The Bear River High School cross country team kept things rolling at the Top of Utah Invitational held at the Weber County Fairgrounds on Friday, Sept. 4.
“We keep following a simple pattern of ‘work hard, listen, have good team spirit and give it your best,’” Head Coach Dan Line said. “The kids are just doing wonderful. We keep seeing solid improvement across the board and we are having fun.”
The fun began with an inverted race format, with the varsity boys getting first crack at the course. Led by seniors Peter Nielsen and Daniel Curtis, the Bears dominated the competition with an impressive team score of 32, finishing ahead of Green Canyon (65) and Mt Crest (71).
Nielsen claimed top honors with an impressive time of 16:35, followed by Curtis’ third-place finish (16:51).
“We are spoiled to have Peter and Daniel up there duking it out with the best runners around and taking turns leading us,” Line said. “It is a real strength to the team.”
Fellow senior Gabe Wilson finished in sixth place (17:23), while junior Phillip Gallegos came in 10th (17:43). Rounding out the varsity placing for the team was senior Keyjun Hale (12th, 17:55) and juniors Matt Spotten (15th, 18:00) and Will Rhodes (24th, 18:26).
The Bears took third in the junior varsity race and first in the rookie race, with Bears runners taking eight of the top 10 spots.
The Lady Bears on the varsity squad also got to race early and took home some hardware as well.
In a tight race with region rival Mountain Crest, the girls claimed a hard fought 40-42 victory. Freshman Becca Curtis secured the win with a 15th-place finish at 22:05 despite battling a nagging injury.
“She didn’t feel great, but her and Katie Wynn (13th, 22:04) stuck together and really hung on the final mile,” Girls Head Coach Tyrell Neal said.
Adding to the excitement for the girls team was the 4A individual championship performance from team captain Madison White. After losing to region foe Kate Dickson from Sky View last week, White returned the favor to claim victory.
“Madi isn’t satisfied running good,” Line said. “She wants to race hard and get her share. It was definitely her turn today.”
In more good news for the girls team, Neal said Naomi Tomlinson keeps getting better and Shylee Kofoed keeps regaining health and fitness after an early-season injury. Tomlinson (21:00) finished fourth and Kofoed (21:26) took seventh.
The Lady Bears are still hoping for the return of standout Liz Phillips, who is working hard to rehab from a knee injury. The younger girls finished the meet with a tie-breaking victory over Tooele to claim runner-up status in the rookie race.
Next up for the Bears is a home meet on the track this Thursday, Sept. 10. This two-mile race is called the Homecoming HOKA, in which Bear River will host Green Canyon, Grace (Idaho) and Preston.
Spectators are welcome to come out and cheer on the team. The boys’ “B” race will be at 3:30 p.m., followed by the girls’ open race at 3:45 p.m. and the boys’ “A” race at 4 p.m.