Tennis, golf, x-country, v-ball, soccer keep GCHS athletes running

By Nathaniel Smith • The Times-Independent

With the fall sports season underway, Grand County High School’s athletes are off to the races. The cross-country team had another good showing at its second meet, despite tough conditions and stiff competition. The boys golf team, defending state champions, kept racking up wins. At its season-opening tournament, the volleyball team won one game and lost another. The team had games its first home match Aug. 28 and will have another Aug. 30. And the girls soccer team looks to build on its early success with a home game on Aug. 28 and an away game on Aug. 30.

On Aug. 24, the cross-country team headed north to Saratoga Springs to compete in the Westlake Invitational. A somewhat unusual meet, the Westlake Invitational course was only two miles rather than the usual three, but it had a number of obstacles. Runners had to leap over hay bales as they made their way around the loop.

Coach Randy Martin said the team lacked the necessary depth to compete in the varsity relay races, so they ran as individuals in the junior varsity and freshman races. The girls team had a particularly good showing with sophomore Kylah Ricks placing second out of 220 racers. Martin said she was in first place for much of the race but was overtaken near the finish. Ricks was still recovering from bronchitis, which caused her to miss the season’s first meet and sapped some of the stamina that might have pushed her ahead in the final leg of the race. Martin also praised the performances of Jessie Anderson and Mercedes Zunich, who finished 48th and 75th respectively.

On the boys side, Evan Ellison did well, placing 22nd out of 309 competitors in the junior varsity race. In the freshman division, Arthur Hawks had a great showing, finishing fourth. Martin said he started around 10th place, but gradually overtook his competition. Hawks was in fifth coming into the home stretch, but he “found another gear” and closed the 30-yard gap with the runner ahead of him, seizing the fourth spot close to the finish.

Overall, Martin said “the team ran well” and had a good showing against strong competition comprised mostly of runners from 5A and 6A schools. On Aug. 31, the cross country team will travel to Monticello for the Lloyd’s Lake Classic. While the high elevation and steep course will pose a challenge, Martin noted that the runners are looking forward to cooler temperatures and better air quality than they experienced at the season’s first two meets.

The boys golf team took first place at the tournament on Aug. 23 in Monticello. Edging out Richfield by only a single stroke, the team won its second tournament in a row. On Aug. 29, the boys golf team will travel to the Skyline Golf course for a tournament hosted by North Sanpete.

The girls tennis team was busy this past week with a series of home matches. On Aug. 23, Manti handed the team a defeat. But the girls were able to bounce back and beat both San Juan and Emery on Aug. 24. Then on Saturday, the team hosted a home tournament with Carbon, Uintah and South Sevier. On Aug. 30, the team will travel west for matches with Richfield and South Sevier.

The volleyball varsity team began its season with the Dixie Flyer Invitational tournament in St. George on Aug. 24 and 25. The girls were victorious in their first game against Grantsville, winning two of three sets. The next day, Grand faced off against Kanab. It was a close game; Kanab barely won the first set and Grand claimed the second. Unfortunately, Grand was unable to grab the third set as Kanab eked out the win. This week, Grand will defend its home court against Emery on Aug. 28 and Richfield on Aug. 30. For both games, the sophomore match will start at 4 p.m., followed by junior varsity at 5:15 p.m. The freshman will also play at 5:15, but in the middle school gym. Varsity is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

The girls soccer team played a home game against Richfield on Aug. 28. At press time, the score was unavailable. On Aug. 30, the team will travel to Castle Dale for a game against Emery.