The Grand County High School (GCHS) cross country team ran a pair of meets the last week of September.
The first competition was at the John Thornton Invitational in Blanding on Wednesday, Sept. 26, before the team competed at the Park City Invitational on Friday, Sept. 28, where the Red Devils represented the smallest school at the meet, which coach Randy Martin said is one of the largest meets in the state.
The Red Devil girls were led in Park City by sophomore Kylah Ricks, who ran her fastest time of the season at 18:47.6, placing third in the race. She was followed by junior Jessie Anderson in 42nd at 21:08.9, and senior Sadie Farnsworth in 89th at 23:00.9. In the junior varsity race, freshman Bella Welch ran 28th at 23:49.4, and freshman Lorena Johnson ran 185th at 28:33.2.
“For Kylah to finish third among 5A and 6A teams is an incredible accomplishment, especially since she’s only a sophomore,” Martin said.
For the boys, junior Evan Ellison ran 12th at 16:26.9, and junior Malachi Ricks ran 16th at 16:30.4.
“For both Evan and Malachi to finish near the top of the race was really exciting,” Martin said. “They both ran a personal best time for the season. It bodes well for the next two weeks.”
The Red Devils had a 10th place finish out of 18 teams with at least five runners in the varsity race. Martin said having enough runners to field a full team in varsity, and finishing in the middle of the pack among much larger schools, shows how far the program has come in the past few years.
“It shows just how well-developed our program has become over the past three years, that we can go to a Park City meet and compete,” he said.
Rounding out Grand’s varsity runners in the race were freshman Arthur Hawks in 47th place at 17:12.2, junior Jameson Hawks in 133rd place at 19:08.7, and senior Stan Johnson in 150th place at 19:40.8. In the junior varsity division, junior Jonathan Martineau ran 152nd at 21:16.9, freshman Cameron Stotz ran 157th at 21:23.4, and freshman Daniel Thayer ran 226th at 30:02.5.
Two days earlier, in Blanding, Martin said the Red Devils experimented with a strategy of running in a pack, in order for the faster runners to help improve their teammates behind them. For the boys, Arthur Hawks finished 12th at 20:02.4, while Malachi Ricks finished 15th at 20:12.3, and junior Soren Indergard finshed 19th at 20:42.5. Ellison finished 20th at 20:43.0, and Jameson Hawks finished 21st at 20:50.8.
In the next group, Stan Johnson finished 28th at 22:19.9, and junior Carson Whitney finished 29th at 22:24.1. Martineau placed 30th at 22:23.0, and Stotz finished 37th at 23:18.2.
Monticello won the meet with five of the top 10 finishers, scoring 17 points, while GCHS took second with 57 points.
For the girls, Martin said the goal was for Kylah Ricks and sophomore Anika Scherer to take first and second place, which they did, as Ricks ran a 21:40.6 and Scherer ran a 22:36.3. Anderson ran a little below her regular pace in an effort to help Welch’s time, finishing seventh at 24:18.1, while Welch took 10th at 24:56.7.
Senior Mercedes Zunich took 15th at 25:47.0, Farnsworth took 19th at 26:33.2, and junior Rachel Thompson took 40th at 29:43.7. As a team, San Juan took first with 30 points, while the Red Devils were one point behind with 31.
The next race for GCHS is the Region 15 Championship, of which the Red Devils are this year’s host. The race is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, Oct. 9, at 4 p.m., at the Moab Golf Club.
“We’re going to be working hard this week, fine-tuning things for region,” Martin said. “We invite everyone to come watch the race. It will be a fun afternoon.”
Kylah Ricks cracks top three in race among larger schools
“It shows just how well-developed our program has become over the past three years, that we can go to a Park City meet and compete.”
When: Tuesday, Oct. 9, at 4 p.m.
Where: Moab Golf Club, 2705 East Bench Rd.