The state cross country championship meets will look a lot different this year than in the past, but the goal remains the same: bringing home a state title.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated restrictions, the state meet could not take place at Sugar House Park and Highland High School in Salt Lake City, as is tradition. Instead, runners from classes 1A, 2A and 4A will compete at Cedar High School in Cedar City on Wednesday, while classes 3A, 5A and 6A will run at Soldier Hollow in Midway on Thursday.
Here’s a look at the runners set to represent Tooele County this week.
On Thursday, Grantsville’s boys and girls will take to the course at Solider Hollow with the same lineups they fielded in the Region 13 championship meet Oct. 13. Both teams finished third at the Cottonwood Complex, and will look to build on those performances.
Ellie Lowery finished sixth in the girls’ region title race for the Cowboys. She will be joined by fellow top-20 finishers Patience Garcia (11th), Bethany Swallom (12th), Erin Petersen (18th) and Acelyn Fuentes (20th), along with Reagan Wexels (21st) and Jade Garcia (23rd).
Zack Hale was Grantsville’s top male finisher at the region meet, crossing the line in 14th place. John Ussing (15th), Connor Paxman (18th) and Blake Bunderson (19th) also finished in the top 20, with David Cowdell (23rd), Evan Thomas (26th) and James Limburg (28th) all making a push to finish as Grantsville’s fifth scoring runner.
The Class 3A girls race is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Thursday, with the boys to follow at 11:30.
Stansbury’s boys and girls enter Wednesday’s championship meet in Cedar City on the heels of runner-up finishes in the Region 10 championships Oct. 9. The Stallions’ boys team is the defending Class 4A state champion, while the girls have taken a major step forward this year and could contend for a strong finish as well.
Both Stansbury squads have made some lineup changes for the state meet. Girls junior-varsity region champion Alexis Dansie is an addition to the varsity team this week, and Lanse Larsen will join the varsity boys squad after finishing third in the junior-varsity race at the Region 10 meet at the Cottonwood Complex.
Each one of Stansbury’s other six girls finished in the top-15 at region, led by Eliza Beazer’s third-place finish. Erin Allen (fourth) and Nicole Payne (fifth) rounded out the top five, with Tatelyn Larsen (11th), Brooke Call (14th) and Elena Allen (15th) also running strong at the region meet.
Tooele’s girls finished third in the region meet, with Holly Johansen finishing seventh for the Buffaloes. Grace Jenkins was 13th and Hannah Prusse was 19th, followed by Jennifer Thomas (21st), Keira Stewart (24th) and Rebekah Medley (28th). Samantha Stuart has been added to the varsity squad for the state meet after not running at region.
The Stansbury boys team includes five runners who finished in the top-15 in the region varsity championship, led by second-place finisher Jacob Simper. Tyler Seeley (fourth), Oliver Sill (eighth), Noah Hales (12th) and Wyatt Gleed (15th) figure to lead the charge for Stansbury, with Lanse Larsen and Sam Russell (25th at region) rounding out a solid squad.
Tooele’s boys finished fourth at the region meet, and the Buffs have also done a bit of shuffling. Carter Day joins the varsity squad after finishing 16th in the JV race, and Garrett Palmer rejoins the team after missing the region meet entirely. Parker Hansen led Tooele with a 13th-place finish at region, and he was joined in the top-20 by K Stoddard (14th), Joseph Wilkins (18th) and Garrett Lawton (20th). Carter Clayton (28th) rounds out Tooele’s lineup.
The Class 4A girls race will begin at 5 p.m., with the boys race at 5:30 p.m.
Wendover will have three individual representatives at the state meet in Cedar City on Wednesday. Jimmy Escareno was sixth in the Region 21 boys race on Oct. 14 in Spanish Fork, and Brian Maxwell was 10th.
Xochil Duenas will represent the Wildcats in the Class 1A girls race, having finished fourth in the region meet.
The Class 1A girls race is scheduled for 3 p.m., followed by the boys race at 3:30 p.m.