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Herriman Journal

Another strong season expected for Mountain Ridge track

Apr 09, 2024 10:20AM ● By Josh McFadden

The Mountain Ridge track team has stellar athletes on both the boys and girls squads. The team is aiming for a Region 2 title.

Much like his cross country team that had a solid season this past fall, James Barnes’ cross country team at Mountain Ridge should be among the top teams in the 6A state meet in May. 

If early meets are any indication, it could be a solid year for the Sentinels. The team placed seventh in the season-opening Early Bird Invite at Lone Peak High School—and that was with missing several key athletes, Barnes said. 

For Mountain Ridge, anything less than a region title and competing well at state would be a disappointment. Reaching those goals could also require getting more students to come out for track and field. 

“We, of course, are looking to win our region again and place in the top three at state,” Barnes said. “We need to focus on the big picture and get more athletes on the team to work toward our goals as a team.”

In track and field, like swimming and wrestling, the more team members a team has that reach state, the better chance the team has of scoring points and moving up the standings. For the Sentinels, athletes can score points in just about every event at any given meet. The Sentinels have a lot of underclassmen. 

“We have a young, well-rounded team,” Barnes said. 

 On the boys’ side, Barnes has good things to say about seniors Jaren Barnes and Nathan Burningham, who are top distance and mid-distance runners. Senior Adam Hawkes is a talented thrower. Barnes calls junior Adam Wightman “probably the best pole vaulter in the state.” Junior Adam (Beef) Winterton is the team’s top sprinter, while juniors Tate Day and Taylor Higham join Hawkes as capable throwers. 

The girls team has some standout performers, too. 

Senior distance runner Cailey Bracken, senior sprinter Nevaleigh Dinkel and senior thrower Kaitlyn Bailey are good leaders and talented athletes. Junior Carly Trujilo, a thrower and junior sprinters Kinzlee Riddle and Natale Shober are big contributors, too. 

Even with the team’s top performers, Barnes would like to see improvement in some areas. As the athletes do this, they can reach their potential, and so can the team. 

“We need to improve on building confidence in [the athletes’] abilities and capabilities,” he said. “They need to put in solid efforts at practice every day and support their teammates.”

Being in a tough region and facing good teams affords both challenges and opportunities for the Sentinels. Barnes is optimistic that Mountain Ridge is building something special.

“A challenge is getting athletes to work toward the team goals and learn that they can do hard things,” he said. “We have some great opportunities to have a great season and start a new dynasty in track and field in the future. We will have several kids this year and next that will receive scholarships.”

For Barnes, there is nothing better than working with talented athletes and seeing them get even better. He loves the chance to help athletes discover new skills, too. He also marvels at the quality of athletes and coaches at Mountain Ridge. 

“I love track and field because it is athletics, if you are an athlete, you can find events that you will be good at,” Barnes said. “I also like getting athletes from all of the other sports to join forces on one team; it is a fun aspect of the sport. We have an awesome coaching staff at Mountain Ridge (almost all of the coaches have been Division 1 athletes, and most of them have won state titles or were All-Americans themselves). We have a great group of young athletes with a lot of potential to do great things.” λ



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