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Murray Journal

Murray track and field focuses on learning, getting most out of experience

Apr 05, 2024 11:08AM ● By Josh McFadden

The Murray track and field captains are doing an excellent job both on and off the track. Team captain are, from left: Kate Bowen, Mariko Jessop, Lyn Sullivan, Parker Nelson, Bradley Teran and Joshua Zullo. (Photo courtesy of JennaBree Tollestrup)

Spring sports such as track and field can often be the victims of unpredictable weather. But at Murray High School, the team’s athletes bring a positive attitude rain, snow or shine. 

The Spartans, led by head coach JennaBree Tollestrup, are working hard to build a solid program. The team comprises both experienced veterans and young newcomers, all eager to learn and improve each day. 

Tollestrup focuses on the fundamentals of each event and establishing team camaraderie. 

“Our team has done a phenomenal job opening up our season and getting some first time marks out,” she said. “Our main focus this season is to establish proper form and build upon that foundation. Success comes when we see the benefits of sport enrich the lives of our student athletes. One of our team’s greatest strengths is that they support each other on and off the track.”

As a coach, Tollestrup can ask nothing more of her athletes than to do their best and be willing to learn. She said the Spartan track and field team members have the right mindset. 

“Each day is a learning opportunity, and our team does well to show up,” she said. “They work hard, and they are eager to improve which is all ask of them.”

Many track and field members are inexperienced freshman who have never participated in the sport before. This can be challenging for the athletes and the coaching staff, but it offers some teaching and growing chances too. 

“It is a great opportunity for them to be involved and makes it exciting for us as coaches to have them on our team,” she said. 

Spartan team captains Kate Bowen and Lyn Sullivan, seniors, along with junior captains Mariko Jessop, Parker Nelson, Bradley Teran and Joshua Zullo lead the team with their performances and examples. Bowen and Jessop are throwers, while Sullivan does hurdles and throws. Nelson is the team’s top distance runner. Teran does hurdles and sprints, while Zullo is a talented sprinter as well. 

Other notable team members include freshman Myley Peterson, who runs the 200 meters, and Spencer Bushman, a 110-meter hurdler. Libby Cottle and Mackenzie Hepworth are relay team members. Also, sprinters Alex Bojorquez and Evan Talbot are working hard to improve their times. 

“Our six captains have shown leadership skills that we want to emulate throughout our team,” Tollestrup said.

Murray will work toward qualifying as many athletes as possible for the Class 4A state meet, May 16–18 at Brigham Young University. Regardless of how many team members get that far, Tollestrup is happy with her athletes, including with the things they are doing outside of the sport. 

“The positive attitude and work ethic of these athletes is what makes coaching them so enjoyable,” she said. “They are juggling a lot outside of school and sports, which I admire them for that. They are very impressive. So as a coach, I strive to make our workouts as efficient and effective as possible while still having fun and growing together as a team.” λ