Cold day T BYU Invite slows team |

Cold day T BYU Invite slows team

Adia Waldburger, of the Record staff

The state’s biggest invitational track meet also proved to be one of the coldest as prep athletes from around the state gathered in Provo for the Brigham Young University (BYU) Invitational Track Meet this weekend. Although the tracksters were spared from rain or snow, they were met with a wind that slowed most of them by two seconds or more.

"The cold held people back," said Park City track coach Steve Crandall. "It was 40 degrees all day."

Many runners complained that on the backstretch, the wind gusts were so strong and cold that it felt like they were being pushed backwards. Cameron Edwards, a miler for the Miners, was even disqualified when a wind blast knocked him a bit and he stepped on the out-of-bounds line.

Crandall still felt that the meet was very valuable as it allowed the Miners to see many of the southern 3A teams that they would not otherwise see before the state finals.

"It gives you a chance to see everyone else," Crandall said. "We don’t get to see, much less compete against the kids in the south."

And even with slower finishes, Crandall says that his team could still compare times despite conditions, because everyone was up against the same problem.

With less than two weeks before the state meet, the Miners are very aware of where they are and where they hope to be at the finals. Crandall said that the team is on the right track, but they will need to work hard in the next week or so.

"I think we’re going in the right way," Crandall said. "We’re working hard and in good shape It’s really a good gauge for the state meet."

Well, everyone is in good shape except for Prescott McCarthy. The 3A state runner-up in cross-country will compete for the first time in months at next week’s Region 10 Championships after suffering an eye-socket injury at the Park City skate park. Without a season’s worth of training and preparation behind him, Crandall wonders how the senior will perform in long distance races.

We hope to have him back, but we don’t know if he’ll be back where he was at," Crandall said.

Things look brighter in the middle distance races where Elizabeth Guiney and Elli Reed look to place well for the Miners at both region and state.

Top-ranked 800-meter runner Brent Ryberg continues to dominate in 3A. He fell short of beating 5A Mountain Crest’s Justin Hedin who won with a rime of one minute and 55.67 seconds with a second place time of 1:56.77, but said that had conditions been different, he could made a play for first-place.

"I wanted a new personal record, but with the wind, there was no way," Ryberg said.

He called the entire experience a wake-up call before the season’s end.

"I think I’m there, but I wish I were more ready," Ryberg said.

"It [the BYU Invite] always tells you it’s time to get going," Crandall added.

Ryberg had already been asked to compete in larger regional meets, so every meet he hopes to improve.

With a back-to-back 800-meter race and medley relay, Ryberg struggled in the second. Crandall said that in state finals the two races will be stretched over two days, saving the legs of one of Park City strongest contenders.

"That will take the stress off," Crandall said.

One of the Miners’ other marquee members, Jared Purcell, continued to shine in the 110-meter high hurdles at the BYU Invite, finishing tenth with a time of 15.18. Purcell is currently ranked second in the state in that event in 3A and third in the 300-meter hurdles, but chose not to run the second event, in order to save his legs for region and state.

"He could be our biggest scorer," Crandall said.

He added that the Miners’ sprinting squad should be at full-strength by the state championships as well.

Where Crandall hopes to round out the roster before state, is on the field. Over the weekend, Lucas Tucker and Nick Ritter competed in the throwing events and Lauren Deane competed in high jump. At the Region 10 meet, Crandall is looking to qualify four people in each event either by place or by distance.

The Miners have been running in mid-week meets all season long against their Region 10 competitors, so the focus in training and practice will be on state. In a system where the state crown goes to the team with the most points, Crandall says that it will depend on the event and who the Miners will need to beat in order to place. He is confident that some of the Miners will walk away with individual titles, but it will take a total team effort to recapture the championship that the Miners had in their hands two years ago.

Park City will compete in the Region 10 Championships on Wednesday and Thursday at Morgan High School at 3 p.m.

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