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Sandy Journal

Jordan athletes earn state medals in track

Jun 18, 2018 03:08PM ● By Jana Klopsch

Sophomore Jaedin Johnson finished third overall in the 100-meter dash at the state 5A track meet. (Photo by Tayvon Chamale)

By Ron Bevan | r.bevan@mycityjournals.com

Four members of Jordan’s track teams finished with individual medals in the 2018 state 5A track and field finals. Three athletes earned their medals in field events, while one used his speed to place high in the sprints.

Senior Joe Dumsa finished second overall in the high-jump event. Senior Nicole Freestone finished second overall in the javelin and fourth in the discus. Junior Natalie Lewis finished fifth in the shot put. And sophomore Jaedin Johnson was third in the finals of the 100-meter dash.

First appearances can be deceiving with Dumsa, son of Joshua Dumsa and Veinab Lako of Sandy. At just 5'8", Joe Dumsa doesn’t have the appearance of his much taller competitors. But he jumped eight inches higher than his height to clear the bar at 6'6" and take runner-up honors.

“People are always surprised with how high I can jump,” Joe Dumsa said.

Track wasn’t on Joe Dumsa’s radar when he first entered high school. His sport was basketball, and he represented the Beetdiggers on the court as a point guard through his entire high school career.

It was during his junior year, while on the basketball court, that the track seed was planted inside Joe Dumsa.

“My basketball coach (Tallin Robinson) was always impressed with my abilities to jump on the court,” Joshua Dumsa said. “He told me to try out for the track team. My first year I won region. Ever since I decided to stick with it.”

Joe Dumsa also competes as a long jumper, where his best jump of the season was 20'1". He missed that mark at state, and settled for 18th place at 17'2.75".

He is considering an opportunity to compete at the next level for Westminster College, but hasn’t ruled out other schools that may be interested. He plans on studying forensics while in college.

Freestone, daughter of Kevin and Dian Freestone of Sandy, used a 123'8.25" heave to take second in the javelin. She was also first in her flight in the discus, but finished fourth in the finals with a throw of 111'3.5"

“Although they seem different, all the throws are pretty much related,” Nicole Freestone said. “Once you hit the initial block you use your hips to gain power. The discus and the javelin, however, use a different part of the shoulder on the release.”

Nicole Freestone first competed in the javelin as a freshman, then added the discus one year later.

“I grew up watching it and always liked it,” she said. “My older sisters competed in the javelin, and my brothers did all three throws.”

Nicole Freestone has committed to competing with the javelin for Brigham Young University, where she will study nursing.

Johnson was another case of an athlete who hadn’t considered track at first. It took a couple of coaches to help the son of Regan and Mi Yung Johnson see what he could do.

“When I came into high school as a freshman, I didn’t realize I was fast,” Jaedin Johnson said. “I thought I was just normal. “

It was in gym class where a basketball coach and a baseball coach saw him and recommended he try his luck at track.

“They put it in the back of my head,” Jaedin Johnson said. “When it got close to the track season I decided to try out.”

The first season Jaedin Johnson felt he wasn’t the best runner.

“But I could keep up with the other runners even though my technique wasn’t the best,” he said. “Every race I went in I gained confidence.”

In the last offseason Jaedin Johnson worked with running coaches to improve his sprint abilities. He then continued to improve up through the state meet.