To do so, they knew they had to run faster than the girls in red. San Juan and Moab have been trading top team finishes all season long. So it was a concerted team effort that led the Lady Broncos to a three point win over the Grand Red Devils and the Region championship trophy.
Dayna VanArsdol, a senior from Grand High School and last year’s 2A state champion, placed first overall with a time of 19:26. She was followed by San Juan’s Katie Hiatt with a time of 20:26. Hiatt outsprinted North Sevier and Richfield’s top runners.
Danielle Wison (21:31) and Brielle Francom (21:26) ran side by side the entire race, besting Grand’s second place runner Audrey Baird (22:09) to take the top 5th and 6th positions. Next in for the Broncos are Makenzie Ward (22:42) and Rylee Lyman (23:23), with Michelle Keith (23:37) close behind. Seventh in for the girls’ team is Heather Palmer with a time of 23:59.
The team has known since the beginning of the season that one of their top runners would not be able to attend State due to a family commitment, so freshman Sam Bergeman (24:20), San Juan’s eighth runner, will be going to State in her place.
It was an exciting race - even more so because the San Juan girls hasn’t taken first at region for about 20 years!
“The girls really have a fighting chance to be one of the top two teams at State this year. Millard who took the team title last year, lost a couple of pretty fast seniors but they are still in contention, and of course Grand will be tough to beat, especially since we’ll be racing without the talents of one of our top runners, but we’ll just have to dig deep and have the race of our lives. I believe the girls can do it,” said coach Kimberly Hiatt.
Taylor Francom was the sole state qualifier from the boys team with a third place individual finish at the Region finals (17:24). Taylor just came off a first place finish at the annual Newspaper Rock 10K three days prior to Region, so a week of tapering and recovery will allow Taylor an even faster time at state.
“This has been an exceptional year for the boy’s team, so we were quite devastated that they didn’t all qualify since they’ve beat these other teams before,” said coach Steve Hiatt.
Many of the boys had their fastest times of the season, but it just wasn’t enough for a team spot at State. Jade Grover ran a 19:27, Michael Flavel - 19:38, Cody Hatcher - 19:40, Kyson Shumway - 20:54, Dallas Hall - 21:31 and Devon Howe - 21:32.
State Cross-Country Championships will be held at Sugarhouse Park and Highland High School on Wednesday, October 22, with the girls 2A race beginning at 12:30 p.m. and the boys’ race at 1 p.m.
At that time, seniors Jeannie Kirk, Danielle Wilson and David Webb will receive well-earned Academic All-State awards.