Region 23 titles for Buckaroo XC teams

by Haley Burton
Contributing Writer
The Region 23 Cross Country Championship proved to be a great success for the Buckaroos of Monticello.
The race was held October 19 at Monument Valley High School.
At the end of the day, four region titles were awarded to the runners in orange. Both the boys and girls teams won top trophies with Jesse Pettit and Marah Long bringing home individual championships.
Teams competing at the event include the Monticello Buckaroos, Monument Valley Cougars, Whitehorse Raiders, Green River Pirates, and Pinnacle Panthers. The race introduced a new terrain: sand!
The boys teams stepped to the starting line first. Pettit took an early lead for the Bucks, held it for the entire race, and finished the three-mile course in 18:37, almost 30 seconds ahead of his second-place teammate Kaden Pehrson.
Seven more Bucks came home within three minutes of Pettit, securing eight team members in the top ten and giving Monticello a winning team score of 12.
Finishing in the top ten behind Pettit and Pehrson are Curtis Bunker in fourth, Jacob Johnson in fifth, Josh Wheeler in sixth, Soren Welch in seventh, Kooper Nielson in eighth, and Aaron Gillette in ninth place.
Throughout the season, the boys have demonstrated what it takes to win.
When asked about the state race, Jesse Pettit said, “Our team is looking great and if we work hard we’ll do great.”
The girls race started ten minutes after the boys. Buck harriers Marah Long, Lilli Burton, and Ayla Carling ran as a trio for most of the race.
Long led the way to win the girls division in 22:51 followed by Burton in second and Carling in third. Only 30 seconds separated the three finishes.
Sophomore Alexis Bailey stepped up her game to medal in eighth place. Newcomer junior Shayla Pehrson took tenth and senior Amy Lewis was 11th.
Pehrson ran for the Buckaroos in junior high, but it was the first-ever cross country race for Lewis. The two girls are also on the Monticello volleyball team but joined cross country for the last couple weeks to strengthen the team’s numbers. What an asset they’ve turned out to be!
Speaking of the region championship and looking forward to the state meet, Long said, “Running your best race takes guts. It takes guts to go harder when your legs are about to give out. We hope that we’ll have the courage to go out and run the best race we’ve ever run.”
The 2022 Utah State Cross Country Championship is October 25 at the Regional Athletic Complex in Rose Park, UT. Results will appear in the November 2 San Juan Record.

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