Olympus track has historic season to send off long-time coach
Jul 25, 2017 12:10PM ● Published by Jesse Sindelar
The 4 x 400 team stands on the first-place podium after barely finishing ahead. (Anna Mitchell/Holladay)
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By Jesse Sindelar | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Olympus track team has been under the helm of coach Mike Kushlan for 24 years, with coach Todd Mitchell by his side for the last six.
With this year being Kushlan’s last, the team did not want to disappoint.
Nor did they. Both the girls and the boys were Region 6 champions for the second year in a row, and the boys finished second overall at state.
“This year was pretty great. Several school records were set and we had state champions in the 400 (Mussa Mahitula) and 4 x 400 (Max Spence, Brayan Chavez, Jima Rout, Mussa Mahitula),” Mitchell said.
The 80-strong team was split down the middle of boys and girls, with both sides competing as sprinters, jumpers, distance runners and throwers.
At the state tournament, the boys team performed well enough that going into the last meet, they had a chance to take home a first- or second-place trophy.
“(To take home a trophy) a lot of things had to go in our favor,” Mitchell said.
And while things did go in their favor, it was not without heroic performances from the whole team.
“On the final day of competition, all of the boys really stepped up and had many lifetime best performances. We were really proud of how everyone performed under pressure, and a total team effort allowed us to finish second, our best team performance in more than 25 years,” Mitchell said.
For Kushlan, who coached 24 of those 25 years, the send-off was perfect.
There were some memorable performances from the boys team to clinch second, including Kayden Hossfeld’s long jump and Spence’s and Nate Osterstock’s performances in distance races.
However, the most memorable, according to Mitchell, was Mahitula’s winning last leg in the 4 x 400.
“Seeing Mussa hang on to win the 4 x 400 for us in his fourth event of the day by .01 seconds was incredible. Definitely the best 4 x 400 I’ve ever witnessed and fun to come out on top in a thrilling race,” Mitchell said.
With Kushlan retired, Mitchell is the head honcho now, and the goals for the future are simple: sustain this level of competition.