SALT LAKE CITY -- The first 150 meters of the state 4-A girls cross country race made it obvious that something special was happening. Ogden High's Sarah Feeny jumped to an early lead that quickly stretched and stretched and stretched some more.
When Feeny hit the track for the last 100 meters, she could see the clock as it ticked more quickly than she wanted. So she picked it up even more and crossed the line in 17:25, setting a new state cross country course record for all classifications.
"Sometimes when you come in, you see the clock and you think, 'Oh I've got it.' But you haven't finished the race yet, so I was like, 'I've got to hurry I bet the seconds are going to change quicker than I think.' I just sprinted in."
Her time beats the old record, 17:36, set by Box Elder's Kelsey Braithwaite.
While Feeny was happy with her finish, her smile widened even more when her final teammate came in and confirmed that Ogden High was the girls state team champion.
"Making our team goal means way more than meeting my individual goal," said Feeny.
Feeny has been second at state three times previously. This year she focused specifically on the state meet.
"Every workout I did I had state in mind. I would sometimes imagine myself finishing for state during my workouts, and I also just tried to mentally prepare myself, to listen to songs that pumped me up. I had to get out and get in the lead, because I knew that if I tried to stick with someone during the first mile then I wouldn't get the record, and I wanted to get my team out fast."
Feeny's teammates Maranda Garrett (18:52) was 10th with Cate Carabine (18:54) 11th. Junior Hannah Allred was 34th and Aleisha Keller was 56th. Lydia Trotter (20:50) was 69th.
Another teammate, April Callister, who usually runs fourth for the Tigers, went out hard and sacrificed herself early in the race for her team. She almost didn't make it across the finish line, but finished for a time of 25:19. Her early jump to the front helped her team overall by guiding them.
"She ran really tough," said Coach Alydia Barton. "She wanted it. She led them out bravely and set the bar, she showed Hannah where she needed to go."
"Our top three we knew were tough," said Ogden co-coach Don Hall. "Carabine and Maranda came through. But as you know it's all about that fourth and fifth runner. The hero, the fourth and fifth runner, was Hannah Allred as a good solid fourth, and Aleisha Keller had to step up today and be our fifth runner. They never gave up."
Keller credited Allred's come back from an injury last year as one of the reasons the team put it together.
"It feels unbelievable. We've been dreaming about this. I can't believe that we did it!" she said. "I think in just the past couple weeks, especially as Hannah Allred has come back strong in the last couple meets, that helped us see that we could do it."
Ogden won by five points, scoring 98 to Timpanogos's 103. Skyline was third in 120, with Maple Mountain fourth at 129. Mountain Crest was fifth, scoring 163. Clearfield was thirteenth with 312, and Woods Cross was fourteenth with 335.
Box Elder's Hannah Malone followed Feeny with an 18:13, to take second place in her final cross country meet.
"My goal was to get in the top five," said Malone. Malone said that she knew she had a lock on second when she couldn't hear anyone's spikes the second time around the pond on the course.
Miranda O'Very of mountain Crest was 12th in 18:55 and Bonneville's Hannah Davies was 21st in 19:29.
* 4-A BOYS: Ogden High's Mike Buckley ran a perfect tactical race to finish second overall in the boys 4-Adivision. He got caught back in the pack during the first mile but made his move to second. Then on the long hill in the second mile conserved his energy, let a few boys pass him, then worked his way up and laid it out to finish second in 15:36.
"I tried to go out and give it everything, and run my best, most gutsy race," said Buckely. "I tried to do my job for my boys."
Buckley and his teammates, Justin Sheets (22, 16:27), Alek Parson (23, 16:28), Dylan Anderson (30, 16:31), Pedro DeLeon (35, 16:36), Garret Barton (39, 16:37), and Harrison Godfrey (50, 16:50) were disappointed with their team finish.
The Tigers looked poised to win a state championship coming off a strong season, but fell to third, scoring 112 points behind Orem (71) and Timpanogos (105).
"That was not as well as we were hoping," said coach Alydia Barton. Although she said now the team will be fired up for the Southwest Regionals on Nov. 23.
"Orem and Timpanogos ran great races," said Buckley. "In one month we'll come out and show we've improved and grown as a team."
Sky View's Conner Mantz ran 15:11 to win the individual championship. He led from the start and although Buckley was able to cut slightly into that lead, Mantz prevailed.
"I could have gone a lot faster," said Mantz, a junior who will have a chance to do that next year.
Mantz's team was sixth overall. Woods Cross finished eighth (213), Clearfield was ninth (227), Mountain Crest was 10th (254), with Box Elder 12th (272).
Individual finishers from top of Utah that scored in top 25 included Woods Cross's Jacob Stone and Taylor Dillon, eighth in 16:00, and 10th in 16:02; Clearfield's Kendall Thompson, 13th in 16:08; Box Elder's Tanner Blaylock and Hunter Meredith, 15th in 16:09 and 21st in 16:21; and Mountain Crest's James Thorne was 25th in 16:28.