Skip To Main Content
Track and Field 2024: New Stars Come into View as Our Streaking Comet Burns Bright in His Final Season

By Mark Oftedal, Head Coach

The lead-up to the 2024 track season was filled with anticipation for what the consistent efforts of three returning junior/senior teammates would hold in terms of new personal-best times. Juniors Kendall Kanarowski and Carolina Corcoran, and senior Dean Hijjawi impressively committed to training throughout the long off-season that followed cross country at the end of October. No one suspected the misfortunes that would visit Kendall and Carolina once our preseason training started in early January, when both faced the reality of season-ending situations that would require the entire spring season to rest and recover fully. Dean remained a shining star, and though he struggled in the early season to bring his times down, he finished the season with fireworks! Beside his always highly focused and hard efforts while training and competing, Dean competently handled the role of our sole seasoned role model for our now mainly very young team.

2024 found us with the youngest team we’ve had in the past 15 years. Of our total 26 team members, 19 were from our ninth and 10th grade classes. New to the team and the sport of track and field were Arianna Ali (9), Bronwen Andrus (9), Theo Billings (9), Rylee Boyd (10), Jimmy Cashiola (9), Imran Ibrahima (10), Paulina Ize-Cedillo (9), HaUhn Kim (9), Sirohi Martinez (9), Jaxin Quayle (11), Serenity Thompson (10), Fanni Ventilla (10), and Ollie Wakefield (9). Returning team members included Joe Cashiola (10), Carolina Corcoran (11), Grant Downes (11), Dean Hijjawi (12), Sophia Hijjawi (10), Cecelia Hyman (10), Dylan Johnson de Lacy (10), Kendall Kanarowski (11), Pia Piccoli (11), Erika Prasthofer (11), Tallulah Proulx (10), Kylie Seamans (10), and Amelie Tan (10).

Being new to the team and the sport didn’t mean immediate positive impacts wouldn’t be achieved by this young team. Ollie Wakefield went straight to the highly technical high jump and long jump events his first season and, while showing promise in the high jump, he wasted no time surpassing our boys team record in the long jump, jumping 19’00.50” at the North Summit Invitational on April 24.  It deserves mentioning that the previous best long jump record of 18’8” was set in 2011 by then-senior Nathan Zick-Smith. When Ollie was doing his thing launching himself into the air, fellow ninth grader Jimmy Cashiola took to the throws—shot put, discus, and javelin. On the track, 10th-grade sprinters Rylee Boyd and Joe Cashiola established themselves at the top of our team’s performance charts with the fastest times in the 100- and 200-meter races—and in the 400-meter as well, in Joe’s case. Sophomore Amelie Tan, who last year ran the 800-meter only once and then swore off it, opting for the 400-meter, surprised the middle-distance coaches by announcing her return to the 800 just before the entry deadline for the region championships. Amelie obviously had taken her time to solidly wrapped her mind around racing the 800 again (it’s considered by many to be the hardest event on the track), as she placed 4th in the region championships, securing a ticket to state, where she took an additional four seconds off an already great time in just her second race of the year in the event. All three of our girls relay teams—sprint medley, 4x100, and 4x400—raced at state, setting new season-best times in all three of those events. Boding well for performances in those events over the next few years, the enthusiastic and hardworking team members making up those teams are Rylee Boyd, Paulina Ize-Cedillo, HaUhn Kim, Fanni Ventilla, Sophia Hijjawi, Cecelia Hyman, and Amelie Tan.

Our sole senior, team leader, role model, tireless encourager, and supporter of all his teammates, Dean Hijjawi, will be missed immensely in the years ahead for all the positive actions he shared with our teams these past four years. We were thrilled when Dean eclipsed his previous best times in the 1600- and 3200-meter races at state. They were a joy to watch, but even more so to witness Dean’s disbelief as he pondered the huge chunks of time he’d carved from his times, which he’d been working so hard to try to whittle away at all year. His performances in these final two high school races were beyond well-deserved! Not only did Dean excel on the track, but his performance in the classroom also earned him Academic All-Region and Utah High School Activities Association Academic All-State recognition as well.

Congratulations to our award recipients this year, including Fanni Ventilla, Jimmy Cashiola, and Ollie Wakefield, Newcomer Award; Joe Cashiola, Most Improved; and Dean Hijjawi and Amelie Tan, Coaches’ Choice.

Coaches Jake Colangelo, Will Prettyman, Ashley Hagensick, Roland Tolbert, and Parker Edgington are already looking forward to next year as we consider the talent exhibited this season, paired with a solid work ethic, a palpable positive team dynamic, and an abundance of enthusiasm for the sport!