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SPORTS - "Region champs! Bear River boys run for the title"

WELLSVILLE - October 14, 2020

October 13, 2020 - Photo by Chad Hurst

After a 10-year drought, the boys from Bear River High School are rocking again as they claimed the Region 11 boys’ cross-country title on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020 in Cache County.

“That was way too long. I have been really tired of typing the number 2 in our record books. These boys are really special to me. That was a huge win for them and the program,” said Bear River High School’s cross-country coach Dan Line.

The last varsity boys’ region title took place back 2010 during their state championship run. Not only was it another region title but the Bears knocked off the boys from Ridgeline High School who had never lost a region title in cross-country.

It was also the first title for any Bear River High boys’ program since joining the new region and going 4A.

“I am not sure the boys know what they did. I have been after them the last three years. I don't think they always liked the pressure I put on them but Coach Neal and Coach Wynn and I knew they could do it. They got it and it is going into the rafters and we are engraving the names of some special kids on that trophy,” said Line.

To make the victory even sweeter, senior leader and varsity captain Peter Nielsen thrived under pressure and secured a first-place finish for the individual title.

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Peter Nielsen, Oct. 13, 2020 - Photo by Chad Hurst

“I knew that Peter (1st, 16:18) just needed to be smart for the start and then make everyone hurt. Several other boys were really improving but so was Peter. Almost breaking 16 minutes on this course means the school record at state (BRHS’s Chris Brower, 2008, 15:50) is in serious jeopardy. I think he has a state medal and that record on his mind,” added Line.

Not to be outdone by his close teammate, senior Daniel Curtis (2nd, 16:30) also ran a great time in helping lead the Bears to victory.

“Having Peter and Daniel makes us look good as coaches. I think the other teams knew they had a tough road to victory having to deal with those two. Daniel wanted to go 1-2 really bad with Peter. We hope he has his best day next week and both of them can be on the medal podium together at state,” said Line.

Coming into the meet the Bears knew Ridgeline High, Mountain Crest High and Green Canyon High all had top runners to match the duo of Nielsen and Curtis. They also knew their second wave of runners had to match the other teams to get the win.

“We knew Gabe (Wilson, 12th, 17:16) had to beat Ridgeline's number three. He did that. We knew Ammon (Hunter, 16th, 17:23), Keyjun (Hale, 17th, 17:24), Phillip (Gallegos, 28th, 18:00) and Kourtlan (Rasmussen, 29th, 18:04) had to be with Ridgeline's number four and five. Ammon was right behind their number four and Keyjun came on strong and beat their five at the finish. We tied them points wise with those three spots. That sealed the deal,” Line said.

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The boys’ performance was a great team effort as Gallegos had been injured and regular number five runner Matt Spotten had been really sick coming into the meet.

“Phillip and Matt took care of things for us at Cache Box Invite and then when they went down we knew we needed at least two of the boys to step up. Keyjun and Ammon stepped in today and took care of things for region. That's what being a team is, Kourtlan too. We love those boys. They are champions on the field and in our hearts. Great group of boys and you never really replace seniors, you just remember them,” added Line.

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Phillip Gallegos, Oct. 13, 2020 - Photo by Chad Hurst

The Bear River High junior varsity boys’ team dominated the Region 11 meet with a 24-48 win over second place finishers Ridgeline High. Medalists were individual champion Matt Spotten (1st), David Bourgeous (2nd), Ryan Pace (6th), Will Rhodes (7th), Carter Hamson (8th), Braxton Craven (10th), Tate Pedersen (11th) and Dallin Rhodes (15th).

The boys’ 4A state championship race starts at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 21, at Cedar City High School.

Lady Bears garner second place

The Bear River girls had their best race of the season at the Region XI cross-country championships at the American West Heritage Center in Wellsville on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

“I tell you what, we love these girls. They are the greatest. I have never been around such a coachable group of young people,” said Line.

“We didn't win but we sure gave it our best shot despite all the setbacks of this season. The girls are really pleased with their effort and we are really proud of them,” Line added.

Going into this championship race the Lady Bears had a target on their backs as the defending champions.

“Ridgeline hasn't been happy about us breaking up their monopoly at region and Cache Box the last couple years. They had a great year and our setbacks were hard to get completely overcome,” Line said.

Those setbacks pushed the girls’ squad back into second place behind the Riverhawks. Ridgeline pulled out the team victory 33-58 over Bear River.

The girls were led by senior Madison White. Coming into the race White was the pre-race favorite and had just gone through a string of several impressive races including her first title a month earlier at the prestigious Cache Box Invitational on the same course.

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Madison White, Oct. 13, 2020 - Photo by Chad Hurst

“We were confident Madi would do well and she did. Kate Dickson (Sky View) stole the show though. Her and Madi have battled back and forth all season and they will again next week at state. We love Madi and her second-place finish is something to be really proud of. She will regroup and race great again,” said coach Tyrell Neal.

Following White (2nd, 19:13) into the finish was number two runner Shylee Kofoed (8th, 20:07).

“Shylee was injured back in June. She has been frustrated, down a little but we kept telling her she needed to chip away at things. She has and just like we told her she had her best race today. To end up on the medal podium was amazing. I am sure it will create a great memory for her. She still has big goals,” Neal added.

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Shylee Kofoed, Oct. 13, 2020 - Photo by Chad Hurst

Like Kofoed, fellow standout junior Liz Phillips (21st, 21:31) has had the injury bug and may be a little worse.

“Amazing that she only has five runs total under her belt since the beginning of August. She is sick of cross training and the swimming pool, but she is really closing the gap on where she can be. She had a great race today and no doubt that she will run in the low 20's come state. Still some time for her and the team to make some noise,” Neal said.

Other standout performances went to junior Naomi Tomlinson who was just out of medal contention settling for (13th) with a nice time of (20:46) and freshman Becca Curtis (14th, 20:55) who came in right after Tomlinson. Third year varsity senior Kenya Tomlinson (23rd, 21:46) broke 22 minutes for the first time this season and showed what a great leader she is.

Junior Katie Wynn made the biggest jump for the Bears. After running 28 minutes 10 days ago down in Cedar, Wynn continued on her own comeback trail from a hip injury with a super time of 22:49 (32nd).

“Katie is special like all the other girls. She really wanted to get ready for the state meet. She has done that. We are so pleased with her,” added Neal.

The girls’ team will travel down to Cedar City on Tuesday Oct. 20, for the 4A state championships. Race times for the girls’ varsity run starts at 5 p.m.

Photos by Chad Hurst and Tyrell Neal

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