Local cross country runners began a glorious four-week stretch of six state championship tournaments with their participation in the state cross country championships last Wednesday in Sugar House Park.
Seniors Macee Nielson of MHS, Katie Hiatt and Taylor Francom of SJH and Whithorse’s Cordarelton Benn led the individual medal parade for our local runners.
Macee dominated a tough 1A field to capture the 1A individual title. Nielson won by over 40 seconds over her nearest competitor in a time that would have won 2A and 3A and given her second in 5A.
Hiatt completed her stellar high school cross country career as well, capturing second place, as did Benn for Whitehorse. Francom was fourth to cross the line in an outstanding 2A boys race.
Hiatt and Francom led their respective teams to the second place trophy. The Bronco girls were upended by a pack-running Parowan team. Hiatt, Brielle Francom (6th), and Mackenzie Ward (9th), staked the defending champs to an early lead, but the Parowan girls, whose top runner was only fifth, outplaced the Broncos 48 to 57. Kendra Parker (17th), Kelli Meyer (23rd), Abby Hatcher (24th), and Katrisa Ward contributed to the superb San Juan finish.
For the San Juan boys, Brandon Deschene (16th), and Jade Grover (20th) had high finishes in a truly competitive race. Wheeler Heck (23rd), Dallin Jacobsen (24th), and Ty Hosler (26th) finished in a Bronco bunch to grab the 2A second place trophy behind Rowland Hall’s first place finish.
In 1A boys, Benn from Whitehorse finished second, leading his Raider’s to a third place finish. Tavis Martin (16th), and Veranno Silas (17th) helped bring home the fine finish for the Raiders.
The young Buckaroo boys were eighth, highlighted by excellent runs by Collin Hatch (11th) and Dallin Anderson (23rd). Nielson, along with senior Loren Randall (11th) and Brittany Keith (28th) led the Lady Buckaroos to a fifth place finish. Congratulations to all the stellar cross country in the county!
Macee and Katie
Five years ago, SportShorts wrote about the competitive friendship of Macee Nielson and Katie Hiatt, before their high school running careers had even begun.
Among other things I wrote at the time, “‘If you can’t finish first, make the person that beat you set a record,’ says a cross country slogan of note. A story of similar fashion is brewing in the junior high ranks of Monticello and San Juan cross country.
“Macee Nielson, and Katie Hiatt, eighth graders from Monticello and Blanding respectively, have developed a rivalry and friendship that brings into focus all that is great about high school athletics.
“The girls, brought together through their love of running, met last year at a junior high cross country meet in Aztec, NM. Their friendship was immediate and solid as was the competition.”
This past week, the cross country high school careers of the two running buddies sadly but triumphantly came to an end. Just for a moment, lets recap the careers of both and their respective teams at the state cross country meets. Perhaps you will agree with me that these two have presided over one the greatest stretches of cross country running for both high schools.
Macee, in her four years of running, captured two individual titles, this year and as a freshman in 2007. Katie led her team to two team titles, in 2008 and 2009. Macee also finished second, in 2009, and third (2008) individually while leading her teams to three third place finishes and the fifth place finish this year.
Katie, while leading her teams to those two championships as well as a second place this year and a sixth place finish as a freshman, finished second three times, as a freshman, junior and senior, along with a fourth place finish in 2008. And actually, that fourth place finish was also her fastest time of the four races.
Macee’s fastest time was this year, as she broke the 19 minute mark with a time of 18:59.5. See what I mean? Congratulations to these girls and thanks for the memories!
Volleyball to state
Teams head to state tournaments this week. Both the Broncos and Bucks are expecting to bring home the titles. Go teams.
Lady Buckaroo Coach Tony Esplin recently said, “As the season winds down we are right where we want to be in our region. We [finished] undefeated in region play and [are] working hard to prepare for the upcoming region games and state.
“We have some work to do to pull everything together for the final push into the state tournament. We have some work to do on timing, and team defense. We are working on being quicker on both defense and offense.
“Our current record is 20 and 10. I don’t know the secret on how to peak at the right time. We start working more on the team concept towards the end of the season trying to pull it all together.
“We try to do some team activities to build better team chemistry. We shorten our practices a little but require more intensity during practice. Some days that works better than others.”
The Lady Bucks begin play Thursday at UVU.
The Lady Broncos clawed their way to the top seed in the region and have a very favorable draw in the brackets as t he only top five team in their half of the bracket.
The Buckaroos captured the region title Friday night in Milford with a convincing 38-12 win over the Milford Tigers. It was a case of Devin Wright right, Kendall Maughan left, Wright left, Maughan right, as the Bucks relentlessly marched down the field time after time.
The win gives the Bucks their 18th region title in the MHS football history and the second in a row as they beat the Tigers for the ninth time in a row with nary a loss.
The win earns Coach Lee Chadwick’s Buckaroos a bye into the semifinals, where they will play at Snow College on November 6 against the winner of the Rich-Monument Valley contest.
The Broncos return to the field this week in a home quarterfinal game against the Kanab Cowboys, a team the Broncos defeated in the first game of the season in Kanab 28-0. The game is Saturday at 1 p.m. in Blanding.