Park City track team takes fourth
Come next season, Park City High School track team coaches Jeff Wyant and Mike Hahn will be on the lookout for a few good field athletes. After a season where snow prohibited them from practicing field events in the rightful place and where numbers were low in the recruitment of field athletes, they knew that they would need a better situation next year. But the point was driven home this weekend at the Utah High School 3A State Track and Field Championships at Brigham Young University, where the Miners’ boys combined for a strong fourth-place finish. The year might have been knocking on the door of a championship if the team had a few more jumpers and throwers.
"We have not been concerned about a team score because of lack of field events," Wyant said. "To end up fourth with just a handful of guys was pretty good."
But take nothing away from this year’s team, who turned in state-title performances, personal best runs and a number of close finishes.
In the boys’ 100-meter dash, sophomore Erik Walker found himself running in a race he had been in before with Region 10 foe Cyler Morgan of Uintah. Morgan barely squeezed Walker out, as he had in region competition, but Walker took his second-place finish in stride.
"I wanted to beat him, but I’m a sophomore. He’s a senior," Walker said.
Walker was able to capture a state title in a different race the medley relay, and his team took third in the 4×100-meter race.
The big win of the day, though, belonged to Brent Ryberg in the 800-meter race. In the same race last year, Ryberg barely lost after projections had him winning the state title in the event for most of the season. The loss weighed on Ryberg through the summer and even into the prep cross-country season and gave him renewed focus and determination to capture the title this time around. Ryberg ran the race like a champion, never letting any of the runners pass him, including Oregon-bound distance star Luke Puskedra of Judge. Ryberg won with a time of one minute and 55 seconds.
"I didn’t want to take any chances by falling behind," Ryberg said. "Coming down the straightaway, I had a lot of flashbacks of what happened last year. I didn’t want that to happen. It feels really good that I finally got it."
Ryberg ran an even faster 800-meter race in the medley relay where he turned in a 1:53.89 time after running down a competitor from Cedar.
"It’s great to see him get his redemption," Wyant said.
Wyant was also pleased with the performances of Kenny Holt and Cameron Edwards who came in seventh and eighth place at just over two minutes.
"These guys are juniors. To see two people coming in at that time and knowing they’re coming back next year is huge," Wyant said.
Park City fared well in other races. In the mile, Holt and Edwards finished in sixth and seventh respectively. Carson Fugal took second in the 3,200-meter race.
"That was a huge step up for those guys," Wyant said.
The Park City girls, who finished in eighth place, were more focused on gaining experience at the state meet. According to Hahn, the team is heavy with underclassmen that are not as used to running against the state’s best. He said that his entire team performed well, but is even more excited to see how they will apply their learning experiences next year.
"I think my goal is to expose them, so they can have success in years to come," Hahn said.
As usual, the Miners’ received solid performances from the middle distance runners.
There are four or five of them that are very close in they run and close as a unit," Hahn said. "They push each other and bring out the best in each other."
Gillian Gorelik led the squad, taking fifth in the mile and fifth in the two-mile race.
"She’s done great," Hahn said. "She dropped seven, eight seconds from her best two-mile."
Gorelik said that her results have helped her renew her goals for next season.
"I’m going to train really hard this summer," Gorelik said.
The Christian Center of Park City had a makeover last year, and its boutique felt it was time for one, too.