasn’t enough. The meet belonged to Valley.

Northern runners dominated Day 2 of the meet by winning six of the nine contested events.

Cheyenne’s Marcus Sullivan won the 400 in 47.92.

Faith Lutheran upset Boulder City by a half-point to win the 3A championship by a score of 95-94½. Dayton was a close third with 90 points.

Right of Passage claimed the 2A championship over Calvary Chapel  by a score of 151-112.

Spring Mountain won the 1A championship with 166 points. Sierra Lutheran was runner-up with 135½.
 

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