Carbon runners Rachel Goodrich, Diana Olsen and Regan Powell participate in the state meet last week.
After running hundreds of miles over the course of the year, dealing with fatigue and injuries here and there, everything they had worked for came down to one final race: the state meet.
The Carbon High boys and girls cross country teams qualified for the state meet held at Sugarhouse in Salt Lake City last Wednesday after a season in which the girls won the Region 12 title and one that saw the boys use a strong finish at the region meet held at the Carbon Country Club to qualify.
Carbon High coach Telisse Allen said the state meet brought out a lot of talented runners from all over class 3A, including Park City and Ogden, who is a nationally ranked school.
So while the allure of a state championship would have been nice, Carbon's runners focused on improving upon their previous times at state and pushing themselves against the other teams from 3A.
For the girls, senior Regan Powell led the way with a 15th place finish and a time of 19.51.3. Allen said that Powell beat her time from last year by about 30 seconds and accomplished her goal of finishing within the top 20. Teammate Rachel Goodrich finished in 31st place with a time of 20.42.5, an improvement of her time from last year, Allen noted.
In total for the girls team, Allen said four girls set new personal best times and for some underclassmen on the team, including Mattie Black, Maya Anderson and Suzannah Ohlwiler, the experience of running at state will prove to be a big help going into next year and beyond.
For the boys, it was a mixture of hardship and determination. Top boys finisher Garrett Marsing took 12th place with a time of 16.33.2. Somewhere around 800 meters into the race, Allen said Marsing fell when he encountered a downhill part with a curve while attempting to push himself towards the runners in front of him. Despite falling back in the pack of runners, Marsing was able to work his way back to his original position as the race ended.
For senior Luke Olsen, the race was not about setting any records. It was about finishing what he started. Olsen, who injured his calf in the region meet two weeks ago, took part in the race despite not being pressured into doing so, Allen said.
Olsen, with Allen and other teammates encouraging him along the course, finished in 123rd place with a time of 23.31.6.
"He (Olsen) showed a lot of heart while running the course," Allen said.
Allen said she was pleased overall with the performance of the teams at state. She said members of the team put in a lot of effort over the past year including running up to 400 miles over the summer to reach the point of participating at the state meet. The hard work paid off as the girls won a region title for the first time since 1997.
Allen said cross country running can be both an individual and a team orientated type of sport.
"It's a team sport, but it's also a very individual type of sport to participate in," she said.
Other girls finishing times and places: Susannah Ohlwiler, 54th place, 21.35.5; Diana Olsen, 82nd place, 22.41.1; Maya Anderson, 112th place, 24.15.7; Madi Black, 122nd place, 27.27.2; Ashley Noyes, 123rd place, 29.32.8.
Other boys finishing times and places: Justin Hepworth, 72nd place, 17.45.3; Skylar Larsen, 108th place, 19.10; Brenden Hepworth, 119th place, 20.43.5; Thory VanDyke, 121st place, 21.04.2; Cameron Shiner, 122nd place, 21.13.6; Luke Olsen, 123rd place, 23.31.6.
To improve going into next season the teams will again need to train a lot over the year in preparation of the season. Allen said the future for the team looks bright with many of the underclassmen runners getting a lot of experience this season.
"The future is definitely looking good for us," she said.