On Sept. 16, the Bear River cross country teams went to Pre-State on the new course at Salt Lake City Regional Athletic Complex and made a statement to the teams in the 4A classification, particularly the teams of Region 11.
There were no regular varsity and JV team competitions this go round, just races by school classes. Freshman and sophomore girls raced first, then the boys followed by junior and senior girls, who were also followed by the boys.
The Lady Bears freshmen/sophomores stole the show, winning the meet against the best 4A teams in the state while also taking down some 5A and 6A squads.
“We knew the girls would do well and about halfway through it was pretty clear they would win the race. They just did their best and all the practice is beginning to pay off,” Coach Tyrell Neal said.
Leading the girls group of underclassmen were medalists Becca Curtis (9th, 21:01.5), Bethany Richard (10th, 21:07.9) and Mattie Winward (18th, 21:26.7). Finishing out the scoring top five were freshman Makala Arnold (23rd, 21:52.5) and sophomore Madison Auble (26th, 22:06.2). That pushed the girls to an impressive 80 to 108 win over defending state champions Pine View followed by Park City (115), Cedar City (131) and Northridge (156).
In the girls junior/senior race, team captain Liz Phillips really had an awesome race. Her time of 20:03.4 put her into medalist position with a 7th place finish. It also put her less than 6 seconds behind the top runner in Region 11.
Phillips’ time makes her a clear medalist favorite in the 4A classification. Senior Katie Wynn ran well with a solid 40th place and time of 22:02.6. She was followed by fellow varsity runner Shylee Kofoed (61st, 22:51.5).
The boys freshman/sophomore race saw David Bourgeous (8th, 17:28.3) and Braxton Craven (9th, 17:36.8) step it up and race with the big dogs.
The last race of the day featured a deep group of junior/senior runners from Bear River.
“That is a really good group of older boys. We have tons of depth,” Head Coach Dan Line said. “Our seniors are definitely the lead group but the junior class is coming on strong and doing well.”
Leading the varsity group were seniors Matt Spotten (28th, 17:21.3), Ammon Hunter (36th, 17:29.3), Phillip Gallegos (38th, 17:30.9), Kenneth Pingle (54th, 17:52.7) and Kael Kowallis (59th, 17:56.5).
Scoring the meet with just the Region 11 runners, the varsity boys won easily over the next best boys team in the region, Green Canyon, 32-62. Sky View followed with 85, then Ridgeline 86 and Mt Crest 92. The JV boys did one better with a perfect score of 15 to top Ridgeline (45), Sky View (81), Green Canyon (108) and Mt Crest (145).
For the second invitational in a row, the Lady Bears varsity won a tiebreaker over Ridgeline. This time it was 38-38 with senior runner Katie Wynn beating the number six runner from Ridgeline by 37 seconds. Green Canyon (72), Mountain Crest (93) and Sky View (122) followed. And for the first time in school history the girls JV squad beat Ridgeline 25-30. The other teams followed in the same order with the scores being Green Canyon (56), Mountain Crest (70) and Sky View (103).
Next up, the Bears face the whole region and county rival Box Elder at the Cache-Box Invitational. The meet will be held Wednesday, Sept. 29 at the American West Heritage Center in Wellsville. The first race is planned to begin at 3 p.m.