Two Red Devil athletes set respective course records at Grand County High School’s home cross-country meet held last Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 30 at the Moab Golf Club.
GCHS senior Ryan Lewis won the boys race in a time of 16 minutes, 8.8 seconds, breaking the course record he set last year by nearly half a minute.
“There were two runners from Richfield who were right behind me the whole race, and I was determined not to let them get ahead of me,” said Lewis, whose previous best official time on the Moab course was 16:37.
In addition, Grand freshman Kylah Ricks won the girls race in a time of 19:00.4, shattering the previous record of 20:05, set by North Sevier’s Ashlin Goble in 2014.
The Red Devil teams each placed second overall out of the schools competing at the meet, with Richfield placing first in both the boys and girls categories.
GCHS head coach Randy Martin had high praise for Lewis, Ricks and Grand’s other top finishers.
“What makes Ryan such an amazing runner is not only his strong will to win, but his even stronger will to prepare to win,” Martin said of Lewis. “He works so hard in practice so that he can go out on race day and run as well as he did at our home meet. He beat some of the best runners in the state at this meet.”
Lewis outpaced Richfield sophomores Nick Woolsey and Hayden Harward, who placed second and third overall, respectively, with times of 16:15.5 and 16:23.3. Fourth place went to Adam Bunker of Monticello, who finished in 16:42.8.
Sophomore Evan Ellison of Grand also broke the 17-minute mark, finishing the course with a time of 16:59.8, earning him sixth place. Fellow sophomore Malachi Ricks took the No. 9 spot, overall, with a time of 17:21.3.
Rounding out the Red Devils’ top-five finishers were sophomore Soren Indergard, who placed 22nd overall with a time of 18:13.2, and junior Braxten Pierce, who took 23rd with a time of 18:15.6.
“Soren Indergard ran the best race of his career,” Martin said. “He looked cool and confidant the entire race.”
The Richfield boys placed first with a team score of 40, while Grand finished second with 61, narrowly edging past third-place Emery High, which scored 63. A total of 162 high school boys from 13 different schools completed the race.
Kylah Ricks dominated the girls’ race, finishing 1 minute and 24 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher, Jessica Walker of San Juan, who recorded a time of 20:24.4.
“About a half-mile into the race, Kylah took off and left her competition behind,” Martin said. “Her lead kept growing and growing. She looked strong and in command the entire race.”
Both The Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News recently honored Ricks for the progress she is making in her freshman year.
According to her coach, Ricks was named the Deseret News athlete of the week for her win in Monticello on Aug. 25, and was named as The Salt Lake Tribune’s performer of the week after her convincing win at Moab on Aug. 30.
“The race she ran at home featured five of the top 10 runners in 3A, and she easily beat them all,” Martin said, adding that Ricks’ time of 19:00.4 is also believed to be a new GCHS school record, breaking the previous mark of 19:07 set by Dayna VanArsdol in 2007.
“Kylah is phenomenal, and she is just getting started,” Martin said. “And a great young lady to boot. She’s very coachable, well liked by her teammates, and an all-around great kid.”
Grand had two other runners place among the top five, as sophomore Ali Hirt took fourth with a time of 20:38.9 and freshman Anika Scherer placed fifth with a time of 20:46.7 — in her first-ever high school race.
“This was Anika’s first meet of the season, and she ran strong,” Martin said. “To finish fifth overall against this competition was amazing.”
Rounding out Grand’s top five female scorers were senior Hannah Stripeika, who took 21st with a time of 22:46.0, and freshman Mona Taylor, who placed 22nd with a time of 22:51.3.
Both the Richfield and Grand girls teams finished with identical scores of 53 for their top-five runners, so the team scoring went to the sixth-place runners to break the tie. Richfield junior Shelby Perschon placed 23rd overall and sixth on her team with a time of 22:53.1, while Grand’s No. 6 runner was junior Sadie Farnsworth, who placed 31st with a time of 24.57.4. A total of 108 girls from 13 different schools completed the high school race.
“It was disappointing to lose the tie-breaker to Richfield, but at the same time, I was extremely pleased with the overall performance of our girls’ team,” Martin said. “They all know they will have to dig even deeper if they want to win a region championship this season.”
Also completing the race for the GCHS girls were Jessie Anderson, Mercedes Zunich and Elly Bauer. Other finishers for the GCHS boys were Nolan Ramirez, Jameson Hawks, Michael Johnson, Johnathan Martineau and Chris Couey.
Grand’s next scheduled meet is the Richfield Invitational on Wednesday, Sept. 6.