Miners shined at 2020 BYU Indoor Invitational last weekend
It’s been a rough couple of months for Park City High School indoor track and field athletes Paul Baynes, Franklin Paas and Seth Warner.
All three were members of the Park City football team that lost in the Class 4A state title game at the end of November.
For the senior Baynes, it’s been an even longer time period between contests as shoulder surgery following the Miners’ game against West High School on Aug. 30 ended his season. But for juniors Paas and Warner, it’s been a long two months to think about that loss and move on from it.
But that’s exactly what the boys did this past weekend when they competed in the 2020 BYU Indoor Invitational. In their first athletic contest since that devastating loss, all three athletes shined in their respective events.
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“It’s been a long time for the boys since that football loss, so having them come out and perform the way they did was special,” said Dave Yocum, Park City track and field coach. “For Paul, having just come off surgery, we were going to be happy if he ran indoors at all. … But now he’s running times that are close to his personal bests. Simply put, what he’s doing and how he’s recovered has been incredible.”
The boys were part of a group of 16 Park City athletes who traveled to Provo to compete against hundreds of other athletes from Utah, Wyoming and Idaho. Although indoor track and field isn’t a UHSAA sanctioned sport, it was the first major meet for high school athletes competing in the indoor season and serves as a major training session leading up to the outdoor season in March.
“We’re mostly just trying to get an idea on where to we are fitness wise and speed wise as a team as a team, and get myself an idea with how competitive some of these younger kids are,” Yocum said. “There’s some stock that I put into the indoor season when assessing certain kids for spring. … Certain kids are great competitors and the ones that are here working are getting an edge on the kids that wait till February to start training.”
Baynes was the star for the Miners, finishing fifth out of 146 runners in the 200-meter race in a time of 23.37 seconds — a time that is dangerously close to his best time last season. He also ran with the Gold Medal Athletics Track Club 4×321-meter team (321 meters is one lap around the track at BYU), taking first place in the event.
“He trains with me a few days and then trains with GMA a few days a week, which has clearly been working well for him considering what he just did,” Baynes said. “You never know how you bounce back from injury until your first meet, and he surprised everyone a bit with how well he did and how well he moved. He’s definitely faster and stronger than he was last year. … And this is a good indication what’s going to happen the rest of the season.”
Warner also shined for Park City, finishing fifth out of 200 runners in the 400-meter race in a time of 52.68 seconds — which places him third overall in Park City’s indoor history.
The two of them also competed in the 60-meter race, finishing in times of 7.30 and 7.39, respectively. According to Yocum, both players expected to shine in the outdoor season, and have very good chances at bringing home state title in multiple events.
Paas set the Park City indoor high jump record at the meet, jumping 5-feet, 9-inches in a setting where he wasn’t supposed to touch that height, let alone tackle it according to Yocum. “Frank only stands around 5-foot-6, maybe 7, and because we don’t have the best indoor training facility for him jump in, I was going to be happy if he just hit 5-foot-6,” Yocum said. “Honestly it was pretty shocking to see but I couldn’t be happier for him. He’s setting himself up for a big year because he also had two really good attempts at 5-foot-11 that he just barely missed.”
Also shining for the miners was senior Elise Hedens, who is being recruited by colleges as an overall athlete. She set the Park City indoor long jump record at the meet by jumping 16-feet, 1.25-inches.
This is Hedens’ first time competing in the indoor season after spending the last few years competing in gymnastics during the winter. According to Yocum, Hedens is an incredible athlete who is just discovering her potential for how good she can be.
“To get her to jump close to her personal best in the long jump in her first ever indoor meet, it just shows how competitive she is how she rises to the occasion,” Yocum said. “We are trying to take advantage of her athleticism and train her for multiple events since she will probably be competing in the heptathlon in college, where she already has a walk-on offer from division-one school. She’s working on the transition from gymnastics to track, so she’s adjusting to her new body and how strong she truly is.”
Park City will compete again this weekend in the Utah High School Track Coaches Association meet at Kearns Olympic Oval in Kearns.
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It’s going to be at least another month before Summit County’s high school athletes have any chance of getting onto the field again.