Yesterday was such an incredible day-one we will celebrate and remember for a long time. I thought we had such a great TEAM effort in pulling off both of the wins. Not just in the people who ran, but also in the incredible support and cheering from all members of the team (and alumni and parents).
The girls competed like they have all year long. We knew we were strong and deep and we led from the gun. I thought we ran really close to our plan, and we pushed hard on the important points of the course. It was amazing to bring home the first ever Davis girls state cross country championship, but what is even more impressive are the hours of hard work, team work, and sacrifice that it took to get to this point. The girls ran the 4th fastest team time in the 10 year history of the course (from any division) and the fastest team time since 2000.
1. 18:27 Natalie Haws
5. 19:03 Candace Eddy
10. 19:18 Emily Hansen
17. 19:45 Loren Storey
22. 19:52 Meghan Hedquist
33. 20:09 Hollie King
35. 20:16 Kelsey Valentine
173 American Fork
Natalie stayed patient throughout the entire race. She ran a lot of it with a smile on her face. When I saw her on the back side of the course (before the 2 mile mark) I yelled to stay patient - she was running right behind Shayla and they had pulled a way from the rest of the group. Natalie gave me a smile, and then she growled (weird, I know, but that is her style). I knew she was determined to finish strong. When it came down to the last ½ mile she was probably 5 seconds behind last year's state champion (Shayla Kipp from Skyline) but Natalie somehow dug deep and found some kind of monster kick on the track to capture the first ever Davis individual state championship (for either a boy or a girl). Natalie's time was the 14th fastest ever run on the course. The pictures in all 3 newspapers perfectly capture Natalie's excitement. She really deserved the title.
Candace had a rough day with her asthma in the cold, but stayed positive and tough for the TEAM. Although she had some tears after the race, a lot of them were out of joy for her teammates (especially Natalie for getting what she has worked so hard for). Candace was able to look accross the track and see Natalie fighting for 1st place. The 2 of them have done so much for each other that they really can share in each other's successes. They are the strongest 1-2 punch in the state (and have been for the past 3 years).
Emily knew coming into the race she would have a shot at top 10, but she would have to have one of her best races. She did just that. She went out aggressive and held her position. A great feat for her to be all-state as a sophomore. She has really stepped it up in the absence of Katie. Emily's time of 19:18 makes her the 5th fastest Davis girl to ever run the course (Natalie and Candace are 1-2).
Loren stayed tough throughout the entire race and really moved up in the final mile to finish 17th. It is amazing how far she has come in her first year of being a distance runner. She stayed really positive throughout the race.
Meghan has amazed us all with her ability and drive this season. She found Loren about 1 mile into the race and stuck right with her. The two of them worked their way up from about 35th to 20th. Watching Meghan finish the race you could tell that she had left it all on the course - what a gutsy race from a young runner. We could be pretty dang good again next year.
Hollie and Kelsey have improved their times at state every year (Hollie for 3 years and Kelsey for 4). They provided us with experience and leadership and consistency. We counted their places at about 1/2 way through the race. They both moved up about 20 places in the 2nd half. Only 1 team finished with their #5 runner in front of Hollie and Kelsey.
The boys race was simply incredible. I told one reporter that it is rare to have a full TEAM (all 7) put together solid races all on the same day, but that is what we needed. We knew it would be a close race with American Fork, Alta, Skyline, and Bingham. I am not sure what was said on the starting line (I was up at the finish line with the girls), but whatever was said, the TEAM definitely looked focused and confident and were really into the race when I saw them after the first 1/2 mile. At 2 miles we were still a little behind AF, but looking like we had a good shot if we could stay strong in the final mile. Bryce, Jason, and Jordan each passed 7 or 8 guys in the last kilometer, and Seth and Spencer held their positions in the top 10. Other teams around them started to fade. By the time they were all through the finish chute we knew we had won, and the celebration began there at the finish line. It was a pretty thrilling experience.
5. 16:12 Seth Gutzwiller
7. 16:20 Spencer Anderson
15. 16:38 Bryce Larsen
29. 17:00 Jason Thomas
30. 17:02 Jordan Stuart
54. 17:26 Michael King
55. 17:28 Carston Feigleson
109 American Fork
I have to talk about Seth and Spencer in the same paragraph. The two of them have run and trained together over the past 2 cross country seasons. They have been consistent and have led the team in more ways than just their running. Neither of them are ever satisfied-they both have a drive to improve and be the best. For them both to finish in the top 7 was huge for us in this race.
Bryce was the stud of the day. He ran a patient smart race, and really came on the final mile. He was a little more conservative over the first 1/2 of the race, but came on like crazy-especially in the final mile. He did just what we needed him to do, and beat every other team's 3rd runners.
Jason and Jordan finished higher than any other team's 4th runner. They ran together through a lot of the race. The last time I saw them (with about 600 to go) I could tell they were both going to finish strong and that we were close to winning it. I think the people around me thought I was crazy, but I kept yelling "We're going to win! We're going to win!" to Jordan and Jason.
Michael and Carston stepped up at the end of the season and earned their spots at state. They did their job well as only 3 teams had their #5 in front of our 6 & 7. Both of them ran like experienced runners even though this was the first big varsity race for either of them. We are looking strong for next year with 5 of our top 8 runners returning.
Once again, a special thanks to all parents and supporters of the TEAM. You have helped to make this season fun, memorable, and successful. We couldn't have accomplished this state championship without your help.
As Hollie put it today: "Life goes on after a state championship". We will savor the moment and the victories, but we also have many great things to look forward to.
Team Pictures - Monday, Oct 22nd at 3:00 pm
Team Banquet - TBA - tentatively Nov 1st or Nov 8th.
Team Fundraiser - 1 Hour runathon @ 9:00 pm on Friday Nov 2nd.
Nike Regional Championships - in Tempe, AZ on November 17th. Information will be sent home tomorrow (Friday the 19th)