There hasn’t been a lot of athletic success in recent years at Wendover High School, particularly when it comes to girls sports.
That all changed in 2017-18. The Wildcats’ volleyball team enjoyed a top-eight finish at the state tournament in the fall. The girls basketball team contended for a region championship and finished as a top-10 squad. And last weekend at the Class 1A state track and field meet at Brigham Young University, Wendover’s girls finished fifth.
All this success — and without any seniors on any of those teams.
“Even though not all the girls got on the podium, they all did fantastic,” said Kate Henderson, who coaches the Wildcats in all three sports. “I’m very proud of them. It’s pretty much all the same girls (in all three sports), and they’re all returning. It’s going to be a good year next year — I’m so excited.”
Henderson’s daughter, sophomore Alana Henderson, was a big part of Wendover’s success at the state track meet, as it is believed that she is the first Wildcat ever to medal in four events. She finished third in the 400-meter dash in 1 minute, 2.34 seconds, and was fifth in the 200 in 28.56. She ran the anchor leg of Wendover’s third-place 4×100-meter relay, teaming with freshmen Juliana Rojas and Verenice Garcia and junior Yulisa Castaneda for a school-record time of 53.85, and she ran the third leg for the third-place sprint medley relay team along with Rojas, Castaneda and junior Yanely Duenas as the Wildcats finished in 4:44.42 — shattering a 26-year-old school record.
Alana Henderson’s 400 time at state represented a five-second improvement from the beginning of the season.
“She works hard for it,” Kate Henderson said. “She goes to track camp at BYU and she also goes to their winter indoor track camp. Her goal is to get under a minute (in the 400).”
Duenas also had a strong meet, finishing fourth in the 3,200-meter run in a school-record time of 12:54.33. She also scored points for the Wildcats in the 1,600, finishing seventh in 6:04.24, in addition to a ninth-place finish in the 800 (2:44.39). Freshman Xochil Duenas was 10th in the 3,200 (14:29.74) and 15th in the 1,600 (6:40.99).
Wendover also enjoyed a strong meet in the throws. Junior Diana Solano finished fifth in the discus with a mark of 92 feet, 11 inches, and fellow junior Adriana Delgadillo was eighth in the discus (88-3 3/4) and shot put (30-9) to add valuable points to the Wildcats’ team total. Junior Tanya Duran just missed a top-8 finish in the shot put with a mark of 29-2.
“This is (Solano’s) first year throwing,” Kate Henderson said.
The Wildcats’ coach said Wendover’s success this school year is a reflection of how hard the girls have worked in all facets of their lives.
“The culture’s changing,” she said. “As a team, we have a very high GPA. We really stress academics — you’re a student first and an athlete second. Academics are important — more important than the basketball game or the 100-meter dash or whatever. Almost everybody on the team is involved in student government. They’re all super involved in everything. It’s really neat to see competent girls running the school and setting an example for the younger girls.
“People should look out for Wendover a little bit. The girls are getting so close. The girls are really eager to get over that last hump. We got over one big hump to even compete at state levels, and now we’ve got to get over the next hump to be in the top.”
Dugway sent two athletes to the Class 1A state meet to compete in three events. Junior Elsbeth Kruse finished 10th in the girls javelin with a mark of 79-0 for the Mustangs. She also finished 17th in the discus (49-2 1/2).
Dugway junior TJ Ramos competed in the boys discus, finishing 14th with a mark of 120-2 1/2.