Sumsion wins State, Gardner second as team looks ahead to Nike Regionals

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On Wednesday, October 19, Springville High’s cross country team traveled to Sugarhouse Park to participate in the Utah State Championships.  Tensions were high for the Red Devil athletes because this was what the team had been training for all year. 

The first race for the team was the girls 4A division.  The girls ran great and finished 6th which was five places higher than their performance from last year.  But the real highlight of that race was Julie Sumsion who was the first to cross the line in a time of 17:55.8.  After she finished, she was swarmed by friends, family and the media.  This was her goal that she had for herself since day one. 

Sumsion said, “It was probably at 400 to go when I passed the leader that I knew I could win, and it hit me when I broke the tape that I was the state champion.” 

The team was so excited for her and it was great to see her finish in first. Kaitlyn Gee finished as the team’s fifth runner and was that last scorer to boost the girls to 6th. 

Gee said, “It’s a lot of pressure being the fifth runner, knowing that you got to pass all the other team's fourth and fifth runners.  In the end, every person counts.”  

The boys team finished 3rd led by Grant Gardner who is now ranked 22nd in the nation after his performance at state.

Gardner commented on his performance and said that being ranked didn’t come to him as a big surprise, but he was glad that he was finally able to be known as one of the best runners in the country.  Gardner’s time of 15:04.2 makes him the fastest Sophomore in the state meets history. 

Gardner said, “You know, it’s really cool to see all the amazing things our state has done and all of the great runners who have come.  It just shows that I’ve run some pretty fast times, and I’m excited for my junior and senior year.”  

Also having incredible performances were the Garnica twins Brandon and Caleb.  Caleb finished 87th last year and Brandon 33rd.  This year Brandon finished in 4th, followed by Caleb in 23rd.  They credit their performances to their coaches and all the hard work they put in over the summer.

The boys race was crazy seeing how the top 4 teams were only separated by 22 points. Olympus downed the defending champions Timpanogos, followed closely by Springville and Ogden.  Overall, Springville finished 4th in the state merged results ahead of a lot of other talented teams.

Springville will now head down as a team to Arizona so that they can compete in the Nike Cross Southwest Regionals.  This is the race that determines who will go to Nationals.

by Josh Ornelas, SHS News Writer