Ella Spear set to run track at Division I Utah Tech


Ella Spear signs her letter of intent to run track at Utah Tech.

Camryn Costello, Reporter

Not many people can say they won a state championship, but Ella Spear has claimed the title of fastest 400m runner in the state. Last outdoor track season Spear had a goal of reaching one of the top spots in the state, and on May 21st  that dream became a reality. Spear was also awarded the Best of the Best award. This means she not only placed first in 4A in the 400 but she ran faster than all finishers from 1A, 2A and 3A combined. Spear recently signed to continue her track career at Utah Tech, a Division I NCAA school. 

In the 400m prelims Spear took first by 0.16 seconds and this gave her confidence for the finals. She PR’d (personal record) in the finals and finished with a time of 58.33, which was 0.42 seconds faster than her opponent Addison Forry from Laramie High School. Along with first in the 400m, Spear placed 6th in the 100m, 5th in the 200m and 4th in the 4×4 during state. 

This journey wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for Spear. She suffered back injuries her freshman year, then the COVID 19 pandemic started and canceled her outdoor season in 2020. Spear has also suffered from shin splints throughout her career. And her sophomore state track experience didn’t go the way everyone anticipated. Spear slipped on the wet track during the 200 and unfortunately wasn’t able to compete in the rest of her events. 

Even with setbacks, just months before her state championship Spear was able to use these losses to motivate her. The 2022 indoor season didn’t go the way I wanted it to. But all in all, they are all things I can look back on and grow from,” said Spear.  

Spear will be continuing her track career at Utah Tech in the fall semester. She received a full ride scholarship to run the 400 during the track season. She considered other schools such as Weber State and Colorado State but Utah tech stuck out the most. Spear explained one thing that attracted her was that “the school is growing fast and has many new facilities.” She also gets along well with the team and coaches. According to Spear, the university has a great program for Exercise Science and Pre-Med, which Spear plans to focus on during here time there.

Spear made a strong impression on many of her coaches in high school, including Coach Brent Jurgensen. “Even as a freshman she ran with a confidence that comes from knowing that she was capable of competing with anyone,” said Jurgensen. He explained that one reason for her success is her confidence in herself and her coaches. 

NCs new mid distance coach, Aaron Cleare, coached Spear in her junior year last season when she won state. “The thing that stands out about Ella more than anything is her tenacity, never to give up, to try new things, and willingness to straighten the area in which she struggles,” said Cleare. “Even when she loses a race, she learns from it. She might not show it, but I can tell she’s bothered when she loses a race and works even harder to rectify that loss.”

Besides being a three sport athlete, Spear has also taken 8 IB classes at Natrona and holds a 4.0 GPA. Speaking about the coaches she’s worked with over the years, Spear explained they will continue to be a motivating factor in her future. “They demanded a lot out of me, but all that work had great results. They’re some of my biggest supporters, on and off the track, and I want to make them proud,” said Spear. 

“The sky is the limit with Ella in what she can do,” said Cleare.