The Grand County High School cross country team began its season at the Highland Invitational in Salt Lake City on Friday, Aug. 17, putting in some strong times, despite brutal conditions.
There were freshman, sophomore, junior varsity and varsity divisions for both boys and girls. The Red Devils all ran in either the junior varsity (JV) division or the freshman division. They had enough runners in the boys JV division for a team score, placing 12th out of 40 teams, most of which were 4A to 6A, whereas Grand is 3A. Junior Evan Ellison finished eighth in the race, clocking a 16:48, while teammate Malachi Ricks finished in 12th place at 17:10. Senior Jameson Hawks ran a 19:19 to finish 105th out of more than 400 runners, while junior Soren Indergard finished 117th with a time of 19:21. In the freshman race, newcomer Arthur Hawks ran a 17:29 for fourth place.
“We’ve had an eye on Arthur Hawks for a couple of years, but he exceeded our expectation,” said Randy Martin, Red Devil cross country coach. “Nothing seems to bother him. The pressure of racing 300 other runners didn’t faze him a bit. We’re excited for his future.”
Martin said he also has high expectations for Ellison and Ricks.
“They’re coming off a strong season and hoping to move up even more this year,” he said. “They put in a lot of work during the summer. In June and July, Malachi ran 59 out of 60 days.”
With Ellison, Ricks and Arthur Hawks, the Red Devils have a solid top three. Martin said that if another runner steps up to claim the four spot, the Red Devils will be a formidable team.
Rounding out the boys performances, Jonathan Martineau ran a 21:11, Cameron Stotz ran a 22:04, Carson Whitney ran a 22:06 and Daniel Thayer ran a 26:15.
The girls were short-handed with only five runners finishing races. Jessie Anderson ran a 22:44 for 51st place, while Mercedes Zunich ran a 23:05 for 58th. Freshman Bella Welch ran a 24:10 for 40th in her race. Rounding out the ladies’ finishes, Rachel Thompson ran a 30:56 and Lorena Johnson ran a 31:36
“We were a little light,” Martin said. “We had three or four runners who weren’t able to make it for one reason or another.”
Keys among those missing were sophomores Kylah Ricks, who placed second in state last year; and Anika Scherer, in 15th place. Kylah was held out of the race because of illness, while Scherer doubles as a member of the Lady Red Devils soccer team and had a prior soccer commitment, Martin said.
Because of the harsh conditions in Salt Lake City, Martin said it’s hard to determine where the Red Devils stand in the grand scheme. Runners contended with extreme heat and humidity, as well as smoke in the Salt Lake Valley, causing 12 runners to be hospitalized and another 20 to 30 to be treated onsite by emergency medical services.
“We’ll have a much better idea where we stand after this weekend,” Martin said.
The Red Devils return to Salt Lake City for the Westlake Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 25, at 8 a.m.
Grand clocks solid times, especially from newcomers
“We’ve had an eye on Arthur Hawks for a couple of years, but he exceeded our expectation. Nothing seems to bother him. The pressure of racing 300 other runners didn’t faze him a bit. We’re excited for his future.”