The race course features challenging hills, including the infamous “gut-check” hill between holes four and five, GCHS head coach Randy Martin said. Joining the Red Devils at the invitational were distance runners from San Juan, Emery, Whitehorse, Monticello, South Sevier and Monument Valley high schools.
Leading the way for the girl’s team was GCHS junior Mercedes James, who finished second overall out of a field of 55 runners, with a time of 21:09. James, a two-time state cross country finalist, ran her best race of the year, according to coach Martin.
“Mercedes was battling knee injuries early in the season and she was not running her best at that time,” Martin said. “Now that she is getting healthier, her times in each race are getting better and better.”
Coming in behind James was junior Alena Geiser, who finished in 14th place with a time of 23:29. Junior Jessica Stucki finished in 20th place with a time of 24:07; junior Miranda Shumway finished with a time of 24:10; and freshman Annie Heywood finished 28th with a time of 25:12.
Also competing for the girl’s team were junior Sierra Indergard, who finished with a time of 26:09, and senior Mary Rice with a time of 26:19.
“I am very proud of our girls team” Martin said. “You could see it during the race that each one of them were running their best and giving their maximum effort and it was because of that effort that they finished in second place.”
The boys team was led by junior Jacob Francis, who finished second out of 77 runners, with a time of 16:48. Francis was followed by junior Jackson Knowles, who finished 14th with a time of 18:27, and junior Joseph Andrew, who finished 18th with a time of 18:51. Rounding out the top five for the Red Devils were junior Adam Jenkinson, who finished 31st with a time of 20:11, and junior Skyler Johnson who finished in 32nd place with a time of 20:12.
Also competing for the Red Devils were freshman Sammy Hansen with a time of 20:24; junior Jeremy McDougall with a time of 20:49; freshman Neil Stucki with a time of 21:26; freshman Cody Jones with a time of 22:47 and junior Reyce Knutson with a time of 24:36.
“Every one of our boys team members ran their best races of the year,” Martin said. “Though they may have had better times at other meets, when you look at the level of difficulty that this course presents to runners, and the fact that this course if a full 5k, our boys all ran outstanding races.”
The Red Devils have no scheduled meets this week and the distance runners will spend the week preparing for their region meet on Tuesday Oct. 9, Martin said.
“It will be great having a full week of practice to train and condition for the region meet,” Martin said. “Our goal all season long has been to have both our boys and girls teams place in the top three in the region race in Richfield on Oct. 9 so that they can compete at the state tournament on Oct. 17.”
“We still have a lot of miles to put behind us before we can hope to achieve that goal” Martin said.