Tracking down titles at state
PROVO Matt Nagie didn’t even make the varsity squad as a junior last season.
But this weekend, Nagie brought the stadium to its feet with a memorable 800-meter victory in the boys’ 3A race at the state track and field championships at Brigham Young University.
Nagie, a senior, had a plan laid out with the Park City High School coaching staff. He was aiming for a certain time at the 400-meter mark. According to head coach Jeff Wyant, when Nagie hit that time, he was second to last in the race.
"He passed about eight people in the last 120 meters. He just came flying," Wyant said.
The Miners finished second in 3A for the girls and sixth for the boys at the state meet, and posted some notable individual results.
As expected, sophomore thrower Megan Glasmann dominated the field, winning the state title in girls’ discus (120.575 feet) and javelin (127.8 feet). Sophomore distance runner Ben Saarel won the 1600-meter race and finished third in the 3200-meter.
When asked if his first state meet was a learning experience, the coy Saarel agreed it was.
"Oh, totally," he said. "I learned a lot today."
Senior Lisa Palomaki had two close third-place finishes in the girls’ 200-meter and 400-meter races. She also had a second-place finish in the girls’ 300-meter hurdles.
Wyant said Palomaki’s day was one of the most inspiring on the team.
"Lisa had a couple great races back-to-back," he said. "She raced, pretty much, four races in a row. That was a pretty tough ordeal."
Senior thrower Jake Adams finished third in the state with a toss of 46.08 feet in the shot put.
"Jake had the best showing of any male thrower in years (at PCHS)," Wyant said. "He finished out strong."
Wyant said he was hoping his squad would finish higher than any other Region 10 team, despite taking second in the region championship a couple weeks ago, and Park City’s head coach got his wish.
"They really came through," he said. "We were better than expected in a lot of areas. It was kind of nice coming out, finishing higher in state than anyone in region."
Distance runners Ali Walker and Emily Schmitt had impressive outings in the girls’ 1600 and 3200-meter races, finishing in the top six in each race.
When asked to assess the overall season, Wyant said he was more-than-pleased with the outcome.
"There’s always ups and downs," he said. "We certainly had a lot of both this year, but we finished out on a strong note."
Park City’s head coach said he wanted to single out the seniors at the state meet and he couldn’t help but return to Nagie’s remarkable run.
"Matt didn’t even the make varsity team last year," he said. "Now he’s the state champion. I don’t know if you can ever see someone come from that far back and win. Usually kids who win the state championship are always in the mix."
While Park City’s performance at state was noteworthy, the girls’ program from Coalville put on an all-out show.
The North Summit girls’ track and field team obliterated the field, winning the 2A championship, while the boys finished sixth.
No Lady Brave stood out more Saturday than junior Erica Birk who won the 2A girls’ 800- (2:16), 1600- (5:08.70) and 3200- (11:16.20) meter races all in one day.
Birk, who also stars in cross country for North Summit, blew the field away.
"I wanted to beat the 3A times," she said after her 3200 victory, breathless. "That’s what I was going for."
She did, by nearly six seconds.
Birk said she won the 1600- and the 3200-meter races as a sophomore in 2010, but barely was unable to win the 800-meter.
"I guess it came together (today)," she said.
Birk said she is part of the North Summit swim team in the winter to stay in shape for running, but added, "I’m not that good."
But she was that good Saturday, as were teammates Samantha Nicholes, Erica Richins and Kaitlyn Rowser. Nicholes took home three first-place finishes in the 2A girls’ long jump (17.050), 200-meter (25.95) and 100-meter (12.48) races.
Richins won the girls’ 100-meter hurdles, the 300-meter hurdles and was second in the long jump behind Nicholes.
Rowser finished second in the girls’ shot put, tossing 35.10 feet.
Birk, who said she has more work to do next year, summed up her record weekend simply.
"I love running," she said. "I just do."
South Summit junior Taylor Anderton won the boys’ 2A high jump with a jump of six feet.
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The Alpine Slide was a hit, so, why not try something a little more… extreme?