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Miners’ track goes the distance

With Cedar lurking a close second in the overall team standings last Saturday at Brigham Young University, Park City High School track head coach Jeff Wyant said he wanted his distance girls to take the proverbial "last shot" by scoring a big finish in the 800 meters.

The result was a swish.

"That was really the defining moment of the meet," said Wyant, who had done the quick math and told his five distance stars that beating Cedar in the 800 would assure them their first state title since 2005. It would be no easy task – Cedar featured the No. 1- and No. 3-ranked runners in the state – but Wyant thought it was there for the taking.

"There’s nobody I’d rather have determining the outcome than the five that got us here," Wyant said. "I told them, if nothing else, make them hurt."

Senior Ali Williams, bound for the University of Hawaii next season, took up her coach’s charge. Williams raced out to a 10-yard lead at the first 200 meters, then a 20-yard lead at the 400 mark – holding the ambitious pace to break the Cedar runners’ wills.

"She took them out," Wyant said. "She demoralized them, and then our other girls picked up the scraps. She must have had the most painful final 200 meters she’s ever run in her life, but it was the moment where we won the meet."

Senior teammate Gillian Gorelik raced into first with a personal best 2:19.89 -completing a sweep of the three individual distance events – while Williams gritted her teeth to hold onto third. The Miners wound up with 105 points to Cedar’s 81, as the distance group turned in a performance that won’t soon be forgotten at the Class 3A level.

Meanwhile, the boys’ team was seventh overall with 42 points, and Erik Walker defended his state 100 meters championship to become the Miners’ only repeat champion. Hurricane claimed the boys’ 3A state title.

Gorelik kicked things off on Friday, May 14, with an early-morning win in the 1600 meters under gloomy storm clouds and a light drizzle. Freshman sensation Emily Schmitt was second, five seconds back, while sophomore Rebecca Cunningham took fourth, Williams fifth, and sophomore McKenzie Snyder sixth.

"Any one of those five would be the number one runner on any other team," Wyant said. "It’s kind of the beauty of the team, but it’s also a hindrance to their own individual notoriety."

Freshman Megan Glasmann took fourth in the javelin, while senior Carson Fugal did likewise in the 1600 on the first day. Junior Connor Gideon was sixth and sophomore Brandon Magie eighth in the 1600 final, while the PCHS boys also landed fourth in the medley relay.

Gorelik, trying to score the most points for the girls’ team by enduring a breakneck schedule, ran in the 400 meters and placed eighth.

The girls rocket-boosted their day one points lead in the 3200 on Saturday morning, with Gorelik taking first in 11:30.86, Cunningham setting the early pace and then nipping at Gorelik’s heels in second (.17 back), Williams in third, Snyder fourth, and Schmitt rounding out the top five.

"Nobody’s ever been able to score in the top five places like that," Wyant said. "I was happy in the mile when we just got five of the top six."

Junior Lisa Palomaki finished fourth in the 300 hurdles for PCHS after clipping the last hurdle to fall out of third, while Glasmann’s throw of 105-04.5 was good for seventh in discus.

"That’s refreshing to have points coming in from the field events," Wyant said. "We haven’t had that in a while. That gives us hope that we could repeat something like this."

For any other coaches interested in mirroring the Miners’ girls’ success, Wyant offered up his recipe card.

"It’s a freshman thrower scoring, it’s a hurdler with all the guts in the world, and it’s five of the meanest, most vicious, most tenacious 105-pound girls you’ve ever seen in your life."

Walker highlighted the boys’ performance with his title-defending 11.21 in the 100 meters, staying ahead of a tight final heat that saw PCHS junior teammate Chad Wing finish just .3 back and take eighth.

"Erik had a great sprint finish to his career," Wyant said, adding that it was tough for the Weber State football recruit to endure both bulking up for football and the variable elements of the spring season.

Fugal took third in the 3200, Walker added a fourth in the 200, and the boys’ 4×100 relay team lost a thriller to Hurricane by three hundredths of a second.


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