Bengal’s Track and Field Finish Another Fast-Paced Season
Jun 08, 2016 10:37AM
● By Sarah Almond
By Sarah Almond / [email protected]
Cottonwood Height - For the members of Brighton High School’s track and field team, running isn’t just something to do after school; it’s a way to be involved in an upbeat, close-knit community.
“I love running track here,” said James DeBore, a senior and one of Brighton’s top sprinters and long jumpers. “The coaching staff is really, really great — especially Rockne. He’ll push you and make you run harder, but he also makes track a good time. He gives you a hard time and stuff and he makes it fun.”
Hurdle and sprint coach Knute Rockne has been coaching track and field at Brighton since 2007. He says that though the team might be a little short in numbers this year, the athletes’ overall dedication to the sport and willingness to improve has make this season stand out.
“With track, we always start out with a pretty big group of kids,” Ryan Bullett, the team’s throwing coach, said. “But by the end of the season a lot of kids cut themselves and we don’t have nearly as many as we started with.”
At the beginning of the 2016 season, nearly 120 athletes came out for track and field. By the end of the season, this number was down to around 60. Bullett says that ideally, Brighton’s track team will have close to 100 consistent participants within the coming years.
“Most of the powerhouse track teams we compete against have around 200 kids,” Bullett said. “Copper Hills and Bingham bring at least 150 kids to meets, so it makes it hard to compete against them with such small numbers.”
Though Brighton has several strong, winning athletes on their track team, events like the high jump and field events like the shot put and javelin throw tend to take the biggest hit when it comes to having a large number of participants.
“We don’t even have a pole vaulting event,” Bullett said. “So when we compete against teams like Copper Hills and others who have pole vault, we don’t score any points there and that really hurts us.”
Despite having a smaller group, Bullett, Rockne and the other track and field coaches are happy to have a group of kids who are dedicated to running and motivated to improve.
“Track is one of those things that you’re motivated to do, you know?” Bullett said. “I’d say that because most of these kids are running right now, they will probably run for the rest of their lives, and I think that’s kind of what makes track so unique.”
Bullett, who is also Brighton’s head football coach, encourages his kids to participate in sports like track and field because it keeps them in good physical shape and improves running and agility skills.
“Usually all of my best players are also track kids,” Bullet said, after pointing out star wide receiver and committed Stanford player Simi Fehoko. “I’ve got my quarterback here, some of my wide receivers, my running back; if I can get 20 or 25 of my football players out here I know that we’ll be better on Friday nights come fall.”
Football players aren’t the only student-athletes moonlighting at Brighton. In fact, many of the participants on the track and field team are also active in other sport teams throughout the year.
“Dani Barton from the volleyball team has jumped over 17 feet in the long jump,” Rockne said. “She’s also run the 400 [meter] in 61 [seconds] so she has really been a pleasant surprise to the team this year.”
Junior hurdler Jordan Brandt, who is also a Bengals cheerleader, says that track and field has helped her be more dedicated to sports.
“I joined track team when I was a freshman, but I didn’t take it really seriously until I was a sophomore,” Jordan said. “I started realizing that I had potential, and that I could be pretty good if I really dedicated myself.”
Along with overall improvement in skill, Jordan thinks what makes this season so unique for the Bengals is their passion for running and dedication to the sport.
“We have a lot of great leaders on the team this year,” Jordan said. “There a lot of older girls who set good examples. They come in every day and show strong dedication and work hard to get better and I think that’s just really helped us be better as a team.”
The track and field team finished their successful 2016 season on May 20.