Racing from Region to State
The Region 10 Track and Field Championships at Taylorsville High School this week was full of mistakes, bad starts and problems.
Luckily, most of them involved the timing equipment.
Despite a lots of miscues, the Park City Miners managed to run, jump and throw themselves into a respectable second-place finish, trailing Judge Memorial. With perhaps two of the best track teams in class 3A, the Miners prepared for a tough meet.
Once technical difficulties were solved, the Miners opened the region finals with a first-place finish by Lindsey Jacobsen in the 100-meter hurdles, who will likely challenge for the state crown in the same race next week. Neko Papez followed, taking second in the boys 110-meter hurdles, losing to speedster Alex Price of Judge.
A few races later, things went askew again. Park City made a double statement in the boys 4×100 relay by winning twice, after a lane mix-up forced a re-run of the race.
"I was definitely pleased by the boys 4×100-meter," assistant track coach Jeff Schwalbe said. "There was no question that those guys can run two times in a row and win it."
Jacobsen returned for another strong race in the 300-meter hurdles, easily beating both her competitors and her own personal best time, despite tripping when the girl next to her hit a hurdle.
According to the Park City coaches, Jacobsen only has Emery’s Camille Fehlberg standing in her way to win the 300-meter event. The two competed in last weekend’s Brigham Young University (BYU) Invite, but not in the same heat. Jacobsen raced against Fehlberg at an early season invitational at Timpview, and was unable to catch her for the win. Schwalbe said Jacobsen may have a chance at winning next week if Fehlberg doesn’t run her best race.
"This year is different, because Lindsey wants to win this race and is going after it," Schwalbe said. "She’s ready enough that if something happens to Camille, she can catch her."
Success continued for the Miners in the 800 meters with a win by Steven Ryberg, a favorite to finish well in many races at the state meet. Ryberg has already shattered numerous sophomore records, including those set by Brad Osguthorpe, now a Big Sky Conference champion runner at Weber State University.
Perhaps the most surprising performance of the meet came from the small, yet swift Elli Reed, a perennial cross-country powerhouse, who shocked the field with a second place in the 200-meter sprint.
In the field events, Andy ers took sixth in the javelin throw, a respectable finish, but not high enough to make the trip to BYU next weekend. That leaves Marybeth Cannon in the high jump as the lone representative for Park City in field events at State.
The meet also marked the last opportunity for Park City to qualify runners for the 3A State Championships, which will be held at BYU next weekend. Runners may qualify for the state meet by beating a set time or finishing in the top four. The Miners entered the meet needing only to qualify a 4×400-meter boys relay team and sprinters Hanna Terry and Abby Hughes in the 400-meter. The girls qualified by time and by finish respectively, and the boys wrapped up the meet by taking second in the relay.
The lack of experienced field athletes hurt the Miners in the region meet and may also be a problem at State. Judge boasts state standout Colin Boevers, who should win in both discus and shotput next week.
"It will be hard to compete with Judge without field events," lamented Miners boys head coach Steve Crandall.
With no field qualifiers, only the Park City girls may have enough manpower to make a run for the state title. Region meets, because they are smaller, are won by having deep teams that earn points with third, fourth and fifth places. The Miners girls team was without some of the fastest athletes due to injuries and other commitments, but the Park City coaching staff is expecting all of them to show up next Saturday.
At the state meet, a large number of first-place finishers gives a team a legitimate shot for the championship trophy. With only one or two possible first-place finishers on the boys team, the Miners’ chances are precarious.
"Those guys aren’t going to take a lot of firsts, so it will be tougher for them," Park City girls head coach Bill Kahn said.
The girls, who are the defending 3A champions, have a much better possibility. According to Schwalbe, if Park City has complete participation from all the girls who qualified for the state meet, they are still in the title hunt. The Miners have strong sprinters and the some of the top distance runners in the state, who will likely turn in strong finishes, garnering points for the Miners. With the two best long-distance teams in the state, Kahn was also able to make an agreement with Judge to rest their top distance runners in the final regular-season meets to allow talented underclassmen, such as Elizabeth Guiney and Jessie Kristjans, an opportunity to qualify for state as well.
"I was happy to see they got in," Kahn said.
Besides Judge, Kahn is also expecting Pine View and Hurricane to perform well in the state finals.
According to Crandall, the week will be spent strategizing. They will also as work out any last minute details that will help the Miners turn in peak, first-place quality performances.
"Your fourth and fifths don’t matter at State," Kahn said.
The Miners will compete at the 3A State Track and Field Championships next Friday and Saturday, May 19-20, at BYU beginning at 7 a.m.
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