PCHS track and field exceeds expectations at Championships
Miners see multiple athletes finish on the podium
Like in years past, Park City High School track and field co-head coach David Yocum expected the distance events to carry at least the girls’ team this season.
But Friday and Saturday’s UHSAA 3A State Championships at BYU were a different story. Behind strong performances from the sprint group, the Park City girls’ team mustered up 22 points, good enough for a share of eighth place. The boys’ team, meanwhile, registered 16 points, slotting it in 14th place.
“Overall, we were pretty happy,” Yocum said. “More than anything, I’m just really, really happy with how the season ended.”
Winning both the boys’ and girls’ 3A title were Desert Hills with 131 and 164 points, respectively.
Leading the way for the Park City girls’ team was the 4×400-meter relay, which consisted of Isabella Criscione, Grace Dalton, Katie Brotherson and Liza Greene. Their time of 4:10.91 was good enough for a third-place finish and a bronze medal in the timed finals.
The Park City boys’ 4×400-meter relay — made up of Victor Casarrubias, Paul Baynes, Devin Valiquett and Devon Gregory — followed that up with a season-best time of 3:31.73, good enough for tenth place. With the 4×400 event taking place at the end of Championships, Yocum saw it as a positive way to end the season.
“We kind of exceeded our expectations in some of the other races,” Yocum said. “We ended on two big high notes with the [4×400-meter relays].”
The Miners also performed better than expected in the girls’ 100-meter dash, producing three state qualifiers in Shaye Henderson, Leah Brown and Claire Rogers. Henderson and Rogers also advanced to the final, where they took sixth and eighth places, respectively.
Qualifying three and advancing two sprinters to the finals is the product of slowly building Park City’s sprinting aspect of the program, Yocum said.
“It’s been coming for a couple of years,” Yocum said. “Over the last several years, we’ve slowly been getting stronger and stronger.”
While the girls’ team produced more points, the best performance of the day for Park City came from Eli Alford in the boys’ shot put. The senior came into the season as a favorite to win the title. Though he wasn’t able to do so, Alford earned a second-place finish with a throw of 50 feet 7.
“He had high expectations,” Yocum said. “It just wasn’t his weekend. He can throw a lot farther than he threw. It was just one of those weekends for him.”
The Park City boys’ team also saw success in another throwing event, receiving points from senior Evan Esquivel in the discus. His mark of 140 feet 1 inch, just under three feet from the winning throw, was good enough for a bronze medal in the event.
Other notable finishes for Park City came from Bailey Hoglin (seventh in the girl’s discus and shot put) and the girls’ 4×100 and medley relays (both fifth place). Connor Laurence, who battled illness for the month leading up to the Championships, also helped Park City by finishing in 10th in both the boys’ 100- and 200-meter dashes.
Now that the season is over, Yocum looks forward to an offseason training with some of the returnees for next season. Though Park City will certainly miss the departing athletes, the head coach believes there’s plenty of talent coming back.
“I think we’ve got a good group that’s going to train with us,” Yocum said. “I’m just looking forward to next year. It’s kind of strange. I’m already ready to go.”
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