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Taylorsville Journal

Taylorsville track and field: Salami places third at state in shot put; Gledhill paces boys team

Jun 06, 2024 09:30AM ● By Josh McFadden

Aisha Salami placed third at the Class 5A state meet in the shot put. She was one of Taylorsville’s top track and field performers this season. Taylorsville distance runner Preston Gledhill, a senior, was a captain and leader for the Warriors all season. (Photo courtesy of Chad Farnes.)

The Taylorsville track and field team didn’t have the depth and numbers at the state meet to climb high in the final standings. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t some outstanding individual performances. 

The girls placed 15th out of 24 teams at state. Senior Aisha Salami was outstanding, placing third overall in the shot put. She had a top throw of 36 feet 2.25 inches, just 4.75 inches out of second place. She placed second in the preliminary round. 

Going into state, Salami had lofty expectations, which she worked hard to achieve.

“My goal this season is to place at state and break the Taylorsville High record for shotput,” she said. “This is my third year throwing shotput, and I can definitely say that it's been an experience. I want to make a mark in school history for a sport that I thoroughly enjoy. A goal for the team would be to win at least one meet overall, I'm not sure if we have done so yet. We have come close but fell a little short by coming in second. I think it would just satisfy our efforts to perform the best we can.”

Salami started on the track and field team as a freshman and was a four-year contributor for the Warriors. Initially, getting into the sport wasn’t on her radar, but plans changed when she wanted to fill her schedule with something new and different. 

“I started doing track my freshman year after finishing my first year of high school basketball,” she said. “I became accustomed to my after-school schedule, so a few of my friends and I decided to give track a try.”

Taylorsville track and field coach Chad Farnes and the rest of the Warriors on the team are glad she joined. 

Salami has enjoyed the feeling of working hard to achieve goals and see results. She has improved every year, and that has been a gratifying experience. 

“What I enjoy most about the track is how it's centered around improvement,” she said. “Although it's more of an individual sport, the team really supports and pushes each other to do their best. It's satisfying to see your hard work pay off when you [beat your personal record] by throwing farther or running faster.”

In track and field, like other sports, being fast or strong and having the necessary physical skills and attributes is essential. However, there is a mental aspect of the sport, too. Salami said she was good about having a positive attitude and mindset throughout her career. She did her best to not let setbacks bother her but would instead get back to work and try to overcome any challenges. 

“One of my strengths as a track athlete is not getting in my head when I'm not performing up to my standards,” she said. “This is something I stand on as an athlete in general. Rather than sitting down and sulking, I move on and think about what I can do to throw farther or run faster. I would say that I bring laughter to the team. I like to socialize, and that's a factor that makes me look forward to practice. I can't speak for everyone else, but if you have a good relationship with your team, you're more likely to show up and do your part.”

When it comes to be a member of the Taylorsville track and field team, Salami said she has enjoyed the camaraderie and cohesion. It hasn’t been about wins and losses or about times and records. Salami said making new friends and developing relationships will stick with her for years to come. 

“The best thing about being a part of the Taylorsville team is all the new friendships I've formed over the years,” she said. “It's cool to see familiar faces, but meeting new people on the time is more interesting. Also, the coaches are so helpful at helping us better our performance.”

With her high school career now over, Salami has big plans off the track. She intends to attend college, either at Howard, Temple or the University of Utah. Her plan is to study abroad and to major in information systems. 

Salami also wants to see the world and learn about different people and places. 

“Traveling is a passion of mine, so being able to study and uncover different cultures would be a valuable experience for me,” she said. 

Reflecting on her time at Taylorsville as a student and an athlete, Salami is grateful for the mentors and examples she had. She credits her teammates, coaches and family for her achievements and success. 

“They have made the track a more enjoyable experience and have aided me in becoming a stronger athlete,” Salami said. “I credit my coaches, my team and my family for my success. They have supported me and helped shape me into the person and athlete that I am today.”

On the boys side, the Warriors weren’t able to compete as well at state but did have some strong team leaders all year. Farnes highlighted Preston Gledhill, a distance runner and team capatain who has been running rack since seventh grade. Gledhill led a contingent of hard-working runners this season and is grateful for his experiences at Taylorsville.

“I really enjoy the team aspect and just being with people I like and the friends you make,” Gledhill said. “The best part of Taylorsville track is the amount of work our coaches put in for us. I feel like we have some of the most hard-working coaches in the state and that the work ethic translates to all the athletes.”

Gledhill, also a departing senior, wants to study IT in college. He appreciates his parents and coaches for helping him enjoy his time as a Warrior. 

“I credit a lot of my success to my parents, mainly my dad,” he said. “He has pushed me more than anyone to just get better. I also credit my coaches. They have always helped all long the way. Also, I credit the friends I’ve made along the way, because running is way more fun when you have the opportunity to run with someone.”

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