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|High schoolers leg it out in mid-summer road race |
Salt Lake City, UT -- Davis High School in Kaysville, Utah is only about 20 miles north of Salt Lake City, site of the annual Deseret Morning News 10k and Marathon. Current and recent Davis runners made the most of that proximity with top finishes in the Junior division of the 10k road race. Jared Ward, a 2007 Davis grad, took 6th place overall with a time of 30:35 to push his Utah Boys All-Star team to a 2nd place finish behind a USA All-Star team fronted by leading Footlocker returnee Ben Johnson. Candace Eddy, a rising junior at Davis, elected to compete with her cross country teammates, taking individual honors among Junior-aged girls with her 37:06 10th place finish and propelling her Davis High team to 2nd behind the Utah All-Stars and ahead of the USA All-Star team.
Ward, who has committed to BYU but plans to complete a 2-year mission before enrolling, was determined to have a better start than he’d had in the 2006 version of the race. “I ran it last year and got out really slow,” he said afterwards, “so I wanted to get out faster this year and then see what happened.”
“What happened” was that Ward found himself tucked into a swift chase pack of four, pursuing eventual winner Richard Kimeli (28:45) and runner-up Teren Jameson (29:11). Also in that pack was Oklahoma State redshirt freshman Clay Mayes, one of 3 Oklahoma runners (recent grads Kevin Schwab of Mustang HS and Kendall Robbins of Owasso HS were the others) who formed their own “team” without official sponsorship and drove 17 hours to arrive in time for the race.
The chase pack held together through 5 miles, at which point Ward was already hurting, but continued to push. “About four miles in, it got really hard on my legs,” he said afterwards. “I wore these flats [gestures disdainfully at his thin-soled footwear] instead of my trainers, and it beat up my shins a little bit.” With no high school cross country season looming in the fall for Ward, and plans for the rest of the summer that include “running around a little bit, a few races, that sort of thing,” he held on for an impressive 30:35 10k PR.
USA All-Stars begin to assert
Behind him, the USA All-Star team members were asserting themselves, after trying in vain to stay conservative through the initial 5k. Montana’s Patrick Casey found himself running near Ward early, but faded in the blistering downhill pace and eventually wound up third for the US squad, finishing 21st overall in 32:39. Ben Johnson of New Mexico and Kevin Williams of Colorado stayed close to one another through the early miles, intending to hold back but still hitting the halfway point under 15 minutes.
“It was pretty fun,” the gregarious Johnson said afterwards. “I wanted to save some to push the last 5k, but we went out in 14:52—faster than we wanted.” He and Williams both agreed that Ward, who they’d raced over 3200 meters on the track at Great Southwest, delivered an ambitious early pace they were unwilling to match at this point in their training. “He went right away,” Johnson said, “and I knew I didn’t want to go out that quick.”
Johnson, like many of the high schoolers, had a tenuous agreement with his coach to take it easy in the mid-summer road effort, one he found harder to keep as the field rocketed downhill from the University of Utah into the city. Searching for a middle ground, Johnson moved up steadily throughout, eventually gapping Williams and catching Casey. He couldn’t catch 12th place Oklahoman Kevin Schwab, however, and had to settle for 13th place in 31:42. Williams was next at 32:24, and then Casey, sealing up the team win for the USA All-Stars.
“I gotta get back to training,” Williams laughed afterwards. He allowed that the race was somewhat helpful for gauging the fitness of potential national-level competition like Johnson, “but then again, we’re all just training for the summer. I don’t think any of us were taking it too seriously today.”
Eddy echoes laid-back approach
Top girls’ finisher Candace Eddy echoed those sentiments. “It’s good for being able to push myself for longer distances, but [I treated it] kind of like a training run. A fast training run.”
Eddy could have run for the Utah All-Star team, but chose to run with her high school team instead. The decision paid off nicely with a 2nd place showing for the Davis High squad. The Utah All-Stars still took top honors, even without Eddy and expected front-runner Samantha McMillan (out with an injury). They were led by Sarah Callister of Ogden High (37:40-13th overall), followed by Kacee Hildebrandt (39:10 -23rd) and Hailey Knettles (39:19 -24th).
Front runner for the third place USA All-Star team was Anne Lovelace of Boise, Idaho (38:55-20th). Lovelace, who was part of an invited Idaho team last year, had a better race this time around. “I pushed it a lot more [than last year], especially the first couple of miles. I think that helped my time a lot. The last mile was definitely the hardest, but as soon as I could see the finish line I knew I was almost done. I really enjoyed it.”
- Due to the invitational nature of the Junior-level competition, there were plenty of local individuals who registered on their own and came in unheralded. Impressive finishes by high school-aged competitors who weren’t necessarily on the pre-race radar included 15 year-old Karl Wilcock of Hurricane, Utah, 32:28 for 19th, just behind 9:05 3200-runner Kevin Williams, female 14th placer McKenzie Snyder (37:52).
- While Anne Lovelace clearly enjoyed the race, she did have some good-natured sartorial advice for the organizers. “They need to get smaller shirts for the girls!” she laughed, showing off the team USA All-Star jersey she’d pinned on the sides and trimmed at the bottom. Apparently those last-minute fix-ups had nothing on the alterations the Idaho girls performed last year on the oversized singlets, when they chopped off the sleeves and bottoms, then sliced the sides open and retied them with fringe hanging off.
- The USA All-Star boys walked away with a shiny silver cup for their winning efforts. With team members hailing from New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana, they agreed to share the trophy, Stanley Cup-style, with each of them taking a turn having it at their house. Kevin Williams has first dibs, then plans to hand it off to Ben Johnson when they meet at the Liberty Invitational during cross country season. No word on who gets it after that.
The Deseret News Junior 10K Road Race run in conjunction with the Deseret Morning News 10K is run on Tuesday, July 24 - Utah’s biggest day of the year – Pioneer Day. Pioneer Day commemorates when the Mormon Pioneers first came into the valley with the races and a huge parade. The 10k has been run since 1983 and the marathon, that is run on the same day, has been run on Pioneer Day since 1970. The course is run in front of 200,000 people along the parade route.
Last year the race directors provided uniform tops for the "Utah", World, and USA teams.
This year's team competition will be Utah vs USA in boys and girls. The elite junior entrants will be given elite status in the front of the race at the start.
So Far to date, the teams are:
Boys All Star Utah Team:
Jared Ward, Kaysville, Utah - Davis High School, Class of 2007, 9:05 3200m, 5A State Champion 3200m, 2nd at Great SW Classic 3200m, Footlocker Finalis (22nd overall in finals), 2006 Utah 5A State XC Championships runner up, 14:39.10 5000 for a third place finish at the USATF Junior 5000
George Barlow-Weber High, Ogden, Utah, state 5a runner up 3200 meters, class of 2008
Nate Fletcher- Timpview High School, Provo, Utah- class of 2009-4:27 miler as a
Steve Clark-may run for Skyline team, but if not he will run for Utah.
State 5A cross country champion. 4:17 miler at altitude, class of 2008.
Girls All Star Utah Team:
Samantha McMillan, the 2007 Utah State 3A 800m, 1600m and 3200m champion with PR's of 2:09 in the 800, 4:56 in the 1600m (at altitude) and 10:56 in the 3200m (at altitude)
Kacee Hildebrandt, Lone Peak, Utah - Lone Peak High School, Class of 2008
~Third place finish at the Utah 5A State XC Meet
Hailey Knettles- Judge Memorial High, 11:20;s for two mile, 2007
Sarah Callister-Ogden High, Ogden, Utah, class of 2008, runner up in 3A two mile.
Also Candace Eddy running for Davis High School team.4:47 mile, state 5A
mile and Two mile champion.
Boys All Star USA Team:
Taylor Farnsworth, Pocatello, ID - Highland High School, Class of 2007
Idaho State XC Champion, Footlocker Finalist (13th overall in finals)
Ben Johnson, Albuquerque, NM - Albuquerque Academy, Class of 2008
Footlocker Finalist (6th overall in finals), 4:16 1600m (altitude), State finalist in 1600m
Kevin Williams, Lakewood, CO - D'evelyn High School, Class of 2008
~ Colorado State 1600m/3200m Champion, Great Southwest 3200m Champion (9:10), Golden West 3200m Champion (9:05)
Patrick Casey- Laurel,Montana-Montana 4A mile champion and runnerup state
cross country. Class of 2008
Hayden Hohnholt- Wyoming State 2A cross country champion-Class of 2009
Girls All Star USA team:
Amber Henry-Mt. View Wyoming-state 2A cross country champion, state 400,
800 and 1600 meter champion. Class of 2009
Ann Lovelace-Boise Idaho, runner-up state 3200m, class of 2008
Erica Wendt- 5:04 miler from Skyline High in Idaho Falls, Idaho