The Grand County High School girls cross country team poses with the trophy after taking second at the UHSAA Utah State 3A Cross Country Championship race on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at Sugar House Park in Salt Lake City. [Photo courtesy of Barry Ellison]

Grand County High School sophomore Kylah Ricks outran the field at the UHSAA Utah State 3A Cross Country Championship race, which took place at Sugar House Park in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Oct. 17. Ricks won the individual title with a time of 19:09.8, helping lead the Lady Red Devils to a second-place team finish to bring the school its first-ever cross country trophy in state competition.

“Kylah ran a very smart race start to finish,” GCHS cross country coach Randy Martin said of Ricks, who beat out second-place Sophie Earley of Morgan, who ran a 19:33.8. “Hats off to her.”

Ricks was joined in the top 10 by junior Ali Hirt, who placed 10th at 20:37.9, edging Richfield senior SeOnna Southwick in a photo finish for the final spot on the all-state team. Martin said that officials had to confirm in a pressbox replay that Hirt’s lean at the finish line put her just ahead of Southwick, who officially ran a 20:38.0.

Sophomore Anika Scherer was the third Lady Red Devil across the line, finishing 13th at 20:36.1. She was followed by junior Jessie Anderson in 24th at 21:26.1, and freshman Bella Welch in 47th at 23:04.5, giving Grand a team score of 89 points. Morgan placed first with 62 points and region-rival Richfield took third with 93 points. Seniors Sadie Farnsworth (54th, 23:28.3) and Mercedes Zunich (65th, 24:32.7) also ran the race.

“It was a very exciting day for the girls,” Martin said. He later added: “Morgan is a great team and they’ll have everyone back, just like we will. With some hard work over the next year, we can be right there at the top with them competing for first place.”

The Red Devil boys also had a pair of runners in the top 10 as junior Evan Ellison ran fifth at 16:35.0 and junior Malachi Ricks ran seventh at 16:44.3. Freshman Arthur Hawks finished 13th for the Red Devils, running at 17:05.1.

“Arthur had the third-fastest freshman time in the entire state (1A-6A),” Martin said. “To add some perspective, Ryan Lewis, who is one of the greatest runners in school history, ran 18:30 as a freshman at state.”

Junior Soren Indergard was next for the Red Devils in 57th place at 18:33.9, while junior Jameson Hawks took 65th at 18:50.4, giving Grand a tie for fourth with Union at 132 points, but the Cougars won the tiebreaker as their sixth runner took 38th, while Grand’s sixth runner, senior Stan Johnson, took 78th at 19:41.4.

“GCHS cross country has proven to be one of the top programs in Utah,” Martin said. “Taking second and (fifth) in the same year is an incredible accomplishment. I’m looking forward to building on it next year.”

“It was a very exciting day for the girls.”

Red Devils’ Kylah Ricks wins individual title; Hirt edges into top 10 by tenth of a second