Buck boys, girls claim region cross country crowns, on to state meet
by Haley Burton
The 1A Region 23 cross country championship meet was one for the record books. The Monticello boys ran an impressive race with eight of their runners finishing in the top 11 spots.
The distance between all four scoring members of the team was 53 seconds. Jesse Pettit led the Buckaroos, running a personal best for the season of 18:03 and taking second place.
He was followed by Boston Freestone, Curtis Bunker, and Kaden Pehrson coming in fourth, fifth, and sixth. Josh Wheeler and Easton Young were not far behind in seventh and eighth place.
Jacob Johnson finished in tenth place, Soren Welch got eleventh, and Carter Harrod ran a personal best to finish in 21st place.
There was a sign at the race that summed up the girls 5K race. “Just run a ‘Lil’ faster!” Lily Long and Lilli Burton began the race in the lead and finished with Long as region champion with a time of 21:04.
Burton took second place as both girls ran their personal best for the season. The Buckaroo girls as a team ran a very strong race with all five members coming across the finish line in the top ten.
Marah Long came in fourth overall and Ayla Carling finished in fifth place. Alexis Bailey ran two minutes under her personal best to come home in ninth place.
Monticello Head Coach Jeff Hunt has encouraged his athletes to run their best and to push themselves just a little harder all season long.
As the team heads to the state meet this week, he states, “We seem to be peaking at about the right time. We aren’t the favorites for either the boys or the girls as Bryce Valley, [defending boys champion] Piute, Panguitch, and Milford all have solid teams.
“If we run like we did at region, I like our chances to bring home a trophy or two. For the girls, Lily Long and Lilly Burton give us a great 1-2 punch with solid support from Ayla, Marah, and Alexis.
“For the boys, Boston has been solid all year with Jesse coming on strong at region, but our one-to-five gap time will need to be about 25 seconds to sneak in and do some damage.
“So Kaden, Curtis, Josh, Easton, and Jacob will have to stay right on their heels. Should be an interesting day.”
The Buckaroos head to Salt Lake City for the 2021 1A State Cross Country Championships this Wednesday, October 27.
The state course, at the Regional Athletics Complex at Rose Park, is in a different location than years past so it will be new to all the runners. The girls run at 12:30 p.m. with the boys starting at 1 p.m.