San Juan teams earn third at State, Holly Walker is Girls Coach of Year

by Jessica Walker
Contributing Writer
Nerves abounded as the San Juan High School cross country runners stepped up to the starting line at the Salt Lake City Regional Athletic Complex in Rose Park on Tuesday, October 24. It was the race they had trained hundreds of hours for – the 2A State Championship.
The 5K course is a set of flat, grassy loops. The course, along with the cool weather this past Tuesday, made the day ideal for stellar performances.
In the words of Head Bronco Boys Coach Will Walker, “All of our runners ran extremely well. The young runners proved they will be ready to compete at a high level for the next few years and the seniors left no doubt they put everything into their last race.”
One of those seniors, Edward Lyman led the way for the boys team with a sensational run. He spent most of the race in fourth and fifth place but surged past his competitors in the final lap for a decisive second-place finish.
Edward’s time of 16:31 placed him behind Millard’s Ben Ralphs and was the culmination of a phenomenal high school cross-country career.
Abe Lyman followed Edward, finishing 18th overall in 17:40. Abe finished his run with an exciting sprint at the finish to beat Parowan competitor Roy Allen.
Next to finish was Ryan McCullough in 21st with a time of 17:50. McCullough, a senior, improved tremendously as a runner throughout his high school career, knocking nearly ten minutes off his 5K time during his four years at San Juan High.
Following McCullough was Austin Pincock in 21st with a time of 17:53. Pincock ran a solid, controlled race and proved he will be a force to be reckoned with next year as he continues to hone his skills.
Platte Lyman, Noah Begay, and Toby Ward rounded out the boys varsity team in 35th, 39th, and 45th with times of 18:14, 18:19, and 18:37.
Ending with a score of 84, the boys team earned an impressive third-place finish, comfortably ahead of region rival North Sevier. With only ten points separating San Juan from first-place Millard and only a single point separating San Juan from second place, the competition was extremely close.
The girls team was led by the exceptional duo of Brittany Jensen and Sincere Nez. They looked strong throughout the course, running together nearly the entire time and steadily passing their competitors. They finished 15th and 16th only a second apart (21:32 and 21:33).
Brinley Jones and Ada Lyman followed Nez in 34th and 37th with speedy times of 22:59 and 23:11.
Leah Johnson, Sierra Black, and Harmony Oshley rounded out the girls team with times of 24:34, 25:46, and 26:28 in 54th, 60th, and 68th.
Qualifying as the third-place Region 15 team, the Lady Broncos were happy just to make it to state. They defied expectations, however, and translated their third-place region finish to a third-place state finish, behind only behind Region 19 competitors North Summit and Grand.
Head San Juan Girls Coach Holly Walker expressed her thoughts about the team as a whole at the close of the 2023 season. “I am so proud of all our athletes and their fabulous performances at state,” Walker said.
“They put their heart and soul into their race and executed what we’ve been training for all season long. I couldn’t be more proud of them. We have such a young girls team. The sky’s the limit for them as they learn to master their potential.
“The boys team has strong leadership, ability, and diversity in ages so they will continue to be a force for the next few years.”
Growth for any athlete is largely dependent on the guidance of their coaches. Amazing coaches are hard to come by but can make all the difference in the world. Holly and Will Walker are that type of coaches.
And this season Holly was recognized at the state meet for her effort. She was named the 2A Female Coach of the Year, an honor awarded to coaches who consistently go above and beyond for their team.
As any runner on the team, past or present, can attest, the award is a well-deserved honor as she closes out her 11th season coaching the San Juan Broncos.

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