SMITHFIELD — It remains to be seen if the next Brenna Porter or Conner Mantz were showcasing their talents at the 2019 Northern Utah Mile, but some impressive times were certainly laid down.
The sixth-grade boys and girls champions in the annual event completed the race in less than six minutes, and several more youngsters from the north end of Cache Valley shined on a windy Wednesday at Sky View High School. The fastest third- through sixth-graders from eight different elementary schools participated in the 16th or 17th installment of the Northern Utah Mile.
There were four repeat champions Wednesday in Cedar Ridge students Chloe Sadler, Charlotte Felt and Carson Thompson, and Birch Creek’s Griffin Young. Felt and Thompson won their races for the third straight year.
Felt, the sixth-grade girls champion, broke the six-minute barrier for the first time in her life. She led from start to finish en route to the biggest margin of victory of the day — 21 seconds. Felt crossed the finish line in 5 minutes, 58 seconds.
“I’m really happy,” Felt said of breaking six minutes. “I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time.”
Likewise, Thompson was also very pleased with his time. The Cedar Ridge student pulled away during the final lap and clocked in at 5:49, which was a six-second improvement from a year ago.
“It was fun. ... I was just hoping I got under six minutes, so I’m pretty happy (with my time),” Thompson said.
Thompson, Felt and Sadler headlined a strong effort from Cedar Ridge, which had athletes win seven of the 12 races. Cedar Ridge emerged victorious in all four relay races. The champions from each of the eight schools competed as individuals, while the next two fastest boys and girls from every school earned a spot on the relay team.
A lot of the youngsters who gathered at Delbert L. Hansen Field also excel at other sports. Felt plays every position but goalkeeper for her soccer team.
Which sport does she enjoy more?
“I don’t know,” Felt said. “They’re both really fun. Soccer’s fun because you’re with a team, and running is fun because it’s all you; you try to do your very best.”
Likewise, Thompson is a multi-sport athlete. He is a quarterback and wide receiver for his football team, and a shooting guard on his basketball team. Thompson plans on competing in the 100-meter dash and 1,600 when he gets to high school.
“I think I’m going to do track, yeah,” Thompson said. “It’s pretty fun.”
Thompson was able to prevail against a loaded field. Case in point: The top five competitors in his race completed it in less than six minutes, and the boy who finished sixth ran a 6:00.
North Park’s Cole Dodson was the runner-up with a time of 5:57, and he was followed by Greenville’s Tagg Checketts (5:58), Birch Creek’s Brian Smith (5:59.06) and Sunrise’s Max Johnson (5:59.93).
The top three sixth-grade girls finished in that same order in the fifth-grade field a year ago. Summit’s Kyleigh Hastings was the silver medalist (6:19), while White Pine’s Zoey Hulse (6:32) captured the bronze medal. Rounding out the top five were Sunrise’s Avery Hackler (6:40) and North Park’s Averie Harris (6:48).
The fifth-grade boys and girls titles were claimed by athletes from Sunrise, and both were in the lead from start to finish. On the boys side, McCade Rolle got off to an extremely strong start and powered his way to first place with a time of 6:00, and he was followed by Greenville’s Jackson Porter (6:11), Cedar Ridge’s Tyler Austin (6:14), Lewiston’s Zeb Smith (6:20) and Birch Creek’s Zack Wright (6:21).
The fifth-grade girls champion was Lexa Holman, who was the fourth-grade runner-up in 2018. Holman clocked in at 6:26. Cedar Ridge’s Tori Jeppson was second (6:32), followed by North Park’s Reagan Kaae (6:41), Summit’s Hallie Taylor (6:47) and White Pine’s Abby Hillyard (6:50).
Sadler turned in one of the most outstanding performances in the history of the event as her blistering time of 6:07 would have won the fourth-grade boys competition. Rival Kloey Tensmeyer of North Park was second (6:22), with Sunrise’s Sydney Sadler (6:55), Greenville’s Scotlin Macelwee (6:59) and Birch Creek’s Emily Robinson (7:03) also securing a spot in the top five.
There was only a seven-second spread separating the top four kids in the boys fourth-grade field. Young edged Cedar Ridge’s Jack Rogers by one second — 6:09 to 6:10 — to defend his title. North Park’s Seth Anderson was the bronze medalist (6:13), with Greenville’s Stockton Ashcroft (6:17) and Sunrise’s Tucker Stokes (6:25) rounding out the top five.
Summit’s Brooks Campbell ran very well over the final 200 meters to pull away from his competition in a deep boys third-grade race. Campbell finished in 6:19. White Pine’s Owen Hoth was second (6:24), followed by Cedar Ridge’s Kyle Moser (6:27), Greenville’s Ezra Chambers (6:27) and North Park’s Gavin Sandberg (6:41).
Devyn Crossley of Birch Creek was the third-grade girls gold medalist. Crossley clocked in at 6:52, which was three seconds before runner-up Avery Webber of Cedar Ridge. Rounding out the top five were Greenville’s Emily Summers (7:10), North Park’s Mayzie Lowe (7:17) and Lewiston’s Lainy Pugmire (7:19).
Joel Allred, the race director and founder, has enjoyed watching this event thrive over the past 15-plus years.
“More for me, (the best part is) just watching kids doing something wholesome and beneficial to their health, and to see them representing their schools,” Allred said. “When we started this program, Alan Grunig was with the Bear River Health Department, and he felt like I did. That’s how we started the Greenville Mile, and I thought we need to make this a little bit bigger, so let’s get all of the northern schools together because the Wellsville Mile is wonderful and has been a great thing.
“But to watch these kids get nervous and scared as they line up, and then come back and have a glass of Gatorade and feel good about it and to be proud of their time (is pretty special). And then to see some of them go on to high school and even go on to college and run, that’s pretty awesome.”
Two of those current collegiate athletes are Mantz and Porter, who have both earned All-America honors on multiple occasions at BYU. Porter still holds the Northern Utah Mile course record on the girls side, while Mantz is the boys record-holder.
All of the results from the Northern Utah Mile can be found in the Valley View section on page B2.