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Midvale Journal

Returners expected to make girls’ cross country one of Hillcrest’s best, boys’ team solid

Aug 10, 2023 01:39PM ● By Julie Slama

With most varsity runners returning on the girls’ cross country team, it has Hillcrest High head cross country coach Scott Stucki cautiously excited.

“I think our girls are going to be pretty good,” he said. “This should be the best girls’ team we’ve had in a long time — 15 years — as long as everyone stays healthy.”

Stucki is looking forward to the season.

“Last year we were thrilled to get a girl under 20 (minutes, Edith Neslen) and I think this year, we’re going to get three, four — maybe we’ll get five if things go well,” he said.

The team is expected to be led by seniors Anna Ames and Neslen along with junior Kimiya Mavaddat. Returning from several years of injury is former top runner, senior Claire Hastings. Joining them will be sophomore Claire McCann and other student-runners.

“We have some freshmen who will help them out,” he said. “They’re all putting in some good miles this summer.”

As are the boys, as the entire team gathers almost daily at 6 a.m. to hit the streets surrounding the school or the trails in the mountains.

“The boys are going to be solid; we’ll get to state,” Stucki said.

Juniors Josh Martin and Matt Keller are expected to be joined by senior Zack Glover to lead the team.

“It will be Zack’s first year running cross country, but he’s going to have a good season,” Stucki said about the former basketball player. “I’ve also got two other seniors, Wesley Ellsworth and Andrew Tuttle, who will probably be up there, running varsity. They’re looking good this summer.”

Stucki will get a look at the team’s competitiveness at their time trials and alumni race, Run with the Huskies, on Aug. 5 before the first meet, Premier Invitational at Cottonwood Complex on Aug. 12. 

The team will travel to compete at Fremont High in Plain City, to Quinn’s Junction in Park City before racing in the regional championships Sept. 29. Divisionals is Oct. 10 and state, Oct. 24. 

“I’m looking forward to seeing what the kids do and how they develop and how competitive they want to be,” Stucki said. 

He’s especially looking forward to watching Neslen, who last fall, ran a 19:52.6 at region before also running under 20 minutes at state.

“Watch for Edith to really pop off. I really think she’s going to get down in the 18:00s and on a good day, maybe down into the low 18:00s. It should get her in the top 20 at state,” he said.

Stucki has been proud of the dedication and determination of his top female runner.

“Edith was at her grandparents’ house and was putting in mileage on her own. She’s going to have a really good season, assuming we keep her healthy,” he said. “She’s worked hard for years and has come a long way since she was running 30 as a freshman.” λ