Last week’s Region 9 cross country championships were a two-horse race between Desert Hills and Pine View in both the girls and boys races.
Wednesday’s state meet at Sugarhouse Park in Salt Lake City at 12:30 p.m. actually figures to be similar to the tight contest that played out in St. George last Tuesday.
The girls field has recently been dominated by Park City, winners of 12 of the last 14 state titles in 3A. The Miners’ streak of eight straight titles was ended with a third-place finish last year behind the second-place Pine View Panthers.
Pine View finished one point behind Stansbury at last year’s state meet for the title, but PV returns all but one member of the group who accomplished that feat last year.
And with two Stansbury runners graduated, it appears as though the Panthers have as good of a shot as any to capture first place.
“Our main focus is let’s hit our very best race at state, whatever that turns out to be, let’s hit our best,” Panthers coach Dave Holt said after the Region 9 championships.
PV’s group is led by Caroline Clements, Rylee Holt, Jessica Hill, Josie Bushar and Ellie Bushar. Desert Hills was a close second, led by Bailey Brinkerhoff and Laynee Wells.
Cedar and Snow Canyon will also be at the state meet. The Lady Reds’ top runner in the region meet was Mic Webster and the Warriors were led by Pyper Schmutz.
The Thunder have won the last three titles on the boys side and figure to be the front runner again after securing their fifth straight region title last week.
“I think it’ll be very similar up at state and then you’ll throw in a couple schools up north, I think on the boys side you’ve got Stansbury, they have a couple kids,” Desert Hills coach Logan Fielding said.
Desert Hills and Pine View dominated the region boys race. Jaiden Melendrez, Spencer Ford and Bryson King are three of Desert Hills’ top runners. Pine View is led by Dallen Gillespie, Julien Canales, Mitchel Price and Carson Horspool.
Hurricane’s duo of Caleb and Caden Armstrong are also strong runners who finished in the top 10 at the region meet and have a good chance of doing the same at the state meet. Cedar is the other team heading to Salt Lake City, as Jensen Lambert placed 10th at the region meet and is the Reds’ top runner.
Connect with reporter Patrick Carr on Twitter @PatrickCarr_ and on Facebook at Facebook.com/PatrickJosephCarr1/ or call him at 435-231-3834.