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Midvale Journal

Huskies XC: Boys expected to extend streak of running at state meet; girls to start new record

Aug 23, 2021 09:25AM ● By Julie Slama

Hillcrest High senior Erin Atkinson, ahead of the pack at the region 2020 race, is a returning letter-winner for the Huskies and is expected to lead the girls cross country team this season. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Even though a number of strong boy distance runners graduated, Hillcrest High head cross country head coach Scott Stucki expects his team to extend their streak of running at the state meet to 16 straight.

“We may be OK,” Stucki said. “We have a strong pack, and the kids look OK. The ‘Sams’ (juniors Sam Timmerman and Sam Martin) are looking good; Charles (Hooper, a senior) and Derek (Croft, senior) look strong, I expect Morgan (Webster, junior) to be in the top seven and we have Warren Ellsworth back as a senior; he was doing other stuff since his freshman year.”

He also said that he’s seen a lot of improvement and hard work from junior Jake Baird.

The girls didn’t qualify for state last year, which surprised Stucki. 

After a third-place region finish, typically, it would have qualified them for the state meet. However, with the introduction of divisionals last year, the team finished 12th, which left them out of the state meet for the first time in seven years.

“At first, I was OK with it, but then I started getting mad. For the most part, they all didn’t have a good race at the same meet, and it was the worst possible time,” he said.

This year’s squad is expected to be led by senior Erin Atkinson and sophomores Anna Ames and Claire Hastings.

“We have some freshmen that are looking pretty good. We have different kids every day (at summer practice). A lot of them are on vacations—even more so than normal as places open up (from the COVID-19 pandemic) and families are taking advantage of that,” Stucki said.

Summer workouts have included trail and recovery runs. Stucki also has extended the practices to middle school student-athletes.

This year’s season looks different than years prior to COVID-19. As the Huskies are in a region that stretches across the state, there won’t be dual or tri-meets, Stucki said. Instead, the coaches agreed to participate in just invitationals.

Region will be held Sept. 30 at the nearby Cottonwood Complex and divisionals on Oct. 9 at Lakeside Park in Orem.

The state meet, which was moved from Sugar House Park to Solider Hollow last year, will be moved again to Rose Park in Salt Lake City, which Stucki said “is expected to be fast” course. However, there will be a controlled access and spectator entry will be by ticket unlike Sugar House Park.