Midweek meet lets all Miners shine
Once upon a time, Park City was scheduled to host a track meet for a handful of region schools on Wednesday, but high school renovations and a torn up track pushed the competition to neighboring Heber.
The change of venue was of no consequence to the Miners, who made the best of it by giving many of their younger runners a chance to compete and see how they stack up against some of their Region 10 competition.
According to Miners head boys coach Steve Crandall, the state invitational system, which acts as state championship qualifiers, doesn’t allow for many of the younger, less-experienced runners to compete, so the smaller meets offer a perfect opportunity for them to show off their talents.
"Many of the younger kids are not able to compete with people their own age," Crandall said.
Although the midweek meet was not scored, many of the Park City tracksters fared well. In the 800 meters, freshman Jessie Christjans, Elizabeth Guiney and Lindsey Gideon took the top three places and other Park City runners also finished strong.
"They’ve been improving all year, " said Miners head girls coach Bill Kahn.
In sprints, freshman Jake Knight ran well in the 100- and 400-meter dashes and also helped the boys medley relay win.
"He had one of his best times ever," Crandall said.
Crandall said running in a race with the older runners really helped inspire Knight to do his best.
"I think they really got him focused," Crandall said.
The smaller meets also allow the teams to compete in a more relaxed atmosphere.
"The kids have more fun," Crandall said. "It’s fun to see all the kids perform and more fun for the coaches less pressure."
Crandall says that these types of meets are good for team camaraderie as well.
"They realize that they’re part of the team," Crandall said.
Most of the top racers also competed. Crandall estimated that about 80 percent of the varsity team was present and used the meet as a good practice.
There are still a number of races in which the top athletes need to qualify. Among the boys, Crandall hopes to see the 4×400-meter relay team turn in a qualifying time over the weekend, and two sprinters, Nico Popez and Brian Kelly still need to qualify in the 200-meter race. The girls sprint team is still looking for an entry into 4×100 meter relay.
Kahn says that he would like to see the top underclassmen distance team girls qualify for the State in one of the few remaining meets, but fears that the ultra-competitiveness of Region 10 may lock them out. With Park City and Judge Memorial ranked one and two in cross-country in the St
ate there is little room for extra runners.
"If they were in any other region, they would qualify for State," Kahn said.
There will be two meets over the weekend where more Miners can qualify for State. The Kearns Invite, scheduled for Friday scores underclassmen and upperclassman separately, to allow the newer runners a chance to excel in a less competitive atmosphere. Saturday’s Brigham Young University (BYU) Invite is one of the bigger meets in the State and one where the Park City coaches hope to qualify lots of athletes in their quest to earn another 3A State title.
In the meantime, the Miners will continue to practice and prepare on their makeshift home track. The Miners can still use a part of their track, with about 300 meters still exposed allowing for partial use. According to Crandall, the adjustment is minor, although he hopes that it doesn’t mentally affect the kids. The track also becomes more important as the State competition nears and the coaches begin to fine-tune the performances of their top runners. Other strong teams, such as Judge, don’t even have a home track, so it is definitely a challenge that Park City can overcome.
The Miners will travel to the BYU Invite on Saturday, May 6. Competition starts at 8 a.m.
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