SPORTS – “White leads Lady Bears to record time at state meet”

CEDAR CITY – October 25, 2020

Madison White, right, Oct. 21, 2020 - Photo by Chad Hurst

As has been the norm for the last four years, Madison White again had a race for the record books in leading the Bear River High School varsity girls’ cross-country team to their best performance ever at the 2020 4A state championships.

The race was held Wednesday, Oct. 21, at Cedar City High School.

“Madi will be the first to tell you she wasn't satisfied with her place or time but considering she was going through some tough times physically the last two weeks she just keeps amazing us with her resiliency,” said Bear River High cross-country Coach Tyrell Neal.

Those tough times began several weeks ago and continued into the Region 11 meet where she took second.

“I would say the first three days after region I was really concerned for her health. She just didn't feel good. Saturday was better but not the best but the morning of the championship race at state I could tell she was going to be okay. She broke her own school record (18:49) with a great time of 18:45 and finished in the top five again,” said Bear River High cross-country Coach Dan Line.

"Madi is a special person as a competitor, team captain, friend, student, teammate and human being. We couldn't ask for more. She gave the team everything she had. Her career is completely incredible,” said Dan Line.

Many of those incredible things include being the first girl in school history to medal all four years at region and at Cache Box.

“Not sure that is happening again any time soon,” Line added.

Those medals include three runner ups and an individual championship both at region (2019) and at Cache Box (2020). She was also an integral part of the first two Cache Box titles (2018 and 2019) for the girls’ program and another region title for the girls in (2019).

She is the first girl to medal twice at state and to cap it off she was part of the past two 4A Girls Academic State championships teams for the Lady Bears.

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Madison White

“Funny, there is a lot more we could say about Madi. As we were driving home from the meet I was kind of left speechless on how much she has meant to the team. And not just individually. All the girls past and present have looked up to her and they have become winners just like she is both on and off the course. Even the boys’ team has benefitted from seeing her work ethic and determination. We look forward to the great things she will do in college. She is the most accomplished girls distance runner ever at Bear River and she deserves that recognition in every way,” said Line.

Part of the great leadership can be seen in the performances of the rest of the girls’ squad. Coming into the season the girls had hopes of repeating as Cache Box and region champions with outside hopes of a state trophy. But injuries derailed over half of the team and two more of the varsity members had commitments with the soccer team. White kept it together and the team never quit and they kept seeing her bring her best.

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“The girls wanted to be with Madi. It just wasn't any fun for a while to see the team kind of in disarray. But those girls, they never quit. They were determined as any group of young people I have ever seen, and they finally got a big reward at state with their individual and team performance. Just phenomenal what they did,” said Neal.

Those great results began with White's second straight 5th place performance at state.

Junior Shylee Kofoed moved up several places during the final mile to take 22nd and claim the second best mark in school history with an outstanding time of 19:40.

“Shylee overcame a lot this season. To get a region medal and then run the second fastest time in school history took our breath away. She will pick up where Madi has left off and continue to carry the girls’ team. We are so excited to have her one more year,” said Neal.

Teammates Naomi Tomlinson (37th, 20:14) and Liz Phillips (44th, 20:23) followed next running strong and helping the team to their fastest performance in school history.

“No group of girls at Bear River have run so fast at state. I know they all wanted to do better which is amazing they gave so much but still had dreams of more. So much fun to be with them,” Neal added.

Tomlinson improved her rankings on the all-time Bear River record board by moving into 8th place all-time.

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Photo by Chad Hurst

“We really challenged Naomi to have a better second mile and still kick at the end. She did that and improved her best time at state by 38 seconds and coming in we knew Liz was getting better from her injuries but still not 100 percent. We wanted her to stick with Becca and instead she stuck with Naomi. Her comeback was super and we couldn't be happier that she is finally healthy. She has great potential and a lot of great things still to accomplish with her distance running at Bear River,” said Line.

Nailing down the final spots for the Lady Bears were fantastic freshman Rebecca Curtis (55th, 20:48), junior Katie Wynn (73rd, 21:16) and senior Kenya Tomlinson (77th, 21:24).

“Rebecca was the second best freshman at state this year. What more can we say? She did awesome and is on the school all-time best record board for state. Katie ran 28:45 at the course 20 days ago. What a turn around and performance. And Kenya ran the second fastest time of her cross-country career. We have never had the whole team break 22 minutes before. Those girls are champions in our hearts,” Neal said.

At the end of the meet the girls tied the best team finish ever with a solid 5th place.

“That field at state was loaded. For these girls to perform as well as they did with all the setbacks is a huge win for them. If these girls would have run at state the last time we finished 5th (2009) they all would have placed in the top 20 and we would have won a state trophy with all the top five girls running faster than our best runner. We think the world of these girls. I am sure they have more dreams they want to fulfill next year,” Line added.

Photos by Chad Hurst