CEDAR CITY – October 25, 2020
Not to be outdone by friend and teammate Madison White, Bear River High School senior Peter Nielsen put another state performance in the record books for the boys from Bear River. Nielsen also brought home a 5th place medal by running the second fastest time in school history with a mark of 16:01 on Oct. 22, 2020 in Cedar City.
“Peter really wanted to break 16:00 but he also wanted a medal. He will take 5th place with a huge smile on his face. Really proud of him and all he has done this year,” said Bear River High cross-country coach Dan Line.
Nielsen was fresh off an individual region championship last week and had his sights set on the state podium. He had previously run against the best in the field several weeks earlier on the same course, finishing 10th.
“Peter was really running solid at region and I thought he was in the mix to break into the top five. He did that and almost took third. He really was gassed and wiped out at the end but that is how you feel when you do something special. It never feels good and it usually leaves you left broken and torn. Peter showed it was worth it. He also was a great friend to his teammates and an excellent leader. Above all, when it mattered, Peter listened and trusted his coaches and it paid off,” Line added.
Fellow senior teammate Daniel Curtis almost made it two runners from Bear River on the medals stand.
“Daniel did what he had to do. We knew he had a shot at the top 10 and he stayed in contention for a medal for over two miles. He gave it a great shot. He faded just a little but really pounded it home the last quarter mile to run 16:40 (23rd). That puts him 8th all-time for the team records at state. Even though he fell short in the results, he did not fall short in giving it all he had. That is something he can keep with him a long time. Daniel has grown as much as any athlete in the history of the program and he is part of a region championship and is a multiple individual medalist at region. He was a wonderful part of a great year for the boys’ team,” Line said.
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The boys had hopes of possibly finishing in the top five like the girls, but it wasn't to be. The boys did come in the top half of the race with a 9th place finish.
“I really think two things held us back. One was the trip we took earlier to Cedar. We had to do it one day. We raced at home five days later and then ran our hearts out to win region six days after that. Probably was too much for them to bounce back and do great at state. We probably emptied the tank too much, but we aren't trading a region title for a better spot at state. Those boys are champions and we love each one of them for their courage and determination. It was a lot of fun to boot,” he added.
The rest of the boys squad that competed at the 2020 4A state championships included junior Ammon Hunter (69th, 17:30), senior Gabe Wilson (72nd, 17:32), junior Matt Spotten (83rd, 17:40), senior Keyjun Hale (88th, 17:49) and junior Phillip Gallegos (99th, 17:58). The team has a great shot next year to continue with the success they have seen the last several years.
Coach Line and Coach Neal wanted to thank the high school administration for their support, especially athletic director Van Park, plus all the parents, area businesses and new assistant coach Ben Wynn for their help.
The team will celebrate the season at their annual dinner and awards banquet on Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 6:30 p.m. in the Bear River High School commons. All athletes are invited with a maximum of two guests per family.
Photos by Chad Hurst