Central Utah cross-country students represent district well in national meet
PORTLAND, OR — For the second year in a row, several local high school cross country runners tacked on an extra month to their season and traveled to Arizona to participate in the Nike Cross Nationals (Southwest) Regional meet.
Teams from Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah competed in several races culminating in the team event, which determined the automatic qualifiers for the Dec. 3 Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, OR.
This year’s boys’ and girls’ teams from Sanpete consisted of four Wasatch Academy runners, three from North Sanpete, two from Manti, two from Rowland Hall and five from Richfield.
Both the boys and girls teams ran in the small schools division against other similarly sized programs. The highlight of the 2016 races for the Sanpete group was the girls placing second out of twenty teams.
Leading the way for the groups was Rowland Hall’s Astrid Lindgren, 2016 Region 14 Champion, but she was closely followed by Richfield’s SeSe Southwick, Manti’s Madison Norris and Wasatch Academy’s Sheilah Cheruiyot. The time spread among the top four was fifteen seconds (19:38 to 19:53).
“This was a terrific showing by our team’s top girls,” head coach Bill Bedford said. “They all came through with great times on the 5K course.”
Completing the team scoring were Manti’s Allison Bishop, Wasatch’s Ashley Lagat and Rowland Hall’s Ella Vitek.
For the boys, hawk Carl Peel overcame a foot injury to place second on the team to help pace the club to a 16th place finish among the 30 teams registered in the small schools race. Peel’s scoring teammates included all four Richfield runners, who were led by freshman Nick Woolsey. North Sanpete’s Vance Strait and Ethan Bowles, along with Wasatch Academy’s Brayden Butler, who also represented the club in the competition.
In the championship races, Utah’s strength in distance was on display as the top five boys teams were from schools in the Beehive State: American Fork, Davis, Springville, Timpanogos and Olympus. American Fork and Davis punched their all-expenses-paid tickets to Nationals, with the other teams still in the running for at-large bids.