The Grand County High School cross country team encountered some travel-related obstacles on their way to competing at the BYU Autumn Classic on Saturday, Sept. 15.

The meet was penciled in to take place in Provo at Eastbay Golf Course, but race officials moved the race to Logan because of the smoke from the Pole Creek fire. Grand, however, already had hotel reservations in Provo that they could not cancel, so they had to stay overnight Friday in Provo, then board the bus early Saturday morning for the two-and-a-half-hour drive to Logan in time for the race at 10 a.m.

Red Devil sophomore Kylah Ricks ran a 19:22.6 to place 15th in the varsity girls race, overtaking the No. 1 ranking in 3A from Morgan freshman Sophie Earley by just shy of five seconds. Ricks was followed by junior Jessie Anderson, who ran 22:02.6 for 99th in the varsity race. Freshman Bella Welch ran 25:00.7 for 74th in the freshman/sophomore race and junior Rachel Thompson ran a 27:36.3 for 97th in junior varsity.

For the boys, junior Malachi Ricks took 59th in the varsity race at 17:04.6, followed by junior Evan Ellison in 63rd at 17:09.9. Freshman Arthur Hawks took 19th in the freshman/sophomore race at 17:59.2, while junior Jameson Hawks ran 20:02.8 for 170th in the varsity race.

“Kylah, Malachi and Evan ran good races, but everyone else, we struggled,” Grand cross country coach Randy Martin said. “Getting up and riding the bus to the race, getting out of routine — we had a tough time.”

After the race, the cross country team encountered even more travel inconvenience thanks to the Pole Creek fire, having to reroute through Salina, which added more than two hours to the team’s travel time, making them late to, or unable to attend, the homecoming dance.

“We were hoping to get home at about 4 p.m., and wound up getting home at 6:30,” Martin said. “By the time we got to Moab, we had kids bouncing off the walls of the bus, they were so anxious.”

The Red Devils were scheduled to run at Emery on Wednesday, Sept. 19, in a two-team meet, the first of which Martin has seen in his coaching career, he said. Martin said his goal for the meet was to have a 1-2 finish in the boys race and a 1-2-3 finish in the girls race.

The Red Devils next compete at the John Thornton Invitational in Blanding on Wednesday, Sept. 26, at 4 p.m.

“By the time we got to Moab, we had kids bouncing off the walls of the bus, they were so anxious.”

What: John Thornton Invitational

When: Wednesday, Sept. 26, at 4 p.m.

Where: Race begins and ends at the Visitor’s Center in Blanding, 12 N. Grayson Parkway, and runs along the Pacheco Trail