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Holladay Journal

Olympus track: girls look for state title; boys aim for continued improvement

Apr 09, 2024 11:33AM ● By Josh McFadden

JoJo Jourdon broke the all-classification state record in the 1600m at the Pine View Invitational on Friday, March 22. (Photo courtesy Reed Ericson)

Now in his second year as the head coach of the Olympus High School track and field program, Reed Ericson has high expectations in his sophomore year. 

Olympus has some firepower on the boys’ and girls’ side to do some damage in the Class 5A ranks. He has high hopes that both teams will improve significantly this season. A year ago, the girls were 17th in 5A, while the boys placed 15th. He said the goal is for the girls to finish in the top two at state and for the boys to be among the top four. 

“Most importantly, our goal is to get our program headed in a new direction,” Ericson said. “We are implementing a lot of new team expectations and policies to help our team be more competitive. Getting our athletes to buy into the commitment it takes to be a high performing athlete on the track and in the field is a big goal for this season. Alternatively, we have a very competitive group this season. Our girls team will likely be competing for a state championship, and our boys team looks to make a huge jump in state placing this year.”

Early indications are positive for both teams. 

At the Titans’ first meet of the season, March 15 in the Skyhawk First Flight at Salem Hills High School, two girls had excellent performances. Sarah Kellogg placed first in the girls high jump. This shouldn’t be a surprise, as she is currently ranked No. 1 in the event in 5A. In the 100-meter sprint, top-ranked Susie Harris placed first at the meet. Another girls’ team member, Whitney Fisher, placed second in the 100-meter hurdles. Currently, she is ranked third in that event in 5A. On the boys’ side Luke Bryant performed well in the 100-meter race. The future University of Utah football player was ranked fifth in 5A in the 100. 

Olympus also took part in another early season meet, this one a distance meet in St. George, the Snow Canyon Invitational. There, third-ranked Kyle Bergstrom placed eighth in the 3,200. Ericson pointed out that cross country phenom JoJo Jourdon, a national champion who earlier this season became the first Utah high school runner to run a sub-four-minute mile, didn’t compete in the meet. In the fall, Jourdon will be a member of the Wake Forest University cross country team. 

Achieving Ericson’s goals for the Titans won’t come without hard work and even some good fortune, he said. 

“In order for our season to be a success, we need to stay healthy,” he said. “We have incredibly talented athletes all across the board, and we have some incredible coaches that know how to care for athlete health. If we all work together and manage the rigors of the season, we'll be in a really good spot to compete at the state championships.”

Ericson said the team’s strengths lie in the boys distance group and girls sprints group. 

“We have good boys in the sprints and phenomenal girls all across the board on the track and in the field, but we have the most depth in those areas that will serve us well during championship season,” he said.

Of course, Ericson and his athletes are hoping for the best this season. The Titans have many experienced seniors, so success beyond this season will start with how well the younger team members perform this season and commit to getting better each day. 

“Not only are we looking to have a great 2024 season, but we are really looking forward to continuing our success and not being a one-hit wonder,” he said. “A lot of our top athletes are seniors this season, so we are really looking forward to seeing the development of our younger athletes. We have some great young athletes who may not be representing us at the state championship level this season but will be key building blocks moving forward. This is a key area that we knew going into this season would be a very important improvement to our program, and we are really excited about some of the young athletes that we had show up this season that have shown some great promise. Great programs have to get young, talented and competitive athletes showing up for track and field every season, and we're starting to see that again in our program.”

This season, keep an eye on Jourdon, the all-star distance runner, as well as fellow distance runners Kyle Berkson and Dillon Elliott, both seniors. Junior Kenny Oswald is a standout sprinters. 

Several girls should compete well this season and make some noise at state. Senior sprinters Harris, Fisher and Maddi Zito, along with senior Dru Hill, a thrower, are among the top performers on the girls team. Younger athletes such as junior distance runner Sofia Jourdon, freshman distance runner Adria Favero and Kellogg, a sophomore high-jumper, should provide helpful production this season. 

“They are all great examples of the product of consistent hard work and showing up to compete at the highest levels,” Ericson said. “They will carry the charge for us this season but will also give our many younger athletes teammates to look up to and watch how they approach their training and where years of hard work can take you. We also have a lot of other team leaders that help create a great team atmosphere. As head coach, I value more than anything our team being a place where anyone can come and have a safe and welcoming environment and have fun.”

Ericson also highlighted team leaders Lucy Kaelberer, Makenna Lawson and Tennyson Stewart. 

The second-year coach is grateful to have the chance to work with Olympus’ track and field athletes. Ericson has been around the sport since he was 7 and always wanted to coach at the high school level. 

“I was somehow lucky enough to find myself a head coaching opportunity at an absolutely incredible school like Olympus at a young age, and I couldn't be more grateful. I'm incredibly lucky. I just love the kids more than anything. I look forward to being with them and coaching them every single day. It brings me so much meaning and purpose. I love getting to watch them work hard every single day, I love watching them compete and learn new skills, and I love the moments I get to celebrate with them and the moments when I get to sit with them through their disappointments and frustrations, even when there's tears. I'm just grateful to know them and be a part of their lives on and off the track.” λ