State cross country: Ogden sweeps 3A team titles; Farmington boys win 3rd straight championship
Ogden High has knocked on the door at the state cross country championships a few times in recent years, only to fall short. But the move down to 3A this year, which was seen as an attempt to make Ogden more competitive, has turned out to be a double positive for the Tigers.
Ogden won three of a possible four first-place honors at Wednesday’s 3A cross country state championships, sweeping the girls and boys team titles and getting an individual first place in the boys race from junior Jack Blodgett.
It’s the first time since 2012 that the Ogden boys won the state championship and the first time since 2013 that the girls took home the big trophy. The school has never won both titles in the same year.
On the girls side, the Tigers edged Carbon 72 to 82 for the title, with four runners finishing between 10th and 17th place.
Charlize Herrera led Ogden by finishing 10th with a time of 20:22.3, Kaitlyn Blackham and Donna Gonzalez finished 14th and 15th within one second of each other, and freshman Isabella Gray marked her first state championship race with a 17th-place finish and a time of 20:36.6.
What sealed the deal for the Tigers was junior Gem Garner (20:58.3) finishing in 21st place ahead of two Carbon High racers who happened to be the Dinos’ No. 4 and No. 5 runners, and who subsequently finished 24th and 30th.
“Today was definitely our best race of the season and you always hope that the state meet is when it’s all gonna come together,” OHS girls cross country coach Merrilee Blackham said. “I love to have it be such a team effort rather than two or three standouts. I thought that made it a really great win.”
Morgan, which beat the Ogden girls for the Region 13 team championship, finished third as a team with 85 points. Kate Heywood (20:04.0) and Clara Compton (20:05.0) finished in seventh and eighth, respectively. Ella Stevenson took 12th for Morgan. Ben Lomond’s high finisher was Lundi Ferrier in 54th.
Supplied by Scott Yetter Ogden High’s girls cross country team poses after winning the 3A state championship Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021.
The 3A boys race was much different as Ogden’s boys team dominated with 44 points, ahead of Richfield’s 74.
For context, the Tigers’ five scoring runners all had crossed the finish line before Richfield and Union’s No. 4 racers did.
Blodgett clocked a time of 15:50.7, broke through the finish line tape first and wore that tape around his neck when he posed with the team and the championship trophy.
Jake Peterson finished in sixth place with a time of 16:13.8, Coby Wight and Carter Parsons were 11th and 12th, respectively, and Sean Feeny finished 17th to round out Ogden’s five scoring runners.
Morgan’s high finisher was Josh Nicolaides in 23rd place and Gavin Cox was Ben Lomond’s high finisher in 72nd.
This year, the state cross country race moved to Salt Lake’s Regional Athletic Complex (RAC) after years of being at Sugarhouse Park.
The RAC is in a flat area in Rose Park and is a faster course compared to hilly Sugarhouse. Six 3A girls racers broke the 20-minute mark this year compared to just one in 2019 and four in 2018, for example.
The biggest obstacle standing in the way of a third consecutive boys cross country state championship for Farmington was the move up from 5A to 6A. It turns out, the Phoenix was still the team to beat.
Farmington won its third straight state title with 49 points ahead of second-place American Fork’s 68. Farmington, which has only been open since 2018, placed four runners in the top 10.
Matthew Neuenschwander led the Phoenix in sixth place with a time of 15:24.6 and teammate Britton Austin was seventh with a 15:26.6. Ethan Peterson and Isaac Halverson finished 1.3 seconds apart in ninth and 10th, respectively.
Ryan Bennett rounded out the scoring quintet in 17th place with a time of 15:36. All five FHS scoring runners are seniors.
“To go three straight is always fun and they’ve been a core group, this class,” FHS coach Chris Brower said. “They’re best friends, they do everything together, they push each other in workouts, then race with and against each other.
“A big part of that is these kids have been committed. They’ve sacrificed a lot, maybe little things that may not seem little to other people,” he added.
Weber’s Andrew Harris finished 15th, in 15:33.5, and Davis senior Tyler Spencer took 16th with a time of 15:33.7. The Warriors were seventh as a team and the Darts took eighth as a team.
Layton’s Hailey Low was the high Region 1 finisher in the 6A girls race, taking third place with a time of 17:44.
Davis’ Kenedy Maudsley and Ellie Zaugg finished 11th and 12th, respectively. Farmington was the best Region 1 team finisher, taking seventh place. American Fork won the team championship.
In the girls race, Bonneville freshman Sienna Barton was the team’s high finisher in 13th place with a time of 19:14.8. Box Elder sophomore Kambree Cragun took 15th with a time of 19:19.1 to help the Bees finish ninth as a team. Springville won the team title.
In the boys race, Northridge junior Will Luoma finished in 13th with a time of 16:07.4. Region 5 nearly had a state champion from Woods Cross junior Sam Hansen, who took third place and helped his team finish eighth. Bountiful junior Andrew Jensen took 12th and Mountain View won the team title.
Bear River senior Elizabeth Phillips finished in fifth place with a time of 19:15.0 and helped the Bears’ girls team finish fifth. Pine View won the team championship.
Ammon Hunter led the Bear River boys by finishing 19th in 16:38.4. BR was eighth as a team and Cedar High won first place.
In the girls race, Emilia Pinchak, a freshman from St. Joseph High, led the team with a 24th-place finish in a time of 23:29.8. The Jayhawks were sixth as a team and North Summit won the team championship.
On the boys side, Brandon Arbegast was the lone St. Joseph racer in the field and finished 36th with a time of 18:56.1. Millard won the team title with five racers finishing in the top eight.