Local track and field athletes took center stage at Thursday’s Snow Canyon Invitational. With the season in the latter stages, this event offered Region 9 programs a chance to build momentum heading into some of the more elite meets in the coming weeks.
Desert Hills continued its reign as the boys’ top team, while Hurricane built upon a recent surge to take the girls’ side.
For Warriors coach Mike Esplin, Thursday offered a variety of challenges as this was his first time conducting an invite of this magnitude.
“It takes a lot of help and coordination to run something like this,” Esplin said. “From the other region coaches, to the athletes, and to volunteers, it takes contributions from many to make it all work.”
Whether it’s setting up track and field equipment or providing water for the athletes, it certainly takes a lot of effort to conduct a region invite.
As far as the action went, there was plenty.
One of the more intriguing outcomes was Chandler Swaney’s showing in the high jump.
Not only did he dominate the event, he broke a school record in the process with a leap of 6 feet, 9 inches.
“I was just feeling it today,” Swaney said. “I’ve been working hard at it in practice and everything just felt good. … I’d say the key to being successful in this event is speed and coordination.”
The wind seemed to play a factor early in the invite, but calmed down as the evening settled in.
Swaney said he thought it was going to be a factor during his jump, but added he was happy to see the conditions even out for the most part.
On the track, there was plenty of joy, disappointment, sweat and personal ambition to defeat adversity shown in many events.
A thrilling sprint medley relay took place between Desert Hills and Hurricane.
The Thunder built a strong lead early, but by the time the baton exchanged hands to the fourth runner, the Tigers had closed the gap.
Hurricane veteran Shania Hurst capped the comeback, as she put together a strong push in the final stretch to secure the win (4 minutes, 16 seconds).
“I just had a strong team behind me and pushing me,” said Hurst on the hard-fought win. “I think we’re continuing to get stronger throughout the season, and hopefully, we’ll be able to compete at a high level going forward.”
There were also some firsts for some athletes.
Dixie sophomore Mason Oki won his heat in the 300 meter hurdle, for his first medal of the season.
The underclassman joined the team this year after a friend of his was set to join too. Since then, Oki has focused on improving his skills in one of the sport’s toughest events.
He said speed, endurance and concentration is needed to have success at this level.
“It’s tough,” Oki said. “You need to work hard, practice and make sure you stay over those hurdles.”
For individual and team results go to runnercard.com.