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West Jordan Journal

Jaguar breaks 22-year-old school track record

Jul 29, 2020 12:29PM ● By Greg James

By Greg James | [email protected] 

A 22-year-old West Jordan school track record in the boys 800-meter run has been broken by senior Austin Klingler. 

His time of 1:51.11 broke the record and set a top five-time in the country. He broke the record June 20 at the Utah Club Championships held at Taylorsville High School.

“Several schools around the country have contacted us about him,” Jaguar track coach Taylor Hatch said. “Austin is a super good runner and has very good form.”

The original school record was established in 1998 by former Jaguar Rob Erickson.

“I really thought I would get my name on the board eventually,” Klinger said referring to the record board hanging in the hallway near the school's gymnasium. “To break the record by a couple of seconds opened my eyes a little bit. It makes me feel good because of all the hard work I have put in especially over the quarantine time.”

The COVID virus forced the shutdown of school activities. Klingler was forced to train on his own. His coach (Hatch) sent him training plans to follow. Riley Burrup trained with him during the layoff.

“Riley and I worked together,” Klinger said. “I think the 800 suits my style of running. I am not huge and bulky with a lot of muscle. I have good endurance. The 800 is a race between sprinting and distance.” 

As a sophomore, he took fifth in state in the 400. This spring the plan was for him to run both the 400 and 800.

“Austin is a humble kid,” Hatch said. “The 800 is one of the hardest races. It is in between a sprint and a distance race. The athletes don’t go full-out sprint, but they need to stay consistent. It is also a mental race. You can feel the lactic acid building up in your body.”

Austin began running track his freshman year. He was a basketball player and joined the team at the insistence of his older brother. 

“I wanted to do something new,” he said. “I really wanted to see how fast I was; now I may have a future. Running track is a lot harder than what people think it is.”

Klingler carries a 3.6 grade point average and is the son of Bryan and Mindie Klingler. 

Hatch has been a coach at the school for four years and is excited for the things the athletes have done.

“We could start to make an impact,” she said. “We had other runners who have set marks and have competed at the collegiate level.”

Graduated senior Gentry Pierce hit times and earned a scholarship to Southern Utah University. Sheri Nima will run for the University of Utah.

“This year was tough,” Hatch said. “Several runners just stopped training when the virus started. We certainly have a good team and should make an impact.” 

Hatch has helped organize the Jaguar track Club to help athletes during the offseason.