Kylah Ricks brings 3A state championship home to Moab

Kylah Ricks dominated the 3A cross-country season, winning the state championship by a 90-second margin. Photo courtesy of Barry Ellison

Kylah Ricks literally ran away from the pack to earn the Utah High School Cross-Country 3A State Championship Oct. 23 at Sugarhouse Park in Salt Lake City. She finished the three-mile race in 18:50 – a full minute and a half before anyone else crossed the finish line.

Evan Ellison concluded a stellar season, as well as his high school career, in thrilling fashion, finishing second in the boys race at 15:46 – less than three seconds behind first place.

Ricks built an early lead that kept growing as the race progressed. She defeated 70 other 3A runners on the girls side. Teammate and senior Jessie Anderson ran an approximate 7:18 mile-per-minute race and she took the 24 spot with a time of 21:52.7. Anderson earned a few top 10 and top three medals this season. Anderson was typically Grand’s second-best female runner, but she never played second fiddle.

Ricks often wins races by a wide margin. Anderson kept the other runners honest and reminded them that another competitive Grand girl was also on the course.

Sophomore Bella Welch landed in the 32nd spot for the Lady Devils with 22:30.9 and she ran a 7:30 per mile pace. Welch made some significant contributions to the team this season with some top 10 finishes. Watch for her in the future; she is a rising star.

On the boys’ side, senior Malachi Ricks secured the 15th spot among almost 80 runners in the boys 3A contest with 16:51.0. Ricks and Ellison were the figurative regional gruesome twosome this season; if Ellison had a top-five finish, chances were Ricks would be right behind him, or vice versa. Malachi Ricks’ cross-country prep career also comes to an end and he departs with his fair share of victories and more than a few solid contributions to the team over the years.

Sophomore Arthur Hawks’ determination is evident at the finish line, where he ran three miles in under 17 minutes. He is poised to replace upperclassmen Evan Ellison in Malachi Ricks as the program’s top runner in 2020. Photo courtesy of Barry Ellison

Arthur Hawks finished the 3A Championship in 16:57.2. He was the Red Devils’ third best male runner this season. Ellison and Ricks will graduate in May. Hawks, a sophomore, has some big shoes to fill, but he proved he could run with the big boys this year. A leadership role on the Red Devils cross country team could be his, if he chooses to step up to the challenge.