This weekend’s BYU Invitational served as a way for the state’s track athletes to put their talents on display against athletes from 1A through 5A classifications. For the Carbon Dino Track team, it also served as a means to set qualifying marks for state, and to warm up for their region meet this Wednesday and Thursday at Park City.
Two of the Dinos did more than that. Long-jumper Dalton Nelson once again increased his personal best jump, vaulting himself over 21 feet. The mark won him fourth place overall, while making him the one to beat in 3A. And, Karissa Nelson accomplished a year-long goal, placing in the top three in the heptathlon.
Head Coach Jimmy Jewkes was thrilled with the results, especially because of the size of the field they were facing. “The BYU Invitational is huge!” he exclaimed. “To place there, you have to be the best.”
He was also pleased with the opportunity the meet offered to develop his team’s depth. In both the boy’s and girl’s 4×400-meter relays, the Carbon teams “plugged in” athletes to fill spots left open because the regular runners were not available. The boy’s team regulars, Kaleb Kulow, Stephan Larsen and Luke Olsen, were joined by Justin Hepworth, and the girl’s team regulars, Kristen Jewkes and Kacilia Ivory, were assisted by Diana Olsen and Amanda Freestone.
The patchwork teams did more than “hold their own”. In the boy’s relay, the team completed the race in 3:34:00 to qualify for state. The girl’s team, minus two of their best runners, matched the time their teammates had set as qualifying for the invitational. Paula Gibson also filled in on the 4×100-meter race to help her teammates match their qualifying time as well.
Regan Powell faced a challenging situation in the meet. Powell runs both the 1600 and 800-meters. Unfortunately, the events were scheduled nearly back to back. But, she faced the challenge, and achieved personal best times in both. Powell ran the 800-meter run in 2:23:00, and the 1600 in 5:25:00 to qualify for state. Freshman distance runner, Garret Marsing, was also stellar, finishing the 3200-meter run in 10:05:00.
Jewkes hopes the strides his team has made, and the many ways they have improved despite difficult circumstances, will translate into an opportunity for them to do better than expected at their region competition, even to win. “It is going to be tough,” he said. “But these kids have surprised me all year long.”