The Grand County High School (GCHS) cross country team ran in Provo at the Timpview Invite on Oct. 2, where a 1-2 finish by Malachi Ricks and Evan Ellison led the Red Devil boys to a fifth-place team finish. Kylah Ricks placed second in the girls race.

For the boys, Ellison and Ricks ran two very different races with nearly identical results. Ricks ran strong from the start, claiming the lead after mile one of the three-mile race and never relinquishing it, while Ellison struggled the first mile, before gritting his way back to the front. Malachi Ricks finished at 16:00.2, and Ellison finished at 16:03.8.

“Malachi ran a great race from start to finish,” GCHS cross country coach Randy Martin said. “He got ahead and ran in the lead for the last two miles.”

The one-two punch of Ricks and Ellison was followed by sophomore Arthur Hawks in 22rd place at 17:18.4, and seniors Jonathan Martineau and Soren Indergard in 76th and 77th at 19:34.5 and 19:34.6. “Arthur ran a great race,” Martin said. “He was hurt and struggling early on in the season, but he’s rounding back into form.”

GCHS received 159 points, good for fifth place. Mountain Ridge won the meet with 30 points.

GCHS was originally scheduled to run at the Sanpete Classic in Fairview, but switched to the Timpview Invite because Provo is closer and there’s fresh competition, Martin said.

GCHS only fielded three runners in the girls varsity race, not registering a team score. Kylah Ricks finished in second place overall at 18:19.8, about 15 seconds behind Alta’s Morgan Jensen. Also running for GCHS, Jessie Anderson finished 36th at 21:29.4, and Rachel Thompson finished 77th at 26:36.9.

“For anybody to beat Kylah, they have to run an excellent race,” Martin said. “Kylah was on (Jensen’s) hip for the first two miles but started to fall off a little at the end. At region and state, we know she’ll be right there at the top.”

GCHS also had two runners in the boys junior varsity race and three runners in the girls junior varsity race. Daniel Thayer finished 117th (20:09.3) and Tyler Stash finished 126th (20:21.3) for the boys; and Bella Welch finished 31th (23:27.3), Lorena Johnson finished 53rd (24:16.5) and Alexa Stripeika finished 111th (26:36.5) for the girls.

The Red Devils’ next race is the Region 12 Championship meet in Price on Tuesday, Oct. 15.

“The boys teams in our region, like Richfield and Carbon, are some of the best in the state, so we’re going to have to run our absolute best to qualify for state,” Martin said. “On the girls side, with runners like Kylah and Jessie and Anika Scherer, our goal is to repeat as region champion.”

Ricks, Ellison claim top two spots in boys’ race