Number of Hillcrest runners up this fall after slim spring turnoutAug 03, 2022 07:51PM ● By Julie Slama
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
Bright and early, just after sunrise, Hillcrest High’s cross country team can be found this summer stretching before a run, getting in their mileage before the first meet in mid-August.
“We have around 40 kids on a lot of our runs,” head coach Scott Stucki said. “We’ve had quite a few freshmen out and I think our girls are going to be quite a bit better than we were last year. Guys, I'm not sure yet.”
Stucki is optimistic even though top returning runner junior Claire Hastings is recovering from an injury.
“We’ll just see how much she can do. She's pretty talented,” he said.
Other top runners include junior Edith Nelson, sophomore Kimi Mavaddat, junior Anna Ames and with the improvement of junior Madelyn Croft, he expects the girls squad to be more competitive at the region meet.
On the boys’ side, the team is expected to be led by “Sam and Sam,” meaning returning seniors Sam Timmerman and Sam Martin. Martin’s younger brother, sophomore Josh, also is expected to help lead the Huskies.
“He’s really improved. On the trail runs, Josh is never very far behind Sam and Sam,” Stucki said.
Junior Wesley Ellsworth and freshman Levi Walton also are showing early promise, he said.
In region, he expects the competition to come from Stansbury High.
“Stansbury is always good; they lost a ton of seniors, but they have enough numbers that they always reload, and they’ll be tough again,” he said. “I don’t know we’ll have the depth to beat them. I told the kids we need to have a summer with better consistency getting those miles in than we did last year because I’m tired of going into divisionals hoping we make state. I need them to go into divisionals knowing we’ll make state.”
Last year, three girls qualified individually for state. The boys squad finished 21st.
This year’s region meet is set for Sept. 30 at Cottonwood Complex. Divisionals are set for Oct. 11 at Lakeside Park in Orem and state will be held Oct. 25 at the regional athletic complex in Rose Park.
Many of the runners are coming off of the spring track season where the team was young and lacked depth, Stucki said.
“We probably ended up with about 60 (student-athletes for all events); usually we have a lot more than that. Part of that is we just didn't have high numbers of juniors and seniors,” he said, saying the absence of the 2020 track season affected the return of the seniors. “We had one meet so we didn't really have a chance to get them hooked and then they haven't ever come back.”
Even so, Stucki said, “We did really well with those we had out.”
He said in addition to relay teams, he only had nine individuals qualify for state, six of them being the pole vaulters.
Ames took second with a vault of 10 feet and junior Emily Swain placed seventh at 8 feet. Freshman Charly Nelson finished 11th at 7 feet.
For the boys, junior Shawn Spencer took third at 13 feet 6 inches—“he went out at a height that I thought he had, but he just didn’t quite get it. That would have been a PR,” Stucki said.
Junior Naoto Robison got seventh place “with a good PR, he went over 12 feet for the first time,” Stucki said about his vault at 12 feet 6 inches. Senior Jack Nielson took ninth at 11 feet 6 inches.
Two boys’ relays, mostly underclassmen, qualified.
“I was running three sophomores on our boys 4x100 and we qualified for state. Our 4x400 qualified for state and I was running two sophomores and freshmen on that,” Stucki said, adding that the 4x400 relay ran its best time of the season at state.
Sophomore Josiah Gonzales qualified for state in the 400 meters with his best time of the year, Stucki said. He placed 19th at state.
While Sam Martin had run “some big PRs this year,” according to Stucki, he nor any other distance runner qualified for state.
“That was the first time in a while,” Stucki said.
On the girls’ side, the 4x100 relay “did pretty well for us,” he said.
Senior Alycea McVey had been trying to throw the shot 30 feet all season and accomplished that goal at state, he said. At state, she finished seventh in shot and fourth in discus.
Senior Sophia Clark qualified in the 100-meter hurdles and placed 22nd at state.
Junior Olivia Bacchus qualified for state in the high jump in a jump-off for fourth place.
“Here’s the ironic thing, it was her second year in a row to qualify in a jump-off,” Stucki said.
At state, she finished 21st in high jump and placed seventh in long jump.