San Juan High cross country teams are unified, determined
Halfway through the 2020 cross country season, the Record touched base with San Juan High School cross country Coach Holly Walker. Here are her responses to our questions via email:
Q: Can you tell us about the teams so far this year?
A: Both teams are smaller than usual this year due to COVID-19. We miss our southern team members and those whose parents felt the risk of exposure was too high of a risk.
The kids we do have have formed into a solid, cohesive team who work well together.
Q: Have any runners surprised you with their growth/performance?
A: After a few years coaching, you expect the senior boys to really pull out all the stops and they have done that this year.
Cameron Jensen, Conner Black, and Travis Black are part of the core varsity team with Kaiden McNiven and Jadan Lacy both solid JV members.
What has been a little surprising has been the junior boys, including Daniel Jolley, Spencer Jensen, and freshman Edward Lyman. All have exceeded expectations so far, and they’ve got a lot of season left.
For the girls, there aren’t really any surprises this year. Junior Ella Lyman leads the team as far as pace goes, with senior captain Lydia Pugh close behind. Pugh is always a solid leader and force behind the team.
The rest of the varsity team forms a close pack, including Sofie Hook, Saylor Perkins, DinehBahh Eddie, Cheyenne Blackhorse. Newcomers Josie Lott and Ashley Gough both add great spirit and competition to the team.
Q: What are your strengths?
A: The Bronco cross country teams’ strengths lie in their determination and unity. The team really knows how to pull together and use each other’s strengths to bolster their own weaknesses.
Q: What areas do you need work?
A: The team needs to work on believing in themselves like their coaches believe in them. If they could see themselves and their potential for what we know they can accomplish, they’d be amazed at their own abilities and be unstoppable.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish this season?
A: We want each athlete to feel the accomplishment of achieving their individual goals, of doing more than they thought possible, and knowing their limits aren’t what they thought. They are capable of so much more than they believe.
Q: Anything else you’d like to let local readers know about?
A: Ashton Jones has a lot of fight in him this year and is a strong contender for varsity. The boys welcomed two incoming freshmen as members of their varsity team – Edward Lyman and Toby Ward – and Tatum Begay to the JV team.
It’s highly unusual for freshman boys to make varsity, but both Lyman and Ward are strong runners and have only begun to show a portion of their potential.
For the girls, senior Joy Parker has been unable to compete due to medical issues, but has provided strong support as a manager this season and over the summer practices. We miss her as a runner but are grateful to have her any way we can get her.
The San Juan High School cross country teams head to Price for a Region 12 meet this Wednesday, September 16. They host the John Thornton Invitational in Blanding on September 30.