North Summit captures fifth straight girls track state title
The Braves edge out Millard for the championship
With just two events left in the Class 2A girls track state championship, North Summit found itself in a position that has been unfamiliar over the team’s decade-plus of dominance: The Braves were not in first place.
But then North Summit junior Marci Richins took home first place in the 200-meter along with a fifth-place finish from senior Hadley Richins. And then the Braves’ 4×400 team crossed the line first.
The last two events boosted North Summit past Millard by just nine points. The Braves won their last championship by 44 points in 2019. In addition to winning five state championships in a row, North Summit has taken home 11 of the last 12.
“This was a lot closer,” North Summit coach Dave Peck said. “So we as coaches were getting a lot more stressed or nervous, but those girls were able to handle it and pull it out.”
The Richinses and senior Elizabeth Zwahlen came up big for the Braves. Zwahlen won the 3200-meter and 1600-meter races and took home silver in the 800-meter event by 0.004 seconds. Marci Richins won the 400-meter event with a time of 58.38 seconds in addition to her first-place time of 24.97 seconds in the 200-meter race. She also finished second in the 100-meter sprint. Hadley Richins finished in second place for the 400-meter event and the long jump.
“Those three have been just tremendous leaders and support for the other ones,” Peck said.
North Summit also won the sprint medley relay and finished in third in the 4×100 relay.
Peck also credits his team for being willing to try new events this year. Hadley had never competed in the long jump before this year, and Jade Woolstenhulme tried the 300-meter hurdles before finishing in sixth place.
“We were quite excited to see these girls kind of step up and ask them to do different things that they hadn’t really done before and became quite successful in that,” he said. “And I think that sometimes that’s the key, you just find those girls who are willing to try something new and just be able to help them do that.”
This year’s championship makes up for last year’s COVID-shortened campaign, in which the Braves had a team that Peck thought was going to be great. This year, it seemed like there were going to be too many unknowns, both with his team and their opponents.
“If we were able to compete, boy, we just had a great team last year,” Peck said. “This year, we just really didn’t know what would happen.”
The Braves found a way to get the job done regardless.
Peck likes his team’s odds for next year, but he also realizes that his team needs to improve in the throwing events. Nobody placed in the top five in the shot put, javelin and discus events at the state chammpionship. Additionally, the Braves will have to make up for the losses of Hadley Richins and Zwahlen.
“We really didn’t have anybody throw anything, but I think we were able to work with the people that were kind of close in throwing and getting through to states, so I think our prospects are pretty good,” Peck said. “Yes, we’ve lost those two girls and that’s going to be a lot to make up, but I think I’ve heard, you know, the freshmen coming in I think there’s a couple good girls in that respect.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article misspelled Elizabeth Zwahlen’s name.
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