Grand County High School’s cross-country teams will begin their season at the Premier Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 12 at the Cottonwood Complex in Holladay.
Grand’s next two events will be the Lloyd’s Lake Invitational in Monticello on Friday, Aug. 25 and the team’s signature home event, the Red Rock Invitational at the Moab Golf Club on Wednesday, Aug. 30.
According to head coach Randy Martin, a total of 18 athletes are on this year’s GCHS roster, with nine on the boys team and nine on the girls team.
“We lost a lot of talent from last year’s boys team that finished sixth in the state,” Martin said. “However, we are returning two all-state runners in senior Ryan Lewis and sophomore Evan Ellison, so the cupboard is far from bare.”
Ellison finished in fifth place in the state championship race last season, while Lewis finished seventh at state.
“Right behind Ryan and Evan are four very talented runners in juniors Braxten Pierce and Nolan Ramirez, sophomore Soren Indergard, and newcomer sophomore Malachi Ricks,” Martin said.
Rounding out the GCHS boys team are sophomores Jameson Hawks and Johnathan Martineau, and freshman Michael Johnson.
“We have a very competitive region [Region 15] this season for boys cross-country. I expect our team to be battling with both Richfield and Emery for a region championship,” Martin said, adding, “It will come down to who has put in the work over the summer, and who stays healthy. I know our kids worked their tails off this summer preparing for this season, so we should be right there.”
The Lady Devils are also expected to be competitive, according to coach Martin, who is being assisted by Trisha Hedin and Dan Stenta.
“We have a very solid girls team, we are returning four of our top six runners from last year, including all-state runner Ali Hirt, who took 10th in state last year as a freshman,” Martin said. “Along with Ali, we have senior Hannah Stripeika and juniors Sadie Farnsworth and Mercedes Zunich.”
Martin said that four talented freshmen girls have joined the program this year, namely Elly Bauer, Khyla Ricks, Anika Scherer and Mona Taylor.
“All have been running great this summer and have been very impressive,” Martin said.
Rounding out the GCHS girls team is newcomer sophomore Jessie Anderson.
“As with the boys, our girls are in a very talented and competitive region this season,” Martin said. “If our girls continue to train hard, work hard and stay healthy, I think we will surprise some teams.”
Runners on the team have been training three days a week during June and July, including running two half-marathon races in Colorado. In addition, several team members completed a 3-4-24 in Telluride (running 3 miles every four hours for 24 hours), while some team members stretched that out to a 4-4-48 (4 miles every four hours for 48 hours).
“This team put in the work over the summer,” Martin said. “I believe that we are ready to run and compete in our first race of the season on Aug. 12.”