Every runner had a PR (personal record) for the year at the 2A State Championships race. In addition, freshman, Sam Bergeman, came out of nowhere to secure the team victory.
San Juan posted the closest team win of any 1A through 5A school at the State Championships yesterday by beating out last year’s State Champion Millard High School with a score of 65 to 67. Grand High School earned the third place spot with a score of 75.
“All season long Steve and I have executed a program that would ensure our teams’ fastest times on the day of State,” said coach Kimberly Hiatt. “I strongly encouraged the girls to follow a set-strategy in order to out-pace Grand because I was pretty sure they would be our toughest competition, especially without the talents of San Juan freshman Makenzie Ward; however, I underestimated Millard, who lost two of their top three runners to graduation last year and wasn’t even paying attention to their places in the pack.”
Fortunately, all seven runners from San Juan posted their fastest times of the year. Katie Hiatt placed 4th overall (20:02) just behind senior standout Dayna Van Arsdol (19:07) from Grand, senior Shelli Richardson (19:24) from Millard and Erika Birk (19:32) from North Summit, yet she bested her last year’s State time by six seconds.
Brielle Francom placed 9th overall (20:51), Danielle Wilson 12th (21:21), Rylee Lyman 24th (22:50), Michelle Keith 26th (22:56) and Heather Palmer 28th (23:07). But it was freshman, Sam Bergeman, who secured the victory.
According to Hiatt, “Sam started the season running a thirty minute 5K, yet improved significantly to 25 and 26 minute 5K’s by the end of the regular season.”
At Region last week, Sam surprised her coaches with a time of 24:20 to secure a spot on the State team. “Yesterday, Sam simply pulled off a miracle!” said Hiatt. “We needed every girl to run her best to beat Grand, which they did, but we needed Sam’s miracle run to take the State title!”
Bergeman, who was San Juan’s seventh runner going into the competition, placed fourth for the team, besting her Region time by 2 minutes and 25 seconds!
You don’t see that kind of improvement in a week’s time - maybe in a season, but not in a week.
“After we qualified for State last week, I told each individual specifically what they needed to do at State for a chance to win and make San Juan High School history as the first every girls’ XC team to win the State championships, but when I came to Sam I simply told her to have ‘fun.’
“It would be her first time running at State let alone on the varsity squad, so I didn’t want to put undue pressure on her,” said Hiatt. But Bergeman had other ideas. “She wanted a challenge so she ran “mad” at State and that was the ticket to our State Championship title!”
After the girls’ secured their victory, they turned around and watched Taylor Francom finish in the top 10 of the 2A boys’ race. Taylor had a PR as well with a time of 17:23 placing seventh overall and earning an individual medal.
San Juan High School Principal Bob Peterson was on hand to award the girls’ their team trophy and Taylor his medal as well as Academic All-State certificates to seniors David Webb, Jeannie Kirk and Danielle Wilson.
“These kids worked hard all year and deserve the success they achieved at State,” said Coach Stephen Hiatt. “We’re proud of them all.”