Runners from area high schools and colleges competed at the Utah Olympic Oval Feb. 23 in the second annual GoldenSprint Challenge Invitational track and field sprint event. Sprinters competed in the 60 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters sprints, and the 60 meters hurdles race.
The meet, sanctioned by the USA Track and Field Association, is the dream of Akwasi Frimpong, Dutch Olympic level athlete and UVU student. He hopes to inspire more youth to participate in sports – especially track and field. To kick off this goal, he partnered with the Utah Olympic Oval to put together this meet to promote local and international athletes.
The name of the meet, “GoldenSprint,” is one of Frimpong’s nicknames he earned when racing as an illegal African immigrant in the Netherlands. His Dutch coaches gave him golden track shoes after his first Dutch National win.
The fastest men’s and women’s sprinters at the GoldenSprint Challenge followed Frimpong’s footsteps and took home the first GoldenSprint Spikes Trophies. Kassie Jensen, Chandler Rieske, Dak Kleven, Arlene Gowar, Parker Landgren, and Nicole Laws gained this coveted honor. In the 60m hurdles, Nicole won the finals with a time of 9.26, beating out Christine Van Brocklin of Davis. Laws’ time in the prelims was actually faster at 9.13 which is her second best time of the season.
“Every time I have the opportunity to give away a GoldenSprint Spikes trophy, I help educate, inspire, motivate and support individuals from all walks of life in their pursuit of success and happiness,” Frimpong said.
“I was overwhelmed with our success this year. Last year when I started the GoldenSprint Challenge Invitational Track & Field meet, we had nine athletes and 10 spectators. This year we had about 300 participants and spectators in total,” Frimpong said.
Frimpong said his goal is to promote sprinting and training in Utah, and involve local students, athletes and the community.
“With the long winters in Utah, it’s important to be able to train indoors at the legendary Utah Olympic Oval. Plus, it’s a very fast track,” he said.
Frimpong said he and his team would not have been able to put this event together without the following partners and sponsors: Nike, Wal-Mart, Utah Olympic Oval, Utah USATF Officials, , McGee’s Stamp and Trophy, Runner’s Corner and Carrabba’s Italian Grill.