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Sun and success shine at Taylorsville

Adia Waldburger, of the Record staff

With just a few weeks left in the season for the Park City High School track team, it has become a numbers game.

Number of meets left in the season, number of athletes running in meets and number of athletes who still need to qualify for the state championships.

According to assistant Miners track coach and head hurdles coach Jeff Schwalbe, the year has been a bit of a challenge. Talent-wise, the Miners are poised to contest state powerhouse Judge Memorial in both Region 10 and at the state meet, but attendance, construction and weather has put a damper on their output.

"We’re battling against everything, including the weather," Schwalbe said.

This weekend at the Taylorsville Invite, the Miners were able to overcome a lot of their problems. With a day full of sunshine and a large bulk of their team present at the meet, Park City had what Schwalbe felt was a very encouraging day.

The girls medley relay team qualified for state. Hurdling phenom Lindsey Jacobsen, who already qualified for both the 100-meter and the 300-meter hurdles at state, finished third in both races. The wins came against competition from every level 1A to 5A — in the state.

"It was a pretty high-level meet," Schwalbe said.

In the 800-meter race, sophomore Brent Ryberg, running the race for just the third time this season, finished in two minutes and two seconds, coming close to state qualification. He is also close to qualification in the 400-meter sprint as well.

In the field events, Andy ers had his strongest meet of the year, coming close to qualifying in the javelin. Lucas Tucker and Nick Vought also threw well. In the discus, field coach Brandon Matich said Nick Ritter needs to polish himself a bit more and he can make it to the state meet.

"He’s got the ability, he just needs to be more consistent," Matich said.

Prescott McCarthy is close to qualifying in the distance races and Elli Reed will likely qualify if she can make it to the next few meets.

Schwalbe says that getting their top runners and throwers to the meets has been difficult. More than in previous years, a large bulk of the team is made of dual sport athletes that often have to skip practices and meets for other sports obligations.

"It’s more of an uphill battle than it’s ever been," Schwalbe said.

Weather and the high school remodel have also slowed the Miners down. Race times increase when it’s cold outside. And the arrival of new sports turf for the Park City football field means no local meets in front of the home crowd for the Miners.

Schwalbe says the key for the next few weeks will be goal setting and requiring the team to make as many of the end of the year team functions as possible.

"We need somebody to step up," Schwalbe said. "These next few weeks we need as much participation as we can get."

The team has two regular season meets left, the Richfield Invite this week and a region meet against Wasatch. Schwalbe hopes to see most of the Miners qualify at these two meets to avoid late season pressure.

"Hopefully, we just get a little better and breed results. There’s a little time," Schwalbe said.

The year wraps up with the BYU Invite, one of the largest meets of the year, followed by the region and state championships. Schwalbe says that if the Miners can qualify before those meets, then they will be in a better position to spread out the team to win points in various races, rather then putting runners in specific races they haven’t yet qualified in.

Judge will still be the team to beat for the state crown for both the boys’ and the girls’ teams, but Schwalbe is confident the team can overcome the unusual setbacks of the season.

"We’re definitely close," Schwalbe said.

The Miners will travel to the Richfield Invite this weekend.


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