The Grand County High School cross-country team capped off a stellar season with a strong performance at the Utah High School Activities Association 3A state championship, which was held Oct. 18 at Sugar House Park in Salt Lake City.
The girls’ team, led by freshman Kylah Ricks, managed to take fifth place overall in the state. Ricks finished in second place in the girls’ three-mile race, finishing with a time of 19:30.
Head coach Randy Martin expressed his excitement in seeing the freshman perform so well at a high-level race, saying, “It is extremely rare to have a freshman finish a state championship race in second place. It normally takes years of practice and putting in a couple of thousand miles of running to get to that elite level. Kylah is an incredibly talented and gifted runner who had a great season, and I look forward to what the next three seasons bring for her.”
The boys’ team also showed up to run, placing fifth overall out of 19 teams and 86 runners from around the state. Red Devil senior Ryan Lewis had a stellar showing, taking second place in the boys’ three-mile race, finishing with a time of 16:02.2. Lewis finished less than a second behind Manti’s Jordan Cheney, who finished with a time of 16:01.6.
“Ryan ran his heart out,” Martin said. “He knew before the race that he would have to run a 16-minute race to win, and he finished with a 16:02, six-tenths of a second behind the winner. Regardless, I am incredibly proud of this young man. He had an amazing season, and with his work ethic, humbleness and integrity I predict he will have an amazing college career wherever he chooses to go.”
Red Devil sophomores Evan Ellison and Malachi Ricks also gave impressive performances, with Ellison taking sixth place at 16:34 and Ricks nabbing seventh at 16:36.
“Evan and Malachi ran amazingly well,” Martin said. “Just last week, after the region championships, Malachi told me he struggles in big races. Well, in the biggest race of his life and on the biggest stage he ran a wonderful race. He and Evan are both sophomores and have two more years to race for Grand County. It will be exciting watching them next season.”
While the season for the Red Devils has come to a close, the runners won’t be away from the grind for long, according to Martin, with next season’s training sessions beginning at the end of October.
“In order to remain at the highest level of the sport they need to train 46 weeks out of the year,” Martin said.