In the 2A girls state cross country championship held Oct. 31, at the Portneuf Wellness Complex, the Bears put six runners in the top 21, to beat Soda Springs with 53 points to the Cardinals’ 79, ending Soda’s record-setting streak of 14-straight state championships. The results highlight just how tough the 2A 5th District is to compete in and how strong the West Side girls’ team was this season. In any other district, they would have been competing at state with a full team.
“These two lady Pirates have created a new standard for the girl’s cross country program at West Side and it was fulfilling to see them both finish with all-state performances,” said Coach Stacey Olsen.
As it was, freshman Aubrie Barzee got to test her mettle as an individual runner and came home with a fourth-place finish 19:37.08. She maintained her fourth-place position for the majority of the race and came in alone well ahead of the fifth-place finisher. “I’d rather have someone beside me,” she said. “I like this course a lot. The wind was kind of hard but the competition is really good.” When asked what she would work on for next year Barzee spoke of the mental aspect. “Be tougher during the second and third mile.”
Ashlyn Willis, on the other hand, had Salmon runners behind and in front of her pushing her to finish strong and take tenth overall with a time of 20:17.78 and both girls received medals for their effort.
“I couldn’t be prouder of these two girls,” said Olsen. “Aubrie came in as a freshman with outstanding natural talent and a willingness to learn and work hard. It seemed the more challenging the workout, the more she loved it. She has brought competitiveness and energy to our team and I’m thrilled to have her for three more seasons.”
”Ashyln is the only athlete I’ve coached on this year’s team that started as a freshman and continued on through her senior year,” Olsen said. “She is a testament to consistency and diligent effort. She started her freshman year running 26 minutes and then went on to be the first girl in West Side history to break the 20 minute barrier. Ashlyn always trained through the off seasons and came into XC willing to give her best effort. She has a goal to compete collegiately and is currently looking at her options to see what will be the best fit.”