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Sandy Journal

Jordan cross country works on personal bests

Oct 28, 2016 11:39AM ● By Billy Swartzfager

Some of the 2016 Jordan cross-country team after an event earlier this season. (Andrew Yawn/Jordan Coach)

By Billy Swartzfager | [email protected]

Sandy, Utah - Andrew Yawn is a first-year cross-country coach at Jordan High School. His team is young, vastly inexperienced and few in numbers. But that hasn’t stopped the coach from expecting a competitive squad to step onto the track and it hasn’t stopped the youth involved from reaching for more, believing in themselves and that success is within their grasp.

“We stress self-competition and doing better each day, whether that is practice or a meet,” Yawn said.

The team this season is led by a low number of senior runners, seven boys and two girls, while the rest of the group is mostly sophomores and juniors. Joe Jewkes, a senior, has been Jordan’s leading runner all season on the boys side of the team and Hanna Dotson, also a senior, is cutting the path for the girls group.

The goals for the team are as varied as the kids on it. Some of the more experienced runners have goals that pertain to running at the region and state level, while many of the younger, inexperienced runners have set goals that are more about their personal bests.

“We really emphasize personal records because individual success usually leads to team success,” Yawn said.

Yawn, who also ran at Jordan High School, loves running and really wants to establish the feeling that running is a fun thing to do and a very good way to see self-improvement. The cross-country team at Jordan is made up of kids running at all sorts of skill levels, and Yawn believes each and every kid on the team can set goals that will allow them to improve and build their confidence for the future, whether that be running or something else.

“I want our kids to feel like running is fun as opposed to them thinking that it is a form of punishment,” Yawn said.

Having such a young team, a team that doesn’t have much competitive experience, can be difficult, but the coach, as well as his assistants, hopes their approach will eventually lead to long-term success as their current runners mature and new ones come into the program.

“We try to focus on what we can control ourselves rather than what other teams or other runners are doing,” Yawn said.

The coaching staff at Jordan, consisting of Yawn, another assistant who also ran at Jordan and another assistant who coached both when they were teenagers, has a solid and unified approach to positivity and focus on reachable goals. According to Yawn, that philosophy and approach led to a state championship while he was a runner at Jordan. 

The team has run in several meets this year, taking fourth a couple of times and second at their first meet in Stansbury. According to Yawn, running in the various meets allows his runners to see both good teams and teams that are currently building for future seasons. 

“It’s good for them to see where they are and where they could go if they stick to it,” Yawn said.

The state meet was held on Oct. 19 at Sugarhouse Park. The Jordan cross-country runners got a lot out of the race, whether competing for a winning time or a time that will be a new personal best.