Track team fares well at state finals
It may not have been the state title of last year, but the Miners left the Utah High School Track and Field Championships at Brigham Young University this weekend feeling very good.
The Miners girls team finished third behind rival Judge Memorial and Ogden the same top three teams at last year’s championships. The Park City boys team took sixth.
"It’s about as well as we could have done with who we had available. We were very pleased," Park City head boys coach Steve Crandall said.
Even without the necessary bulk of field athletes that would have given Park City a clear shot at the title, Park City, across the board, turned in state championship-worthy performances.
Lindsey Jacobsen led the Miners off capturing the state title in the girls 100-meter hurdles. Jacobsen went on to sweep the hurdle events with a shocking win over the highly favored Camille Fehlberg of Emery. Jacobsen, a senior, had never beat the junior Fehlberg before, so coming into the state meet, she knew it was her last opportunity
"I knew mentally I wanted it so much more," Jacobsen said.
The win was a mix of determination and race strategy. Miners hurdle coach Jeff Schwalbe told Jacobsen to stay with Fehlberg until the final turn and then pull away. Fehlberg had run the 400-meter sprint right before, which Jacobsen also used to her advantage.
"I told her that if you push Camille, she won’t have too much left on the home stretch," Schwalbe said.
Jacobsen executed the plan perfectly.
"My last 100 meters we were neck-and-neck and I heard her behind me, but she was not catching me," Jacobsen said. "This whole year, I knew I had to win it, but it’s really hard to put yourself in that position."
This is the first double champion Schwalbe has coached in seven years.
"That’s really fun," Schwalbe said. "She ran a fearless race. So smooth. So aggressive. She just would not be beat."
Park City’s top male hurdler, Neko Papez, finished fifth in the 110-meter boys hurdles and fourth in the 300-meter race.
In the 800-meter race, up-and coming Park City track star Brent Ryberg managed a third-place finish among mostly seniors.
"I was a little mad because I had a Logan kid beat and he passed me at the end," Ryberg said. "I felt really good. I just died on the last 20 meters.
Even without winning the title, Ryberg still managed to turn in a record-breaking performance, shaving a full three seconds off his first time when he began running the race mid-season. His one-minute 59.50-second time was the fastest time a Park City sophomore has ever earned, including former Miner Brad Osguthorpe, who is now a defending Big Sky Conference champion at Weber State University. It was also the first sub-two minute finish for a Park City sophomore.
"This is definitely his race when you tell him what to do and he does it," Park City assistant Jeff Wyant said.
Crandall expects that by this time next year, Ryberg will be the man to beat.
"He couldn’t have run it better," Crandall said. "Next year this will be his race."
Perhaps the most memorable race of the day was a team effort. In the 1600-meter relay the foursome of Hanna Terry, Zoë VanGoerder, Abby Hughes and Elli Reed won the state championship after beating both Snow Canyon and Judge in the final stretch. The team had a school-record breaking performance of 4:12.68, missing the state record by a mere three-tenths of a second. Elli Reed was able to make up crucial minutes in her 800-meter leg after Hughes was boxed in during her 400-meter leg.
""I just wanted to catch them for the team. I didn’t want to let the girls down," reed said. "I’m pretty competitive. I don’t like to lose."
North Summit High School made it a Summit County sweep in 1600-meter relay, capturing the 2A state tile. The Braves’ Jordan Snyder also took the state championship in the 3200-meter run.
In the distance events, Reed took second in the 100-meter run and Prescott McCarthy took second in the 3200-meter run.
The Park City girls also won the 4×400-meter relay to wrap up the meet and the season.
Crandall expects that the younger crop of talented tracksters in sprints, distance and even the field events will continue to improve over the next year, giving the Miners another legitimate shot at the 3A state title next year. He has also noticed that many of his younger runners are excited about competing next year.
"Time always helps," Crandall said. "The kids get more drive and strength and come back and become better athletes."
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