By Mark Oftedal, Head Coach
When Wasatch Front weather was far from suggesting that a spring track and field season was just around the corner, a dedicated, focused, and enthusiastic group of student-athletes began meeting three days a week in earnest preparation for the 2023 season. Starting just after winter break, all team members not involved in Winter Sports made the best of indoor training opportunities and grabbed those rare days when the sun would break through for an hour or two to allow for some bracingly devoted efforts around Liberty Park—once even experiencing the joys of running multiple cross-fields over hurdles made of snow!
Once the snow melted from the area’s tracks, our team members wasted no time showing that their early and long-lasting dedication paid off, with returning team members setting 19 new personal bests at the first two competitions. These first two meets set the tone for the remainder of the seasons as our athletes continued to chip away at their times and add inches—and sometimes feet—to their throws and jumps.
Senior Jada Crockett ended her high school career with an amazing assault of her personal best times. Finishing the season as both the region and state champion in all three of her events—the 100 meter, 200 meter, and 400 meter—is quite an accomplishment, but the road she took getting there was highlighted by records. Four times throughout the season, Jada ran faster in the 200 and the 400 races. Each time our school’s record in those events dropped—as did the 100 meter. And, to provide fireworks at the end of her career, she raced to a new state record in the 400 meter, breaking a record that had stood since 2015!
Senior Ezra Shilling Rabin finished his high school middle-distance career as the region champion in his three events, the 800 meter, 1600 meter, and 3200 meter. Adding to his command in these individual events, Ezra also anchored our sprint medley relay team, his combined points playing a huge part in securing the boys team the region title, our first since 2019. At the state championships, Ezra again led the team in scoring with a second-place finish in a very close 3200 race, a seventh-place finish in the 1600, and a sixth-place finish in the 800.
Other notable state performances included those of senior Will Cunningham and sophomore Carolina Corcoran. Will made his way to the podium with a sixth-place finish in the 400 meter in an impressive new personal best time. Carolina finished in sixth place in the 800 meter with a new personal record, and greatly improved her 1600 meter, placing eighth, while dropping 10 seconds!
Besides Jada Crockett’s flurry of new school records, a newcomer to our team, sophomore Jamison “Jamo” Oleksy, set a new school record in the 110-meter hurdles while securing a spot in the state finals in the event. Misfortune at the penultimate hurdle bumped him from a podium spot, but we’re certain next year will find him there in that event and others. Looking ahead, other newcomers to our team that advanced to state their first year were ninth graders Joe Cashiola (region finishes: first in the 100, second in the 200), Amelie Tan (region finish: fourth in the 400), and Vivian Turner (region finish: fourth in the 200). Our future looks exciting!
Thanks to all who came out for the track and field team this year, those already mentioned, plus Grant Downes, Dean Hijjawi, Winston Hoffman, Ceceila Hyman, Lila Jackson, Evan Jahn, Dylan Johnson de Lacy, Kendall Kanarowski, Ruby McMaster, James Obermark, Darshan Pani, Pia Piccoli, Erika Prasthofer, Tallulah Proulx, Hasan Rahim, Maddi Stufflebeam, and Milo Thorne.
Congratulations to our Academic All-Region honorees: Annie Nash, Will Cunningham, Ezra Shilling Rabin, and Evan Jahn. Kudos to Ezra Shilling Rabin and Evan Jahn, also named to the Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) Academic All-State team.
Our 2023 award recipients included Jada Crockett and Ezra Shilling Rabin, Most Valuable; Will Cunningham, Joe Cashiola, Cecelia Hyman, and Winston Hoffman, Coaches’ Choice; and Dean Hijjawi and Carolina Corcoran, Most Improved.
Coaches Ashley Hagensick, Jake Colangelo, Roland Tolbert, and I, as well as our team, will dearly miss our graduating seniors—Jada Crockett, Will Cunningham, Evan Jahn, Annie Nash, and Ezra Shilling Rabin—for both their talent and their leadership over the years they’ve represented Rowland Hall track and field. Thank you for all you’ve given us … we look forward to hearing of your ongoing accomplishments and, please, stay in touch!