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Holladay Journal

Olympus caps off successful track season with several standout performances

Jun 04, 2024 11:26AM ● By Josh McFadden

Susie Harris takes first in the 100-meter sprint at the Class 5A state track and field meet. Harris was a big part of Olympus’ girls team’s success. (Photo by Eddy Wall, Eddy Wall Photography)

Bolstered by top-end talent, the Olympus boys and girls track teams had excellent showings at the state meet, May 16-18 at Brigham Young University. 

The Titans placed 10th on the boys’ side and fourth on the girls’ side. The girls were just two points behind the third-place team, Box Elder. 

“We had a shot at second, but things didn’t fall our way,” head coach Reed Ericson said about the girls. 

Individually, boys team star JoJo Jourdon was the Class 5A state champion in the 1600m and 3200m races. The boys 4x800 relay team of Brenen Elliott, Dillon Elliott, Finn Rutledge and Jourdon placed fifth at state. The girls 4x400 relay team of Susie Harris, Sofia Jourdon, August Bigler and Whitney Fisher took third. Meanwhile, girls discus thrower Dru Hill was fifth at the state meet, while Harris was third in the 200 and first in the 100. Fisher took home first place in the 100 hurdles and was runner-up in the 300 hurdles. Fisher was also third in the long jump. 

“Overall, our state meet was a lot of positives,” Ericson said. “Track and field is a sport in which the odds of everything going perfectly are really low. We definitely had our moments where things didn't go perfect for our athletes, but that is how track and field works. But when zooming out on the big picture of the meet in the context of our season, there were a lot of moments for our athletes to hang their hats on and to be proud of. Our state championships this year were the most competitive they've ever been in our state's history, so even just qualifying and competing at such a prestigious meet is an incredible accomplishment for our kids.”

The girls team didn’t finish quite as high as Ericson and his athletes had hoped. But that didn’t deter from the efforts each girl made. Ericson was pleased with how they worked and the attitudes they had when obstacles got in their way. In particular, the girls team dealt with some untimely, unfortunate injuries.

“We were hoping for a top-two finish on the girls’ side,” he said. “However, that hope started looking quite difficult when our season started moving along and we had some unfortunate injuries pop up. We had a handful of girls who looked to be potential state placers that either missed all of our season or most of our season due to really bad luck. This allowed us though to just focus on each individual athlete and how to best help them. Once the season got going, we really didn't think much or talk much about state placing and were mostly focused on helping our athletes manage the season and get what they needed each single day.”

Olympus features several outstanding track and field athletes, and none came up bigger than Harris and Fisher. Ericson couldn’t say enough good things about how well they did at state and what the duo meant to the Titans’ program this season. 

“[Fisher] and [Harris] were huge standouts at state,” Ericson said. “Neither of them necessarily went into state as the favorite in the events they won. They were among the favorites, but there were other girls who were just as likely or more than likely to win as they were. With [Fisher], she just always shows up when it means the most. I think she's the most steady and consistent athlete I've ever personally coached, and it showed with her kind of going on a heater the last few weeks of the season and running a huge personal best when it meant the most. With [Harris], she had a hard season and we were constantly working together to make sure she was able to keep moving forward in the season. There were a number of girls in the 100m final who were all capable of winning, but once the gun went off she was able to run a great race, stay composed and won by less than a hundredth of a second.”

Aside from where the athletes placed and where they finished at state and at meets throughout the season, Ericson was happy with the mindset the boys and girls had. He said the athletes gave it their all, bought into the team philosophy and helped to continue the strong Olympus tradition the program has enjoyed. Though there were some inexperienced athletes on the team, they blended well with the more seasoned team members. 

“Looking back at the season as a whole, it was really positive to see the growth in our program amid the success of our older athletes,” he said. “We had an overall very young team and we really wanted to start changing the culture of what is expected from our athletes. We still have a ways to go as we move forward, but almost all of our large amount of kids showed up every day and worked their tails off. We're excited to keep working with those young athletes and to keep adding new groups every year as the current ones get older and improve year by year.”

Ericson expect next season to offer some challenges and opportunities. 

Olympus loses some team leaders and quality athletes. Ericson is eager to see which athletes emerge and step up to fill those roles. The work for next season is already beginning. 

“Next season is going to be very different than this season,” he said “We went into this season knowing we had a group of senior athletes who were going to be very successful and were clear leaders of our team. We still expect to have success with many athletes next season, but who that is will depend on who ends up putting in the work between now and next season to become better athletes (not just in track) and who show up in the spring ready to take the sport seriously. We have a lot of exciting potential coming back, and I honestly can't wait to get back working with them and to see what they can do to keep the momentum we are starting to build in our program moving forward. We coaches are already working together on planning how we can improve our program to help build these young athletes up and next season will be a very important year in making sure we progress toward being a state championship contending team for a long time.” λ