Team tactics help Park City track team advance to State |

Team tactics help Park City track team advance to State

by Tracie Fails, of the Record staff

Anyone who doesn’t consider track a team sport has probably never met Jeff Wyant. The Park City High School head track coach entered the Region 10 meet at Uintah High School last week with one goal in mind qualify as many athletes to the 3A state championship meet as possible, using his top runners to help those on the cusp earn a spot at the line this weekend in Provo. With a strategy of "team tactics," Wyant and assistant coach Brad Osguthorpe coached athletes who have already qualified to pace their teammates to top-four finishes, the standard for advancing from the regional meet to state.

"We worked it to get as many athletes as we could to state, and for some athletes who are already going, that meant holding back and helping some others get there," Wyant explained.

The strategy added at least five athletes to the five who had already hit qualifying marks, with some impressive blocks of red and black sweeping top spots in many events. The women took four of five top places in the 800 meters, in which the already-qualified duo of Whitney Warner and Gillian Gorelick paced teammates Jessie Christjans and Hailie Merritt for the first 600 meters, before stepping aside to ensure their teammates finished in the top four. Lindsey Gideon also qualified for the mile. The men’s 1,600 featured a 1-2-4 finish, with Cameron Edwards leading Kenny Holt and Carson Fugal. Standout Brent Ryberg, who leads the state for all divisions in the 800 meters, forewent his main event to help the Miners win the sprint medley relay.

Sprinters Charlie Sisk and Jessie Christjans boosted the sprint events with qualifying performances in the 400-meter dash, including a win for Christjans, while Eric Walker solidified his place among the state’s top sprinters with second-place finishes in the 100 and 200 meters.

Wyant said he was impressed with the teams’ high finishes despite the finagling of athletes.

"We still scored very high, higher than I thought possible without field events," he said.

The Miners look to continue their momentum at the 3A state meet this Friday and Saturday at Brigham Young University.