San Juan track and field team doubles number of state-qualified athletes from 2021 season
by Jessica Walker
The San Juan High School track and field team headed to Kanab on Tuesday, May 10 for the Region 19 Championship. The team was attempting to secure a region championship and their places in the upcoming Utah 2A State Track and Field Championships to be held at BYU May 20-21.
In track and field, athletes can qualify for the state meet in one of two ways: reaching stringent time or distance marks during the season (which few athletes are able to accomplish) or placing in the top four at regions.
The boys team scored 61 points to finish sixth in the region. The girls also came home sixth with 42 points. The teams scored 103 total points for a combined finish in fifth place.
Magnum Nielson led the Broncos with a win in the javelin. His throw of over 159 feet was a new personal record and a whopping 16 feet farther than the second-place finisher from Beaver. Nielson previously qualified for state in this event as well as the long jump.
Leah Castellon hurdled her way to a second-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles. Castellon’s blazing fast time of 17.78 seconds was the second-fastest of her career. Her fastest came just days earlier at the BYU Invitational.
Beating the next competitor by one one-hundredth of a second was Zach Conway with a third-place finish in the 200 meter. Conway also qualified by time in the 100-meter race prior to the region championship.
In the 400 meter, Reghan Laws fought her way to a fourth-place finish with only a half a second separating her from the fifth-place finisher. Laws’s time of 1:36.13 was a personal record and earned her the distinction of having the fourth-fastest 400-meter run in San Juan High School history.
Hudson Whatcott jumped 19 feet, 5.25 inches and earned a fourth-place finish in the long jump. Whatcott qualified for state in the high jump earlier in the season.
Edward Lyman nabbed a fourth-place finish in the 3200 meter with a massive personal record of almost 30 seconds. Just a week earlier, Lyman was ranked tenth in the region in this event. In this event, second through fourth place were separated by a miniscule one second.
In the last region race of her high school career, Ella Lyman cemented her spot at state with a fourth-place finish in the 3200 meter.
Qualifying relay teams include the girls 4x400 (third, composed of Reghan Laws, Ashlyn Palmer, Ryleigh Laws, Alex Shumway, and Meagan Palmer), the boys 4x100 (third, composed of Brigham Nielson, Zach Conway, Magnum Nielson, Eoin Kaer, and Josh Nielson), and the girls 4x100 (fourth, composed of TaiNea Anderson, Reaghan Laws, Ashlyn Palmer, Maycee Conway, and Meagan Palmer).
Prior to regions, the girls 4x100 team was ranked last in the region in the event. They stepped up, however, with a top-notch performance and managed to beat two other teams to clinch their state qualifying spot.
Tyler Winn will also be joining the team at state having qualified earlier in the season by distance in the shot put.
The following athletes also scored points for the Broncos at region: Logan Keith (seventh in the 3200, 8th in the 800 with a five-second personal record), Alex Shumway (fifth in the 300 hurdles), Leah Castellon (sixth in the 300 hurdles), Brigham Nielson (sixth in the 110 hurdles), Ashlyn Palmer (eighth in the 100), Edward Lyman (seventh in the 1600), Magnum Nielson (seventh in the long jump), Keaton Ivins (eighth in the long jump), Tyler Winn (fifth in javelin, seventh in shot put), Eoin Kaer (eighth in javelin), and Savannah Richmond (seventh in discus).
San Juan Head Coach Samantha Pemberton expressed how proud she is of the athletes and the progress they have made this year. The Broncos doubled the amount of athletes who qualified for state this season from last, a significant accomplishment.
The Broncos will next take on the biggest meet of the season, the 2022 Utah 2A State Track and Field Championships. The meet is this Friday and Saturday, May 20-21 at BYU.