SPORTS - "Promising start to Bear River cross-country 2020 season"

BEAR RIVER HIGH – August 23, 2020

On Saturday, August 15, 2020, the Bear River High School varsity cross-country teams attended the Premier Invite in Salt Lake City at the Cottonwood Sports Complex. The Premier Invite is the first meet of the season in Utah and a high-quality meet. This year, because of COVID-19 restrictions, only the varsity teams were able to attend.

"We were excited to go to this meet early in the year. We never start the season this early, but we have big goals this year and the athletes are working hard to reach them,” said Bear River High’s cross-country coach Dan Line.

One of the reasons they attended this meet was to see Ridgeline High School’s boys’ and girls’ cross-country teams.

"We were scheduled to run a region race against them and we counted this meet at that competition. Ridgeline was well-prepared and it was obvious they have had a good summer,” said Line. “We were disappointed that we didn't have a better showing against them at the meet but the season is really early."

In the team competition, the defending Region 11 champions for the girls’ cross-country program, the Lady Bears, struggled due to the graduation of star runner Abbie Fuhriman (UVU) and injuries to two of their top three runners Shylee Kofoed and Liz Phillips.

"Both Liz and Shylee have put in a lot of work and racing the past year. Some of their summer mileage has caught up with them. We rested Liz and Shylee was limited to how much she ran. Fortunately, they are both on the mend and will be full strength soon," Line said.

The girls squad finished 4th out of six teams scoring 115 points. Ridgeline won the meet handily (32) followed by top teams Ogden (42) and Stansbury (63).

Individually senior sensation Madison White showed why she is a state contender - leading most of the race in first place before settling for 2nd place with a great first meet time of 19:23.6.

"Madi went out aggressive. That's her plan this year and her time was one of her top five ever. So being the first meet, she has to be pleased, and she was," Line said.

Also running well for the Lady Bears was junior Naomi Tomlinson, who placed 14th overall with a time of 21:12.9.

"Naomi is a great athlete, competitor and teammate. We are really glad she was able to come and run while still being on the soccer team," Line said.

Rounding out the girls’ squad was Katie Wynn (22:29.5 - 26th), Abby Rhodes (27:29.3 - 21st) and junior Kambry Gardner in her first varsity race (25:43.6 - 38th).

Story continues below...

The boys squad faced a bigger and tougher field finding themselves in 5th place out of seven teams and scoring 102 points. Ogden (48), Stansbury (51) and Ridgeline (58) were the top three teams.

"The boys weren't at full strength for a lot of reasons. We liked their effort a lot but we are encouraging them to put it together a little better and be focused on their goals - which is to be region champs,” Line said.

“We were missing three of our top six runners and several of the boys were able to run aren't in the shape we had hoped for. Like the girls, time is on our side still. This was a good race for the boys to realize where they are at and what it will take to reach their goals," Line added.

Individually, Peter Nielsen shined just like Madison White did, also grabbing the runner-up honors (16:23.8) and 2nd place medal at the meet.

"Peter did exactly what we asked him to do. I could tell halfway through the race that it was going to pay off. He had a shot to win it but his 2nd place finished was awesome. There were six other boys in the race who will be favored to earn state medalist honors and Peter really belongs with them,” Line said.

“He is healthy, has worked hard and most importantly he really listens to us and trusts us. His time was his PR for a cross country race," he added.

Following Nielsen was senior Daniel Curtis (16:55.5 - 11th), Phillip Gallegos (17:48.7 - 28th), Keyjun Hale (17:56.1 - 29th), Matt Spotten (18:17.4 - 32nd) and Kael Kowallis (18:51.7 - 34th).

The Bears also had a some of their varsity run on Wednesday, August 19, at a follow-up region meet at Ridgeline High.

In her first cross country race ever, freshman Becca Curtis placed 8th with an outstanding time of 21:43.

"Wow! We asked Becca to lay off the pace early and save herself for the last half. She did just what we wanted. She beat the number seven runner for Ridgeline and all but the number one for Green Canyon. That was awesome. She sure was happy afterwards," Line said.

“Gabe Wilson came off two days of hard training and found himself 10th overall (18:12) followed by potential varsity runners Bryan Hamson (18:36 - 13th), David Bourgeous (18:41 - 14th) Will Rhodes (18:44 - 15th), Dallin Rhodes (18:45 - 16th) and Braxton Craven (18:56 - 17th). Coming back to the team after a full summer of work was varsity runner Kourtlan Rasmussen, who rounded out the varsity scoring and placing for the Bears squad (19:19 - 20th),” Line said.

Next up for all the team is a Region 11 meet at Sky View High School on Wednesday, August 26. The girls will start the race at 3:30 p.m. on the track with the boys to follow soon after.

The next two weeks, any high school aged athlete who still wants to join the Bear River cross-country team can still sign up. Deadline to join is, Thursday, September 3.

See Coach Dan Line or Coach Tyrell Neal at practice - which meets at Bear River Middle School in the gym at 6:45 a.m. You can also email Coach Line at daniel.line@besd.net