“To qualify for the state championships a team has to finish in the top three at the region championships races,” coach Randy Martin said. “We had both our girls and boy’s teams’ finish in the top three, so both teams advance to state.”
Grand’s boys team finished the race in third place, behind winner San Juan and second-place finisher Wasatch Academy.
The Lady Devils team also placed third. Emery’s girls team won the event while North Sevier took second place.
“Grand County was the only team in the region to have both the girls’ and boys’ teams advance to the state championships,” Martin said. “Our runners really wanted this and have been working hard since June for the opportunity to compete for a state championship.”
For the girls’ team, senior Mercedes James earned all-region honors for the fourth consecutive year by finishing third in a field of 55 runners. James had a personal best time of 20:14. Freshman Jayelen Knowles also earned all-region honors, finishing in eighth place with a time of 21:11.
“Mercedes and Jayelen have consistently been our two best runners on our girls’ team all season. It was nice to see they were recognized as all-region performers for running a great race,” Martin said.
Grand also qualified three other girls who will have the opportunity to compete at the state championships. Sophomore Lauren Drake just missed earning all-region honors. She finished in 11th place overall with a time of 22:09. Freshman Alexa Pierce finished 21st with a time of 22:53, and sophomore Annie Heywood finished 30th with a time of 23:43.
The boys’ team qualified seven runners to race in the state championships. Seniors Jackson Knowles and Treyton Helquist each earned all-region honors by placing sixth and 10th, respectively, from among a field of 84 runners. Knowles completed the race in 17:22 and Helquist finished with a time of 17:43.
The other five Red Devil state qualifiers were junior Andrew Hugentobler, who finished 14th with at time of 18:05; senior Adam Jenkinson, who finished 23rd with a time of 18:48; and freshman Alan Snow who finished 24th with a time of 18:52.
Rounding out the top seven were freshman Cameron Wakefield and junior Mason Tranter.
Finishing just behind the state qualifiers were junior Skyler Johnson, senior Jordan Bryant, freshman Mackay Wakefield, sophomore Cody Jones, freshman Aaron Hawks, senior Reyce Knutson and freshman Tyrese Stash.
“Our slogan this season has been a very simple saying: ‘You have to put the work into winning,” Martin said. “Every member of this team has put their work in so it was nice to see they were rewarded with the opportunity to run in the state championship races.”
The cross country teams were scheduled to complete their seasons at the state championships, held at Sugarhouse Park in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Oct. 23.
Races began at 11:30 a.m. for the girls and 12:30 p.m. for the boys.