The Bear River cross country team was able to attend one of the few invitationals being held this year, returning to one of their favorite meets at Roy High School on Saturday, Sept. 26.
“Several years ago we tried this meet out,” boys’ head coach Dan Line said. “It was a little different, but the kids ran fast and they loved it.”
Senior Peter Nielsen continued to shine for the Bears, placing eighth in a loaded field with a personal-best time of 15:30. Fellow senior Daniel Curtis placed 11th (15:43).
Gabe Wilson was within striking distance of the 16 minute barrier, coming in at 16:19 as the third Bear runner to cross the finish line. Juniors Phillip Gallegos (16:32) and Matt Spotten (16:47) gave the Bears high enough finishes to pull the varsity boys into fifth place in the team standings. Senior Keyjun Hale had a much better day (16:52).
The girls squad welcomed back senior Kenya Tomlinson. After battling injuries her junior year, Kenya decided to focus on getting healthy and her senior season of soccer. Just recently, though, she decided to help out again with the girls cross country squad.
With varsity runners Katie Wynn and Liz Phillips still on the mend, Tomlinson gave the Bears that important fifth runner for team scoring and came in at 21:42.
As usual, senior Madison White led the Lady Bears in the first spot.
“Madi is going to the front of every race, period,” girls’ head coach Tyrell Neal said. “She wants to be there and she is ready for the challenge.”
However, what started as a promising day to race against some of the best in the state for White turned south early in the race. She was in the top five through the first three-quarters of a mile, but didn’t look good and dropped back.
“We didn’t know what was going on, but found out later she had some serious breathing problems,” Neal said.
With the last mile looming, White’s troubles cleared enough for her to pass over 20 top varsity runners and finish in the medals at 11th, setting a new school and personal record of 18:19 in the process.
The team also welcomed back Shylee Kofoed and Liz Phillips to regular form. Kofoed ran a personal-best 19:37. Junior teammate and sister of Kenya, Naomi Tomlinson, wasn’t far behind at 19:46.
The fourth runner for the Bears was freshman Rebecca Curtis, who also ran a personal best (21:08) and continues to shine in her first year of competitive athletics.
The JV girls squad ran the fastest time in school history, with four girls eclipsing the 22-minute barrier including Phillips, who saw her first race action of the season.
The younger boys split up into two races to close out the meet. All the juniors and seniors not on varsity ran in the JV race and finished fourth overall, while all the sophomores and freshman continued to beat all comers at the rookie level, capturing the team title over dozens of 5A and 6A schools for their third meet victory of the year.
Up next for the team will be a JV race with Logan and Sky View on Wednesday, Sept. 30 at Mantua Reservoir. The varsity squad will travel to the competitive Cedar Invitational this Friday, Oct. 2.