Provo • In the pantheon of great distance runners that have come through East high school, senior Natalie Shields moved to the front of the line when she ran 10 minutes, 22.89 seconds in the 3,200 meters, breaking Rosy Gardner’s 18-year-old state record of 10:24.78.
Shields took the lead from the gun, hit the half-way mark at 5:11, then closed solidly over the final 800 to outdistance Erica Birk of North Summit, who clocked 10:34.66.
“I felt pretty good this morning and I knew I was right there after a mile,” Shields said. “I’ve been looking at Rosy’s times for the last few years and it is very satisfying to know all of my hard work paid off.”
Shields plans on running the 1,600 on Saturday, where she will be gunning for another Gardner record of 4:51.21.
In the only other running final of the day, Park City junior Ben Saarel fought his way up to a pack of eight with two laps to go, then did enough on the final lap to win the 3,200 in 9:16.35.
“With 300 to go I just told myself to do whatever I had to do,” he said.
The Park City track team wasn’t done, though, as junior Megan Glasmann missed her own state record in the javelin by four inches — but won by more than 20 feet — and finished second in the discus with a personal best of 129 feet,11/2 inches.
Pine View’s Jake Arslanian and Murray’s Tyler Liddiard were the only athletes to break 11 seconds in 100 qualifying, while Timpview’s Lauran Baxter had the top qualifying time in the girls 100 at 12.24.
Action continues Saturday with field events beginning at 8 a.m. and running events at 9 a.m.
BYU Invitational highlights
R East’s Natalie Shields runs 10:22.89 in the 3,200 to break a 1994 state record held by former East runner Rosy Gardner.
• Prior to the start of Friday’s competition, Fremont’s Tyler Stringham won the decathlon with 5,962 points and Weber’s Mykah Heaton captured the heptathlon with 4,454 points.
• Class 3A dominates the meet. In addition to Park City athletes Ben Saarel and Megan Glasmann winning titles in the 3A-5A 3,200 meters and javelin, respectively, Union’s Audrey Muir captured the girls’ high jump with a leap of 5-6.