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SPORTS - "Bear River cross-country takes it to the top of Utah"

BEAR RIVER HIGH – September 9, 2020

The Bear River High School cross-country team decided to keep things rolling at the Top of Utah Cross-Country Invitational held at the Weber County fairgrounds on Friday, September 4.

“We keep following a simple pattern of work hard, listen, have good team spirit and give it your best. The kids are just doing wonderful. We keep seeing solid improvement across the board and we are having fun,” said Bear River High cross-country coach Dan Line.

The fun began with an inverted race format with the varsity boys getting first crack at the course.

“The boys were glad to get the cooler weather for once and they made it pay off with their best race of the year. We are gearing up a little for the Cache Box and this gives us some confidence,” added Line.

Led by seniors Peter Nielsen and Daniel Curtis, the boys in red dominated the competition with an impressive team score of 32 - outpointing Green Canyon (65) and Mt Crest (71). Nielsen claimed top honors with an impressive time of 16:35, followed by Curtis’ third place finish and solid time of 16:51.

“We are spoiled to have Peter and Daniel up there duking it out with the best runners around and taking turns leading us. It is a real strength to the team,” Line said.

Fellow senior Gabe Wilson also claimed podium honors coming in with a sixth place (17:23).

“Gabe has a solid outlook about his running. He is slowly bringing it and preparing himself for the bigger meets coming up. He is such a great athlete,” Line said.

Bear River High Junior Phillip Gallegos continues to show he is legit varsity runner for the Bears with his 10th place showing (17:43) and medal honors as well. Rounding out the varsity for the team was senior Keyjun Hale (12th, 17:55) and juniors Matt Spotten (15th, 18:00) and Will Rhodes (24th, 18:26).

“The teamwork is getting more consistent and so is the fun. Boys are having a great time together and leading the younger runners as well,” said Line.

In the boys’ junior varsity race, the Bears took third place and in the rookie race, the team beat all placing first with an amazing eight runners in the top 10 and the lowest team score of the day - 20 points.

The Lady Bears on the varsity squad also got to race early and after the varsity boys. They made sure they took home some hardware as well. In a tight race with region rival Mountain Crest High, the Bears claimed a hard fought 40-42 victory.

“The Mountain Crest girls’ squad looked tough early but all the girls rallied and moved up the last mile and we got a trophy,” said Line.

It wasn't until freshman Becca Curtis (22:05, 15th) crossed the finish line that the girls’ team secured the win.

“Becca had a nagging injury this week. She didn't feel great but her and Katie Wynn (13th, 22:04) stuck together and really hung on the final mile. Katie actually beat the fifth scoring runner from Mountain Crest by less than a second. If she would have gotten passed, we would have tied with Mountain Crest but lost the tie breaker. Great win for the girls! Super stoked for them,” said Bear River High’s girls’ cross-country coach Tyrell Neal.

What added to the excitement for the girls team was the 4A individual championship performance from team captain, Bear River High senior Madison White. After losing to region foe Kate Dickson from Sky View High the week before, White returned the favor to claim victory.

“Madi isn't satisfied running good. She wants to race hard and get her share. It was definitely her turn today. She fought through a little doubt right in the middle of the race to kind of keep everyone at bay. Great effort for this early in the season. More ahead for Madi and she will keep after it,” said Line.

Good news for the girls’ team, Naomi Tomlinson keeps getting better and Shylee Kofoed keeps regaining health and fitness after and early season injury.

“We could tell coming in that Naomi was ready to compete. She had two Mountain Crest girls in front of her with a half mile to go. We told her she had to catch them. Just like Katie, if she hadn't caught those two right at the finish, the Mountain Crest girls would have beat us. Really cool for Naomi. She was so excited and pleased,” added Neal.

Tomlinson (21:00) landed towards the top of the medals podium with a fourth place finish and Kofoed reached her pre-race goal of breaking 21:30 (21:26) which allowed her to medal in seventh place.

“Finally, a big smile from Shylee. She wants to keep getting better, but her hard work and patience is finally swinging things her way. She is so coachable but also a great competitor. She earned it today,” said Neal.

The Lady Bears are still hoping for the return of standout Liz Phillips, who is working hard to rehab from a knee injury. The young Lady Bears’ team finished up the meet with a tie breaking victory over Tooele High School to claim runner-up status in the girls’ rookie race.

Next up for the Bears is a home meet on the Bear River High track Thursday, September 10. This 2-mile race is called the Homecoming HOKA. Bear River will host Green Canyon High, Grace High (ID) and Preston High.

The Boys’ B race will be at 3:30 p.m. followed by the Girls’ open race at 3:45 p.m. and the Boys’ A race at 4 p.m. Spectators are welcome to come out and cheer on the team.


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