Deep track team starts year at Timpview
Last year at this time, Park City High School track coach Steve Crandall was complaining of a lack of numbers. Looks like someone heard his humble request.
This season, an astonishing 40 girls and 50 boys are competing with the "Miners" moniker emblazoned on their jerseys and track shorts.
Crandall says that many of these runners and field athletes are freshman and he is excited for the dividends that the newfound depth will bring this season and in years to come. It was also a welcome development, after losing many state championship quality athletes to graduation last year.
A large contingent of new team members are from the gridiron ranks. Upon promptings from head football coach Brandon Matich to increase strength and speed in the off-season, much of the Park City football team has come out to compete in field and sprint events.
"It’s a plus and it helps the boys so much mentally and physically," Crandall said. "It’s a good cross-training sport."
The new brood took the track for the first time this season in a dual meet at Timpview High School on Tuesday. Despite numerous cancellations of other prep sports, such as softball and soccer, Crandall says that both teams were treated to a dry track, clear skies and mild temperatures.
"It was nice," Crandall said. "We got everything in. It wasn’t cold or rainy."
It was a welcome change for the Miners who have been rotating between the Basin Recreation Field House and the high school’s limited portion of a snow-covered track for daily practices.
As it was the first race of the season, Crandall and co-coach Jeff Wyant weren’t particularly concerned with results and allowed the athletes to participate in the races they selected and to create their own relay teams. They also agreed with the Timpview team to record only times, in order to keep the first meet a fun and encouraging situation.
Crandall says that once again, this season should pit Park City and Judge against one another at the top of Region 10. With a new crop of large football players, Crandall is anxious to see what kind of ground Park City can gain in field events and is also looking for solid performances from his middle distance runners.
"They should be right up there in both boys and girls," Crandall said.
Middle distance specialist Brent Ryberg is returning this year and looks to challenge in the 400-meter dash, 800-meter race and the mile. Distance runners Andrew Archer and Prescott McCarthy have also been training in the off-season with Ryberg and should fare well in both the region and state ranks. Elli Reed will again return as a state-title contender in the middle distances.
With another meet scheduled against Spanish Fork on Tuesday, the Miners are hoping to be prepared for their first multi-team invitational over St. Patrick’s Day weekend.
"That’s when we’ll have to start putting specific teams together," Crandall said. "Hopefully everybody will still be excited and ready for that."
The Miners will head south to face Spanish Fork on Tuesday, March 13 at 3 p.m.
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