Weber’s Eden DeVries drew motivation from slip-ups to win hurdles title, break Utah state record
Eden DeVries first remembers jumping over a hurdle as a seventh-grader on the field at Orion Junior High School in Harrisville a few years ago.
The track and field coaches there were figuring out who would do which event. DeVries, in her words, wanted to look cool in front of other kids.
“‘Oh, I’m gonna jump over this and look cool,’ so I remember doing it and one of the coaches was like, ‘You should just do it,’ so I ran it one time and was like, that’s kinda fun,” DeVries said in an interview last week.
What started out as a “watch this” moment has now turned into a spot in Utah’s high school track and field record book, and a spot on a college track team.
DeVries, who recently graduated from Weber High School, broke a 40-year-old state record by clocking a 14.03-second time in the girls 100-meter hurdles at the state track and field meet earlier this month.
“Crossing the finish line and looking up at the time to see if I got that time, looking over at my family and they were jumping up and down, and I looked back and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I did get it.’ I was just so ecstatic,” she said.
The record was icing on the cake for DeVries, a Weber State signee, who won her first state title in the 6A 100 hurdles after two previous attempts went wayward.
As a sophomore, DeVries qualified for the 6A hurdles final with the No. 3 time, 15.59 seconds. She false-started in the final and was disqualified.
As a junior, DeVries had the fastest 6A qualifying time at 14.95 seconds. In the state hurdles final, she hit multiple hurdles and took third place.
DeVries took her senior season very seriously as a result, worked hard at practice, credited her coaches for helping her get to a state-title time and drew additional motivation to improve her times from a desire to have college track and field in her future.
At this year’s state meet at BYU, she came in as the fastest hurdler in the state. DeVries ran a blistering 14.24 in qualifying and 14.03 in the final (officially 14.033).
“Yeah, it definitely felt really good to win state but … the mentality that I went into it with was whatever happens, happens. And I’ve had a great season regardless,” she said.
DeVries was nervous about false-starting at trials and finals. Lately, she’s noticed if one sits and keeps to themselves before a race, one gets more nervous.
She set out this season to crack jokes at the starting blocks and lighten the mood before races, even if she was nervous about the prospect of running a race that has such consequentially fine margins.
“You’re nervous, but it feels so good, like especially after — and you just feel so accomplished with yourself,” DeVries said.
As a junior, DeVries’ hurdles times began consistently cracking the 15-second mark — her season record as a junior was 14.81 — which started the college track conversation.
She envisioned going to college for basketball or lacrosse, two sports she played growing up, but not track and field, especially because she started doing it for fun.
The UHSAA record book for girls track and field lists two additional hurdles times that are faster than 14.03 seconds: 13.90 by Ogden’s Jeanine Wimberly in 1986 and 14.01 by Pine View’s Tiffany Lott in 1992.
For unspecified reasons, both times are designated as “not official state records,” hence DeVries’ 14.03 being the recognized record.
But even her 14.03 wasn’t perfect. DeVries subtly clipped a hurdle in the final and only knows that because she has a mark on her left knee.
“I don’t know which hurdle it was, but there’s still a mark on my leg so I know we hit one,” DeVries said.
Connect with reporter Patrick Carr via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter @patrickcarr_ and Instagram @standardexaminersports.