Provo High’s Meghan Hunter wins Gatorade Utah Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year award

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Provo's Meghan Hunter smiles on the podium after taking 1st in the 5A Girls' 800 Meter at the 2018 Utah UHSAA State Track and Field Championships at Clarence Robison Track on the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo, Thursday, May 17, 2018.

Meghan Hunter was in the throes of a flag football game last October when it happened. A girl on the opposing team tried to take Hunter’s flag and the two took a tumble to the ground. Hunter, a girls track and field athlete at Provo High, landed awkwardly and suffered a torn PCL as a result.

It wasn’t until April that Hunter felt comfortable competing again. But that was just enough time to lead her team to a 5A state championship as a team and win four individual titles as well. On Thursday, she received another accolade when she was named the Gatorade Utah Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year for the second straight season.

“This year, my season didn’t go quite as planned because I injured my knee earlier in the year,” Hunter told The Salt Lake Tribune, adding that her PCL tear did not require surgery. “So to be able to do that [with the award] again was pretty exciting.”

Hunter won the 100-meter, 200-meter and 400-meter races at the state track and field championships last month at Brigham Young University. She was also on Provo’s 4x400 relay team that won a 5A title. As a team, the Bulldogs edged the Farmington High girls by just half a point.

Hunter will attend BYU in the fall and compete in track and field there, she said.

“She is a unique athlete in her humility, kindness and approachability, but once she gets into her blocks she is a fearless athlete, with a hate-to-lose mentality,” Provo coach Mitchell Briggs told The Tribune via email. “Her legacy will be remembered in the state for her records, but at Provo it will be for her hard work at practice, her example of a well-rounded student and her leadership over four years to lead the program to a state title.”

Hunter said winning the state championship was the highlight of her senior season. Due to the injury, her times weren’t what she expected and she was not able to earn any personal bests this year, she said.

Hunter said she was a bit surprised she won the Gatorade award this year.

“I felt like I definitely had a shot at it,” Hunter said. “But it didn’t feel guaranteed at all. I wasn’t for sure if I would win it or not.”

Briggs said Hunter’s performances this season directly led to a Provo title in 5A.

“Her impact is a major reason that her team was able to win a team track state title,” Briggs said. “Her ultimate goal this season was to win a team title and it was the greatest moment for her and for the program in decades.”