North Summit runner continues family tradition but creates his own identity
June 6, 2007
Jordan Snyder isn’t the first in his family to graduate from North Summit High School, nor will he be the last. The fourth of eight children to pass through the school system, he gave teachers déjà vu from the day he started kindergarten and left with enough siblings coming up to replace his memory.
But the middle Snyder wasn’t about to graduate without leaving his own, distinctive mark. Although he continued a family tradition of distance running, picking up the baton as a freshman from his older brother and handing it a younger brother as he left, Snyder carved a unique spot among North Summit students, and the Snyder clan, with his achievements.
His mother, Kristy, keeps an island in the kitchen with her children’s running hardware. Jordan’s plaques, medals and trophies cover a good portion of the surface, outlining success in invitational meets, regional races and state championships.
"He’s won 13 medals from state track and cross-country meets alone," she counted in a phone interview on Sunday, where Jordan was also present. "Three of those are for first-place."
The state’s class 2A track coaches named him Male Athlete of the Year for his consistent victories in the regular season and outstanding finishes at tournament races. This year he battled an injury at the state meet to place second in the 1600-meter race and fifth at 3200 meters before struggling to complete the 800. He also carried the sprint medley relay team from sixth to second place before the Braves were disqualified on a lane violation.
"It wasn’t his best meet," Kristy Snyder said. "But hurt as he was, getting through four events was an achievement in itself."
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In the fall, Snyder narrowly missed the individual cross-country championship, dueling to a photo finish after five kilometers. His best time of 15:03 is one of the fastest in school history.
Of all his accolades, Snyder says he is most proud of earning a spot at the Davis Gold Watch Invite, a meet showcasing the top 10 athletes in each event regardless of division. Snyder’s personal records of 4:26 and 9:48 in the 1600- and 3200-meter races, respectively, would have placed him among the top four in any division at this year’s meet.
Snyder is equally proud of his academic success.
"I’ve been lucky enough to like school, particularly math," he said. His 3.96 GPA earned him Academic All-State honors in cross-country and track, and he graduated a few credits shy of earning an associate’s degree with his high school diploma. The faculty also awarded him the General Sterling Scholar award for his well-rounded ability across many subjects.
Snyder will continue running at Utah State University next year where he plans to study engineering. The levelheaded athlete expects to work hard to keep up with his future teammates.
"They’re a bunch of very fast guys," he said. "I just hope to hang on and work to improve."