Congratulations are certainly in order. Focus is often on the winner of these races, but a close look at the results tells additional stories.
In cross country, points are awarded according to the place of finish; for example, first place earns one team point, second earns two. The first five runners out of seven for the team count in the team score and the team with the fewest points wins.
The previous week, the Monticello girls scored the lowest team points possible at the region meet, 15 points. That means the Bucks captured the first five places in the race. The Buckaroos actually had the sixth and seventh place finishers as well.
In the Bronco triumph at the state 2A meet, Katie Hiatt led the way for the Broncos with an excellent fourth place finish, posting a low four points for her team. But, let’s look at the races within the race in San Juan’s two point win over Millard.
San Juan’s second place finisher, Brielle Francom, finished ninth but importantly finished one place and three seconds ahead of Millard’s second place finisher.
Sam Bergeman, who was the fourth place finisher for the Broncos, out-sprinted Millard’s fourth place finisher, and crossed the finish line merely two tenths of a second ahead!
If both Francom and Bergeman had been passed by the Millard runners, Millard would have won the team title. However, if only one or the other had been passed, a tie would have resulted and the tiebreaker would have gone to the sixth place runners for both teams.
Michelle Keith’s 30th place finish would have still given the Broncos the victory as the Millard sixth place finisher was 48th.
Cross country is an amazingly matchless sport. What other sport so remarkably uses every member of a team? It is intensely personal – ultimately it is you and the course – but captivatingly, the team aspect is intricately woven throughout this passionate private encounter. I don’t know of another sport, perhaps wrestling, which so tantalizingly combines the individual and the team.
It was a day of threes for the Buckaroos as the Monticello girls captured third place at the state 1A cross country meet for the third year in a row.
Macee Nielson led the Buckaroo gals, as she had all year, coming in third place. The boys also came in third place, paced by Adam Butler’s third place finish.
Coach Jeff Hunt praised both teams and was estatic about the “good season, the best ever since I’ve been coach” in cross country.
The boys were led all year by seniors Butler, Trent Sonderegger, Casey Randall and Trey Esplin. According to Hunt, these captains were inspirational in pulling the boys to their best finish in years.
Junior Julie Butler took the leadership reins for the girls and led the young, inexperienced team, of whom only Nielson had run before in the state meet. “The girls are already excited about next year,” says Hunt, who returns his entire girls team. “They are already planning on meeting together and running.”
Hannah Ellsworth, a senior runner for Cedar City High School, was tenth in the 3A girls cross country race. Ellsworth’s father Lansing, and 23 year old brother Dallin, were killed August 22 in a horrific plane crash in Moab. Ellsworth continued running after the terrible tragedy that rocked Cedar City, just two weeks after the plane crash that killed three Blanding men on August 8.
Ellsworth was able to find solace in running and was an inspiration for the community in coping with tragedy. Go to www.deseretnews.com/video/1,5563,589,00.html to see an inspirational video of the day about Hannah.
The Buckaroos lost their last home football game of the season, 33-6 to the Rich Rebels, dropping themselves to third place in region and earning a first round playoff matchup against the North Sevier Wolves.
The Bucks couldn’t muster many positive results against Rich, other than three stalwart goal line stands in the first quarter, keeping the Rebels out of the endzone on three successive drives.
But turnovers finally did in the Bucks and the Rebels used the Buckaroo miscues to score twice in the second quarter and three more times in the third quarter.
On the night, the Bucks coughed up the ball six times, often deep in their own territory to make it relatively easy for the Rebels. Even in defeat, Coach JC Hall speaks highly of his team. “I just want to say how proud I am of this football team. I realize our record doesn’t show the numbers that we were hoping from the first of the year, but this is still a great football team.
“They have had a tough schedule and some tough adversity to face week after week. We have 22 on our roster and I wouldn’t trade any of these 22 kids for anything. They have shown me a lot of heart and a lot of guts. I am proud of the 22 kids.
“To the seniors, they have bright futures. They have poured their hearts into everything. I want them to remember that, as they continue through their other sports and through life, after all, that’s what high school sports are about: The Life lessons.
“As I was told by the Caveguy, this is probably the best team in 1A with the worst record. I feel we can play with any team in the state if we just believe in ourselves and in each other.
“These kids deserve it, especially the seniors. I am proud of them and the work they have put in. They just need to look into their hearts and see what I have seen for the past four years. I just want these kids to know I have enjoyed them and this season. They deserve the best and I am very proud of all of them.”
The Bucks and Wolves have not met this year, but share four common opponents. The scores in the four games all favor the Wolves, but the Bucks hope to play their best game and throw a quarterfinal surprise. The four common opponents are Rich, Parowan, Enterprise, and Layton Christian, all of whom the Wolves beat and to whom the Bucks lost. The Buckaroos are all healthy, however, and are looking forward to the Salina quarterfinal matchup.
The Broncos quarterfinal football opponent was set Friday when the Richfield Wildcats beat the South Summit Wildcats. Richfield gave the Broncos a competitive game in Richfield earlier this season, holding the high scoring Blanding Boys to their lowest point total of the season in the 14-0 Bronco win.
The Broncos and the Wildcats also sport four common opponents. San Juan beat Millard 33-14 and Richfield lost to Millard 27-20. San Juan beat South Sevier 39-7. Richfield beat South Sevier 21-14. San Juan beat Beaver 33-0. Richfield lost to Beaver 20-13. San Juan beat Grand 37-7 while Richfield also beat Grand 19-0. The Broncos will host the Wildcats in Blanding.