Parkites navigate nationals
As the first graduates of Park City High School to compete in the NCAA collegiate track finals, Chelsea Shapard and Brad Osguthorpe made their mark in Miners history before they even arrived at Sacramento State University last week.
After stellar seasons for both athletes, including school records and conference championships for each, simply attending the event was icing on the cake. So when they finished somewhat near the back of the pack, neither felt terribly disappointed.
"It was everything it was supposed to be," said the Weber State University senior. "It was really an amazing experience to get to compete against such good athletes."
Osguthorpe, who entered the 800-meter race ranked 25th of 26 competitors, finished 24th with a time of 1:51.04 after suffering from a sinus infection a week before the race. He was still on antibiotics when he took the line for the preliminaries June 7.
"I was in it for the first 600 meters, but you could definitely tell in the last 200 that I just didn’t have the extra gear that day. It was just one of those things you can’t control."
Now that his days on a team, first as a Miner and then as Wildcat are done, the mid-distance runner plans to focus on becoming sponsored as in independent athlete in the 1500-meter race.
"It’s a bittersweet feeling, knowing this is it for being on a team. But I’m excited to start a new chapter."
Osguthorpe will take a couple weeks off to regroup, but he isn’t about to give up his competitive mentality.
"No burgers," he said. "I still have to watch the figure."
Shapard, however, will be thinking of anything but track after ending her season at the 400-meter hurdle preliminaries June 7.
With three weeks off to recover from a near-stress fracture in her shin, "I’m going to be lazy," she said. The University of Utah sophomore entered the race having suffered from shin pain for nearly a month.
"I didn’t run at all the week before racing," she said. "My legs actually felt great, but I’m not so sure my lungs were ready," she said.
Still, the rookie was happy with the outcome. Although her time of 59.49 was more than a second off her best, she finished 18th in the field of 27, just two spots out of advancing to the semi-finals. And with two years to improve, Shapard is taking this year as a learning experience.
"Now that I know what to expect, hopefully I’ll come back healthy and can advance next year," she said.
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